Romenesko Memos
Post publisher Katharine Weymouth tells her staff: "I committed to [Post Co. chairman] Don [Graham] and to the Board that we would return to profitability by 2011. Excluding one-time costs, we returned to profitability in 2010 ... That is no small feat. To some degree, our results are attributable to a better
advertising climate. But in large part, it was due to strong performance on the expense side."

From: Katharine Weymouth
Sent: 01/07/2011 05:30 PM EST
Subject: A Note of Thanks as We Kick Off 2011

All: As we begin the new year, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for
all of your hard work in 2010. We set ourselves aggressive goals:
growing traffic and engagement online; redesigning the newspaper for our
readers; investing in strategic efforts that will yield new revenue
streams; and continuing to find ways to cut costs and become more efficient
-- all while ensuring that we are demanding and nurturing a high
performance culture. The challenges that face our industry are real and
the economy remains soft. That said, we accomplished a tremendous amount
last year and have strong results to show for it. I committed to Don and
to the Board that we would return to profitability by 2011. Excluding
one-time costs, we returned to profitability in 2010 (rolled up into the
newspaper division as our public reports are, the numbers will look
different so I am talking about our internal operating numbers). That is
no small feat. To some degree, our results are attributable to a better
advertising climate. But in large part, it was due to strong performance
on the expense side. It is our profits that allow us to invest in the
journalism that we are so proud of and that our readers come to us for.

The Post newsroom had a strong year, demonstrating both
journalistic excellence and considerable innovation in reaching new digital
users and serving our core print readers. In many ways, in fact, the past
year showed how central good journalism is to our success, in print as well
as in new media.

In a big news year -- when we covered events from the war in
Afghanistan to the earthquake in Haiti, from the rise of the tea party
movement to the upheaval of the mid-term elections, from the opening of
the new Arena stage, to the frustratingly short first season of Nationals
pitcher Stephen Strasburg--Post journalists demonstrated time and again why
our readers feel they can count on The Post to bring them the news that
enlightens, entertains and illuminates.

There are any number of stories that showcased our exemplary
journalism. In the interest of brevity, I will highlight here only a few:
Paul Duggan's incredible series painting the behind-the-scenes actions
leading to the devastating shooting in Southeast Washington; the tireless
and critical work of Joel Achenbach, Steve Mufson and countless others on
the tragic BP oil spill; the fascinating coverage of the DC Mayoral race by
Tim Craig, Nikita Stewart, Mike DeBonis and others; the insightful mid-term
coverage of Dan Balz, Chris Cilizza, Karen Tumulty and so many others; and
last but not least the critical and revealing coverage of the war in
Afghanistan -- by Josh Partlow and Ernesto Londono in the region and by
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Karen DeYoung, Greg Jaffe, and Greg Miller -- who
frequently parachuted in. Covering the war in Afghanistan falls into the
category of ongoing, grueling, dangerous and essential: the kind of work
few other newsrooms remain committed to or have the resources to back.

Finally, it goes without saying that Top Secret America was one of
the great investigative pieces of the year - in any newspaper: a two-year
project that examined in remarkable detail the extraordinary growth of the
national-security state in years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11,
2001. Two seasoned reporters, Dana Priest and Bill Arkin, cobbled together
a massive database that depicted for the first time the vastness,
complexity and redundancy of the agencies and companies doing top-secret
counter-terrorism and public-safety work. What set the work apart, though,
was the creation by a team of half a dozen digital journalists who mapped
and indexed presentations of the data, allowing each reader who came to
topsecretamerica.com to come away with a different, personalized
understanding of the information. The site got three million page views in
three days, a record for a Post story.

What all of these stories and so many others showed was that
good journalism works. In serving readers, we draw readers. That belief
underlies both our continuing commitment to publishing a first-rate
newspaper that reaches and informs nearly one in three households in our
core circulation area as well as our determination to develop new digital
platforms for readers who may discover or want to read The Post in new
ways.

Our launch of an iPad application, unique in its emphasis on
social-media tools allowing readers to share Post articles or follow
conversations involving our news, showed the appetite for Post content: by
the end of the year, we had more than 175,000 downloads of the app, one of
the biggest increases in potential audience we’ve seen in years. The
newsroom’s skill in serving and finding audiences for Post journalism led
more people to come back more times and consumed more of our content
digitally than ever before in our history. There has been more content
submitted from readers than ever. In the past year alone, we sent out
nearly half a billion news alerts and emails to subscribers who wanted to
stay abreast of our work. PostPolitics.com and PostLocal.com, which tailor
content for readers interested primarily in the newsroom’s award-winning
political or local coverage, resonated with readers and developed loyal
followings of readers who spend more time than other readers of our site.

On the business side, in addition to launching our
iPad app, we achieved our goals for ad revenue for the first time in
several years, we launched two new services for local customers:
Servicealley.com and Capitol Dish. We launched Capital Business to serve
the local business. We launched Washington Post Live - bringing audiences
our journalism in a live format. We transitioned seamlessly to printing
and delivering out of one plant; we delivered papers to our readers when
even the US Postal service couldn't get out during the snow storms of last
winter; and our technical team was behind it all.

In short, it was a year of a lot of hard work, but hard work that
paid off both in our journalism and for our readers. We still have much
work to do to ensure that The Post is connecting to current and future
readers. The year ahead is already packed with promise: We’re planning big
enhancements of our Sunday paper, which is the biggest-circulation print
edition, and, as you know, we are soon going to overhaul the way certain
web pages look, to improve navigation and surface more of our journalism
for readers. We must continue to focus relentlessly on improving the
newspaper for our readers while simultaneously focusing on building our
digital audience and giving them an experience that brings them back to
check for news updates and plan their leisure time. We must build new
businesses and adapt our traditional businesses. We must evolve to a
company that focuses relentlessly on serving our readers and customers.

I wanted to begin the new year by thanking you for all that you
accomplished last year. It is all of you who make what we do every day
possible. Happy new year. In 2011, we will build on the successes of this
year and continue to serve our readers with the best journalism there is.

Yours, Katharine

Katharine Weymouth
Publisher, The Washington Post
CEO, Washington Post Media