The PJ Tatler

Washington Post staff morale drops over new makeover

The Tatler has learned that morale is continuing to fall at the Washington Post as it conducts yet another design makeover in an effort to stop dramatic readership losses. The new re-design is to be launched this coming Sunday. Post readership continues to plummet as daily circulation fell 10.7% during the first six months of last year. Its flagship Sunday edition fell 9.5%.  Readers are abandoning the Post in droves in the nation’s capital.

The Post’s latest makeover continues its trend towards soft pop culture coverage. In a move seen as silly by Post staffers, the paper is separating the Style section from the Arts section. “Brilliant move” one Post staffer sarcastically told the Tatler. To old timers this seems like moving around chairs on the Titanic. Years ago the paper had separate sections and at the time they were combined as a new selling point to readers.

There also will be a new tabloid size section focusing on popular culture, a new “Deal Hunter” section for coupons and sales, a “Web Insight” section on blogs, and weekly photo galleries of D.C. social scene.

Post staff tell the Tatler they’ve seen it all before and predict it will make no difference in improving the declining reporting quality of the paper. “It’s all about marketing,” one long-time staffer confessed to the Tatler. The makeover certainly has nothing to do about news gathering or reporting. Last year the paper downsized its Business section, subsuming it into the main news section.

In the second quarter of 2010, the Post reported a $14.3 million loss.

If it wasn’t for its for-profit educational company called Kaplan, Post losses would be more severe. In 2010 the U.S. General Accounting Office criticized Kaplan along with 14 other for-profit educational companies for deceptive practices.

Last November the Washington Post sold Newsweek magazine for $1, merging it with the Daily Beast.