For nearly the past 12 years, the Washington Post and its web site, washingtonpost.com, have worked from separate offices—the Post downtown, and the dot-com operation just a few steps from the Courthouse Metro stop in Arlington.
The roughly 3.5-mile separation has caused its share of difficulties over the years, as Washington City Paper explains in this week’s cover story.
At a staff meeting last week, Washington Post Co. Chairman Don Graham acknowledged the frustrations of the setup, but said that washingtonpost.com’s “results” have been his defense.
Also at that staff meeting, Graham announced the creation of a new biz unit, Washington Post Media, whose job will be in part to monitor the squabbles of the print and online operations. The boss of that unit is Katharine Weymouth, granddaughter of late Post publisher Katharine Graham. The move is one way to keep the Post‘s family ownership and management robust.
Like everyone else, Weymouth knows about the problems between print and web: “I understand there have been frustrations on news side as well as on the business. It’s only natural that there’d be disagreements,” she says.
But as far as possibly merging the operations, nah: “I don’t think the river is the issue,” says Weymouth.
For years, the job of arbitrating disputes between the two poles of the Post fell to Graham, who was terribly distracted with being the chairman of a huge business. Weymouth’ll have a bit more time to sink into the task. “I think I’m just closer to the ground, so I hope that I can find ways to continue to build [our] great web site, and at the same time figure out ways to work better together.”