Washington Post Makes a Really Bad Decision
Posted on Jul 2, 2009
For a mere $250,000, lobbyists and captains of industry were invited to “an off-the-record dinner and discussion at the home of [Washington Post] CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth.” Invitees were promised unfettered access to the paper’s reporters as well as “key Obama administration and congressional leaders.”
Weymouth has since canceled the event, and the paper’s executive editor said the flier advertising the function was “not at all consistent with the preliminary conversations the newsroom had” with the business side.
Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth said today she was canceling plans for an exclusive “salon” at her home where for as much as $250,000, the Post offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record access to “those powerful few” — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and even the paper’s own reporters and editors.
The astonishing offer was detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he felt it was a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff.”
With the Post newsroom in an uproar after POLITICO reported the solicitation, Weymouth said in an email to the staff that “a flier went out that was prepared by the Marketing department and was never vetted by me or by the newsroom. Had it been, the flier would have been immediately killed, because it completely misrepresented what we were trying to do.”
Background: Flickr / Tracy O