Sad, sad days for one of the true forms(newspapers) of journalism…
Late one Saturday night about 25 years ago, I ran into Don Graham at the old Hechinger’s on Wisconsin Avenue, where we both had rushed to take advantage of the final hours of a sale on mulch.
“Can you believe these prices?” asked the then-publisher of The Washington Post and heir apparent to one of the most storied media dynasties in American history. It was 1987, and the Post was still basking in the glow of Watergate, and Katharine Graham dominated the town.
The Grahams built an extended family on the 5th floor of the landmark building on 15th Street, and along with legendary Editor Ben Bradlee, they inspired some of the best journalism of the century. They guided the paper through one of its most illustrious periods — the Watergate scandal, which led to Richard M. Nixon’s resignation in 1974, and its successful battle with the government in 1971 to publish the Pentagon Papers, a classified history of the Vietnam War.
That Post was gone a decade ago, victimized by the same maladies affecting the entire industry — diminishing circulation, an advertising base usurped by Craig’s List and a generation who views newspapers as clutter. Still, the announcement on Monday that this proud institution would be sold to an Internet entrepreneur by Graham, today the CEO, and his niece, publisher Katharine Weymouth, rocked the staff and stunned a city that had long held it in awe.
“I’m numb,” said one veteran reporter.
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