Is the Washington Post going bankrupt?

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David Hucks
David Huckshttps://myrtlebeachsc.com
David Hucks is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at MyrtleBeachSC.com

The Washington Post announced this week that it is laying off key staff. Washington Post readership has fallen by 50% since 2020.

In September 2013, Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post and other local publications, websites, and real estate for US$250 million through Nash Holdings LLC. Amazon’s founder, Bezos is also Amazon’s executive chairman, and former CEO remains its largest stakeholder, with his stake in Amazon worth about $166 billion.

The restructuring comes just over a week after the paper announced it lost $77 million in the past year and planned to use artificial intelligence more often in its newsroom. The Post’s traffic has also been cut in half since its 2020 high, as news publishers across the industry continue to struggle with reader retention.

YOUNGER READERS DON’T DO PAYWALLS

NPR’s David Folkenflik reports Lewis told his staff Monday it would be “nuts” to carry on with the practices that contributed to the losses.

“We are going to turn this thing around, but let’s not sugarcoat it: it needs turning around,” Washington Post CEO Will Lewis said. “We are losing large amounts of money. Your audience is halved. People are not reading your stuff. I can’t sugarcoat it anymore.”

Patrick Collings of Stop The Presses wrote as far back as 2009, “Those abandoning print either went to the graveyard or the internet, [and they are] not coming back.

THE NEW FACE OF NEWS – IT IS TRULY LOCAL OR HIGHLY FOCUSED

DEI is chief among the concerns for the writers at the Washington Post. Their readers, however, could care less.

Surviving on platforms like Substack, X, Youtube, among others, requires a publication to be hyper local or highly focused.

When it comes to local, ownership matters. Examples along the Grand Strand include:

  • WBTW is owned by Nexstar Media Group, headquartered in Irving, Texas. 
  • Wmbfnews is is owned by Gray Television alongside low-power Telemundo affiliate WXIV-LD (channel 14). Gray Television is a television broadcast company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • WPDE ABC is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, which also operates Dabl affiliate WWMB (channel 21, also licensed to Florence) under a shared services agreement (SSA) with owner Howard Stirk Holdings. Sinclair Broadcasting Group is headquartered in the Baltimore suburb of Cockeysville, Maryland.
  • Sun News – The McClatchy Co. bought Knight Ridder and The Sun News in June 2006. McClatchy is headquartered in Sacramento, California.

The above illustrates that local news isn’t necessarily local.

EACH OUTLET TAKES $1 million annually from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce

To complicate the matter all the more, these news outlets each take $1 million annually from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, through its associated PACs, is the most influential political group in Horry County. These PACs elect most of our state and local officials. These Politicians then go to work pushing the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce agenda.

These news outlets largely hire recent college graduates who work a two year contract and then leave. They have no knowledge of the area’s history. They have no knowledge of how the area works. Their learning curve is high. By the time they have things figured out, they leave the area for bigger markets.

HOW TO FIX THIS AND SAVE AMERICA

In the 1970’s, the Washington Post was vital to Democracy. Such is no longer true.

“The way forward is diversity,” said David Hucks of MyrtleBeachSC News. “But it is not the kind of diversity these news outlets preach. It is the diversity of ownership. Local news must be owned by local news publishers. This is the kind of diversity that saves Democracy.

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