McDevitt Updates Times Employees On Paper’s Future

FishbowlDC has obtained a letter sent from Washington Times President Thomas McDevitt to employees:

    Dear Washington Times Colleagues,

    Together we recently celebrated a quarter century of publication and looked back with pride on our accomplishments as a news organization. Our achievements over the past 25 years were the fruits of the hard work and dedication of the entire Times staff. Please know that your contributions have helped establish The Washington Times as a distinctive and reliable media destination – and your efforts are deeply appreciated.

    We have also been looking to the future. Many people see a newspaper industry faced with unprecedented challenges — fewer readers; an aging readership; competition from other newspapers, cable TV, radio, and the Internet; and defining the role of print media in the Digital Age. Some newspaper companies don’t know what to do.

    Not so with The Washington Times. We are now embarking on our next quarter century of service with a vibrant, carefully thought-out plan for our print and digital publications. This roadmap builds on the market-based proof that The Washington Times is a necessary, clear and alternative voice to mainstream media sources that are often out-of-touch with tens of millions of our fellow citizens. In the face of industry squeamishness, we plan actually to expand our reach locally, nationally and internationally, and based on an intensive company-wide effort, we expect to succeed.

Read the rest after the jump…

    As many of you know, L.E.K. Consulting has been our partner over the past four months in developing this plan. Together, we have conducted extensive market research and unprecedented strategic analysis. Many of you took time to respond to a company-wide survey and your input helped steer the direction of our work. I am honored to share with you that The Washington Times leadership has now committed to the full scope of an aggressive, forward-looking plan. We expect that in the months and years to come, actions we take now will result in significantly improved news and information products, financial performance, and enduring “brand” equity.

    The strategic review between February and May confirmed our instinctive belief; namely, that while the overall market for newspapers may be shrinking, The Times is in a unique position as a lead alternative to typical herd coverage of the issues that matter most to the majority of Americans. To realize the potential of our special market position, The Times will now take needed steps to become more customer-focused and market-driven.

    Over the coming months, we will substantially expand and enhance our online presence, aiming to become one of the very top news destinations on the web. At the same time we will further refine and focus the print edition to strengthen coverage of key national, international and socio-cultural issues.

    The Times will develop into a robust multimedia enterprise with closely integrated online and print offerings and staff. As new products and services are rolled out, they will be aggressively marketed and promoted.

    An exciting and adventurous course has been set for the next three years. There is now much work to be done. In the coming weeks we will be launching a number of interdepartmental Task Forces to help shape our products and processes. Members of the L.E.K. team are working on site to help with this implementation during the next few months.

    Your role during this transition is vital. Ongoing communication with you, our staff, during this time will ensure that our greatest resource—the people of The Times—are in the loop, participating, and creating the foundation for our success. Please join me in creating an even more energizing, meaningful and attractive workplace culture.

    For 25 years the Washington Times has been a unique voice for readers who value a newspaper that is committed to freedom, family, faith and service. With your help, we will continue to serve the needs of our readers with bold coverage of American and global issues into the 21st century.

    Thank you very much,

    Thomas P. McDevitt