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After 30 years as publisher of Washington City Paper, Amy Austin is leaving the paper. Austin announced her move in a staff meeting this afternoon. Her decision to depart follows the December acquisition by City Paper‘s owner, Southcomm, of Wisconsin-based Cygnus Business Media.
The full text of the letter she read to the paper’s staff is reprinted below:
Welcome. It’s always a great feeling to gather everyone in a circle together. If I haven’t told you this recently, you’re a great staff. The news you hear today will come as a surprise to you.
As you know, Southcomm acquired Cygnus late last year, and it’s led to some changes, including some leadership changes. After discussion with Southcomm, I will be leaving my job as publisher of Washington City Paper and explore other opportunities.
Eric Norwood will be taking on the role of interim publisher. As Chief Operating Officer and Group Publisher, he’ll help lead the search for the next publisher.
We leave each other with many high notes. Allow me to briefly recap what we’ve already accomplished in 2015. Let’s lead with revenue: We celebrate year over year revenue growth. This year’s “Best of D.C.” revenue exceeded last year’s by 17%. The events team has had 5 successful events in 4 months. We’ve integrated a tremendously powerful editorial and creative team.
The most important thing, though, is the great local journalism we’ve done. We’ve kicked butt on issues around the Bowser administration, homelessness, changes in the local food scene, and well, butt-pinching. We’ve published two comprehensive guides—Spring Arts and Best Of D.C. We’re mobile ready for Google. All of this is what we’ve done in a few short months. 2015 is filled with highlights of amazing staff achievements. You’re doing great and you’ll continue to do great.
I leave with mixed emotions, including tremendous sadness to not see you everyday. But I also leave with jump- up-and-down-joy at the quality of work, journalism and marketing, accomplished during the time I have had the privilege of working for Washington City Paper.
Now, I am joining what you’ve heard me call the City Paper living room, gathered with all the people who have contributed to City Paper over the last three decades. It’s a great party, filled with people who want to change the world for the better. We are the journalists of our time: Kate Boo, Jon Cohen, Eddie Dean, Tom Scocca, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Clara Jeffery, Stephanie Mencimer, Jake Tapper, Ryan Grimm, Dave Jamieson, Jason Cherkis, Michael Schaffer, Jack Shafer, Tim Carman, Mike Debonis, Jenny Rogers, David Plotz, Lydia DePillis, Jamie Slater, Mike Kanin, Sean Daly, Erik Wemple, Annys Shin, Ally Schweitzer, Amanda Hess and Mike Madden. And, as you know, many more. We are the business leaders, the IT professionals, the sales leadership, the creative directors and the public service employees who left the City Paper better than you found it. I am grateful for my time with each of you.
When I started I lived in Adams Morgan and often walked to the offices on 6th and K. At the time some called me foolish for walking the city. I loved it. I still love to walk the city. D.C. and I grew up together. I grew and now know how much I love running a business, hiring and developing staff, creating meaningful relationships with my heroes, the women and men who open up and run local businesses, and the fiercely loyal audience who City Paper serves with consistently good journalism about the town we call home.
As my friend and former editor, David Carr used to say, it’s time to figure out what is next for me. I love my WCP, I love my D.C., and mostly I love you, the staff that makes things happen every day.
Photo by Nicholas DiBlasio