With the resignation of executive editor John Solomon the Washington Times is now in full survival mode.
Following the resignation of Washington Times Executive Editor John Solomon this evening, TWT Managing Editor David Jones addressed his staff via the below memo. Jones says that the newsroom will carry on “business as usual” but sources tell FishbowlDC that Times staff is expressing panic and fearing the worst.
One senior member of the newsroom suggested that it was time to look for a new job while a younger reporter told us, “we’re in trouble without John. Solomon had the vision, heart and had begun to make the Times a real force in Washington news media.”
Memo obtained by FishbowlDC:
From: David Jones
Date: November 12, 2009 6:47:30 PM EST
Subject: re john solomon
For those who were not in the newsroom for our impromptu meeting a few minutes ago, let me just say that we have been assured by Jonathan Slevin that despite the resignation of John Solomon, the company remains as committed as ever to keeping The Washington Times going as a robust multi-media company. He noted the huge strides we have all made over the past two years and asked Jeff Birnbaum and me to carry on “business as usual” while the new management carries out its review of all our operations. Slevin also expressed his respect and appreciation to the newsroom for your efforts of the past week, in which you all have continued to put out a first-rate product in a very difficult time.
The Times had bled nothing but red ink since its inception in May 1982 but has always received strong financial backing from the Unification Church which owns the paper. But the recession has been particularly brutal to the paper as sharp circulation declines combined with an even greater drop in advertising and an aggressive makeover by Solomon have only accelerated the losses and put a greater strain on the church’s efforts to staunch the red ink.
When the Times was founded there was a need for a conservative voice to counter the liberal Washington Post. While that need stll exists it is being filled in many instances by the internet with the explosion of blogs and other sources of online news and opinion. One hope by conservatives was that the Times would cover their news events which the Post never did and the paper filled that role well. As time has passed it is rare when a Times reporter is seen at a conservative event lessoning their value to many organizations.
Since the paper can’t make any money as a print publication and has already eliminated its Saturday edition what would they have to lose by swiitching to an online model to try and trim expenses? That may be the management’s only choice if they want the paper to remain a viable ongoing enterprise.