How can the Washington Post keep readers and attract new ones? These questions have been confounding the Post for decades. Why, amid a growing Washington region — both wealthy and well-educated — does the Post lose about three percent of its readers every year?
In the June Post Watch column in The Washingtonian, I put the question to readers. Dozens replied with critiques or helpful suggestions. Here’s what Joan, of Washington, D.C., had to say:
“PostPoints won't save the Post. I would cancel my subscription if I didn't think I needed to know about District news–not interested in MD and VA. In about 75 percent of the time the international and national news is in the New York Times the day before and the Northwest Current does a better job of picking up on the local news. Visitors from other parts of the US also comment about the decline in the Post's timely and interesting news reports and editorials. The Sunday Book Review gets smaller and smaller. I do like Tom Seitsma, Reliable Source and Stickler and the series on Walter Reed was very good!! It is sad to see a paper, which once was a strong national paper revert to a local/regional paper.”
My take: Joan is hard on the Post’s national and international coverage. The Post’s reporters stay even or ahead of the competition most of the time. Everyone gets scooped on occasion. But Joan expresses the conflict the paper has never been able to solve: on one hand she reads it for local news, on the other hand she decries it for reverting to a local paper.
No wonder the Post leadership is confounded.
You can join the conversation on the Post by writing to: savethepost at washingtonian.com