Amid news the New York Times wants to mortgage its Manhattan headquarters, and the Tribune Company has filed for bankruptcy, comes word the Washington Post is in discussions with other news organizations on the sharing of content and costs.
Rumors circulated that Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli had offered to supply the Los Angeles Times with Washington and foreign news if the Times continued to close its bureaus in the US and overseas. That rumor seems to be false—at the moment.
However, sources within the Post did confirm that its executives have been talking to major media companies about collaborating. The joining of forces could involve sharing news gathering operations as well as advertising revenues.For decades media companies have been doing some sharing of information with news wires. In the latest talks, editors have discussed merging bureaus.
Lower ad revenues in the news business are forcing media companies to break with tradition to remain solvent. In the latest signs of pressure, the New York Times announced it would try to raise cash by using its new headquarters building as collateral. And the Tribune Company, saddled with massive debt, has sought relief through bankruptcy.
The fact that the Washington Post is trying to negotiate deals to share content and costs is actually a sign of strength. Though the Post’s stock has dropped about 40 percent this year, it looks relatively healthy compared to the New York Times, whose shares have fallen 60 percent.
Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth is scheduled to unveil the company’s strategic plan this week. Reporters and editors say they are braced for the closing of more sections—the folding of the Sunday Source section already was announced-—and probably another round of staff buyouts.