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November 6, 2008


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By Karin Tanabe for Bisnow on Business

"They say timing is everything, and my timing is horrific," Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth told her audience recently as she took the mic for a charmingly named women's networking program, Chick Chat. Old time Posties tell Weymouth that they were there for the party, and she has come for the hangover. But she's not convinced.


Katharine Weymouth and Success in the City CEO Cynthia de Lorenzi. Lorenzi puts a different woman in the hot seat every month. Coming up, Maureen Dwyer, Managing Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

"In a way, it's an incredibly exciting time for media. You get citizens' voices," says Weymouth, Katharine Graham's granddaughter, about the changing newspaper industry. "We're like the airline industry, we have very high costs. Paper is very expensive. We've added $30 million to the bottom line since 2000 for paper alone. We lose millions with TV Week. Our Baghdad bureau costs a million dollars a year mostly due to security. But we also have a mission with the news we produce." It's a mission that Weymouth has been heavily involved in since 1996, when she joined the Post as a lawyer.


Sherry Moeller, Editor-in-Chief of Capitol File, Weymouth, and EFX Media president Jennifer Cortner.

In Washington, working for prominent law firm Williams & Connolly, Weymouth turned down the first opportunity to come to the Post legal department. "I was very hesitant to work at The Washington Post. Would people resent me? Would I be good at it?" says Weymouth, who did eventually come in as a lawyer before she moved to the advertising department. She became Publisher in February of this year, and is considered heir apparent to her uncle Don Graham, chairman of the Washington Post Company. "Don made it clear to me that he wanted me to work somewhere else for three years," says Weymouth. "Obviously, it helps that I have a family connection, but Don has the same philosophy as my mother: You don't get anything you haven't earned."


Everyone likes getting a picture with Katharine these days. Here, with the Washington Business Journal's Jennifer Nycz-Conner.

As publisher of the Post and, one of Weymouth's first moves was to bring in Marcus Brauchli as Executive Editor, formerly managing editor of the Wall Street Journal. Also under her watch, Fashion Washington, a style glossy, was launched. "For the most part, newspapers don't compete, so we meet and talk to each other. The idea for Fashion Washington came to be with help from other cities," says Weymouth who notes that 80% of the paper's revenue comes from advertising but the biggest moneymaker for The Washington Post Company is Kaplan. With reporters now toting video cameras, and a website with a world audience, it's a decidedly different paper than during the days of Katharine Graham. But Weymouth is still heeding her grandmother's advice. "She said, 'In order to do good, you have to do well,' and that's our mission."

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