Washington Post Virginia Reporter in “shock” Over Sad Decline of Once-Great Newspaper

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    The sad decline of the Washington Kaplan Post continues. Evidence? First, the Washington City Paper reports about further cutbacks at “the money-losing newspaper division of the Kaplan test prep and for-profit education empire.” The City Paper quotes Jim Romenesko, who notes that “Metro” coverage is one of the areas on the chopping block. Last I checked, “Metro” included the subject of this blog, and the place most of us call home – Virginia.

    I was wondering what the Post’s small, and apparently dwindling, Virginia political reporters thought of all this. Frederick Kunkle, who covers Virginia politics, Fairfax County, etc., has some choice words worth quoting:

    We’re in shock…this would seem to be a fairly big cut. It’s also disconcerting in light of the phenomenal papers we’ve produced this week…you cannot continue to cut your way to profitability alone, or offer readers less – and not just in quantity of the report, but its quality and sophistication in all sections – and expect the public to pay more. Yet we seem to be heading toward a model like Huffpo or Patch that relies on interns, freelancers, free content from citizen bloggers, and aggregation at the expense of original journalism created by experienced journalists. And that’s a sad path for a place that has long enjoyed a reputation for excellence.

    As much as I bash the Post for its phony false equivalencies, its sloppy/shoddy/shallow reporting an increasing amount of the time, its corporate and conservative biases, I agree: less coverage of the shenanigans by radical Republicans in Richmond, of corruption at the local and state levels in Virginia, of the latest lunacy by McDonnell/Kookinelli/etc., can’t possibly be a good thing for the citizens of the Commonwealth. To the contrary, if you believe – as I strongly do – that a well-informed citizenry is absolutely essential to the healthy functioning of a democracy, then it’s hard to see how cutting back on information to said citizenry could possibly help matters.

    P.S. I see that the Post Magazine’s slated for cuts. Honestly, given how lame that thing is in comparison to a serious newspaper like the New York Times, why not just ax it completely? Of course, then we’d have to live without Date Lab, which would be a major bummer (not!), but somehow I think we’d all survive it. 😉

    • Mike1987

      The more you cut, the more you lose. The more you lose, the more you cut. They have begun circling the drain. Within a year or so, the paper could very well be gone. Instead of asking what makes a good paper and do just that, they ask what makes a paper profitable and struggle to do those.

    • Goldmanusa

      With cutbacks apparently coming in the Washington Post coverage of Virginia, this would inevitably produce less coverage of things political.

      Logically this further figures to have some impact on state politics given the paper’s influence, or I suppose lack therefor if he cuts back.

      Clearly, the editorial page would still be important and one could argue it would be more so with less other coverage. On the hand, less coverage might make it less important since presumably voters would be following other venues to get information.

      No way to know for sure, but it figures to play a role in 2013.

      Logically speaking therefore: The Post has been the strongest supporter of Virginia Democrats of almost any paper in the state regardless of size. So when you take the size that will remain, the fact Fairfax has been trending DEM in recent years in part due to the Post and the counties importance in statewide races, and further add much more expensive not to mention difficult it could be to reach voters with a scaled back Post: to me this adds up as a likely gain for the Republicans.

      This could be especially true in 2013 if NOVA guy Ken Cuccinelli is the GOP GUV candidate.

      The Post is not the AG’s biggest fan.

      So anything that lessens their political clout has to be good news to the AG, the favorite to win the GOP 2013 nod

    • kindler

      …is why they haven’t figured out how to make money on electronic media. I switched from reading the print edition to the iPad months ago and would gladly pay for the privilege — if anybody bothered to charge me.

      The NY Times came up with a fair pricing structure not long ago, where you pay to read above a certain number of stories per month. There’s also the iTunes model, where you pay a negligible amount off a regular account per story.

      Why can’t these people figure out how to make money?  I read the Post every day and they’re not making a penny off of me.  Bizarre.