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WaPo on track to lose money since Trump left office

The Washington Post is reportedly on track to lose substantial amounts of money and digital subscribers since former President Donald Trump left office.

The Post is set to lose much of its profitability in 2022 after several years of steady growth, The New York Times (NYT) reported Tuesday. The newspaper currently has less than three million digital subscribers and its incremental ad revenue fell to $70 million in the first half of 2022, down about 15% from a year earlier.

This trend evidently fell on the media following Trump’s departure in early 2021, although the NYT and Wall Street Journal gained subscribers, the outlet reported.

Fred Ryan, publisher and managing director of The Post, reportedly considered making 100 staff cuts in the newsroom, according to the NYT. A spokeswoman for the former, however, said no cuts were underway and management was “exploring positions that should be refocused to serve a broader, national and global audience”.

According to the NYT, many members of the Post’s newsroom grew frustrated with Ryan’s reported efforts to expand coverage. There has also been growing tension around Ryan’s focus on staff performance, monitoring who enters the newsroom and demanding that a handful of staff be managed for failing to meet his performance standards. He also reportedly threatened to fire employees who have not yet returned from remote work to the office.

(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Newsroom frustrations also grew due to limited marketing efforts on Ryan’s part, the outlet reported. The Post produced advertisements promoting its new coverage and new brands, including the climate, but these advertisements never ran. The outlet ran an ad on “Jeopardy!” in 2021 around its coverage in Afghanistan during the same year. (RELATED: WaPo Terminates Reporter Who Made Week-Long Public Crisis)

The expansion of new coverage is expected to broaden the newspaper’s audience and increase the number of digital subscribers, the NYT reported. The newsroom plans to add 150 new posts and is trying to reach five million digital subscribers by 2025 through a new initiative called “5 by 25”.

The newspaper’s efforts to expand its coverage beyond politics began in 2016 when it witnessed a decline in readership as the public expected former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wins, the outlet reported. They created an initiative called Operation Skyfall to reach more subscribers, but the efforts were mostly abandoned once Trump won the election.

Ryan had expressed support for expanding investments to target young readers, partnering with Hollywood studio Imagine Entertainment and growing internationally, the NYT reported.

“These investments are aligned with our strategic roadmap, and we expect to see returns, both in terms of consumer and advertising revenue, on this work over the coming year,” said one. spokesperson for The Post.

The Post considered buying The Associated Press, The Guardian or The Economist to expand its audience internationally, although Ryan demanded a closer focus on news coverage rather than increasing the media’s rivalries. according to the NYT.

In 2021, Ryan told an internal group at a meeting that The Post could be the go-to medium for the English-speaking world. At a subsequent meeting, he said The Post should be a definitive source of information, the NYT reported. Some present at the latter meeting interpreted Ryan’s second goal as being less ambitious than the first, although others present apparently disagreed with this interpretation.