We Read The Washingtonian’s 6,000+ Word Katharine Weymouth Profile So You Don’t Have To

Earlier: “We Read Lloyd Grove’s 4,251 Word Profile of Katharine Weymouth So You Don’t Have To…

(Slightly overserved: Profiles of Katharine Weymouth)

The choice bits of the profile after the jump… (Side game: Count the number of times “I” appears”)


    Got the three kids up. Put drops in the eyes of Red, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Fed the kids. Made lunches for the kids. Attempted to work out. Got two to the bus stop and the youngest to day camp at Beauvoir. Picked up the reporter doing a profile of her. …

    The woman seems unflappable. I’m beginning to think that longtime journalist Sally Quinn was not far off when she said, “Katharine is one of the most authentic people I’ve ever met.” …

    I mention the subject and ask, “What are your political leanings?”

    “Moderate to conservative Democrat,” she says. “But I’m not going to impose my views on the editorial page. I’ll leave that to Don.” Her uncle Don Graham remains chair of the parent Washington Post Company, and the newspaper’s editorial-page editor reports to him. “My plate is full,” she adds. …

    We’re passing under Dupont Circle. I try the social scene: “Your grandmother was very involved in public policy and Washington’s social whirl. Will you do the same?”

    “That’s not my world,” she says. ‘I don’t pretend to have any ambitions in that way. My grandmother knew JFK and LBJ. That was her world. I enjoy meeting interesting people. But that’s not my world.”

    “How did you do at the party last night?” I ask, figuring she might be surprised that I know that Boisfeuillet “Bo” Jones Jr., whom she replaced as publisher, hosted a party for her with Don Graham. The guest list of about 125 power players included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, DC mayor Adrian Fenty, Ted Leonsis, Bob Barnett and Rita Braver, Brendan and Lila Sullivan, Don Brown, Judy Woodruff, Steve Roberts, Debbie Dingell, and many of Katharine’s friends.

    “It was fine,” she says. “Bo said my grandmother gave him a party, and he wanted to do one for me. Now we’re done with parties. All my friends are tired of celebrating me. So am I.” …

    “I remember her as one in a group of Kay’s grandchildren at Martha’s Vineyard,” Woodward says.

    What about now?

    His voice gets gravelly. “She has the weight of the world on her shoulders,” he says. “With all the convulsions we are going through, it is on her head, her shoulders, her lap–to put it together. It makes her grandmother’s job look easy.” …

    Comparisons to Kay and Don are unavoidable, but Katharine Weymouth is different in ways that could position her well to pilot the Post in these times. She’s the first Post publisher to be born and raised outside of Washington. Recently divorced, she is the first to be raising young children as the principal parent. She’s very much part of the generation of young readers the Post must reach, by paper or by any digital means. She’s steeped in the business side when the Post’s problems are more economic than journalistic.

    Weymouth is much more like her grandmother Kay than her uncle Don. I saw flashes of Kay’s shyness and her steely command. The granddaughter seems comfortable, assured, yet decisive. Like Kay, she never lusted to be publisher but was thrust into the job. …

    “I was a geek,” Weymouth says. “I would pull my hair back in a tight bun, go to school, and work hard.”

    And dance. …

    Weymouth applied to Harvard early admission, following in the footsteps of her uncle Don. At school in Cambridge she deepened her love for literature, especially Mark Twain, the subject of her thesis.

    “He’s my favorite author to this day,” she says. “I found him smart, sarcastic, and irreverent. The fact that people still burn his books says a lot.”

    Has Twain had an effect on her?

    “I think I have a sense of humor and a healthy dose of cynicism.” …

    In England, Weymouth studied Joseph Conrad. She didn’t stay long enough to get the master’s degree. But she came away with a best friend, Molly Elkin. She looks out the window and points to a window in an office building across 15th Street.

    “That’s Molly’s office,” she says. “We joke about stretching a wire from office to office and talking on tin cans.” …

    She remembers Weymouth wearing lots of leather and heavy eye shadow. “Tough,” she says, “and fun.” …

    In 1993, Katharine Graham was 76 and almost a mythic figure in Washington’s political, journalistic, and social circles. She had stepped down as head of the Washington Post Company two years before. One of the country’s few top female corporate bosses, she had built the Post Company into a growing and profitable media conglomerate. She was beginning to write her memoirs.

    “We had plenty of time on our hands,” Weymouth says, “especially on Friday nights. My dating life was so pathetic. We would curl up, eat dinner on TV trays in the library, and watch Jim Lehrer’s news show.” …

    Some nights Mrs. Graham would take Weymouth as her “date” to movie premieres and book parties. Hoping to interest her granddaughter in one of her passions, she and Ann Pincus took Weymouth to the opera: “I told them they had introduced me to my first–and last—opera.” …

    Weymouth runs her household pretty much by herself. She lives with her three young children and two dogs in a tan stucco house with arched porticos over the front porch on a small street in the District, just south of Chevy Chase Circle. Maria Olinda Pinto, who was Kay Graham’s housekeeper, lives with them and helps out.

    “Mornings are crazy,” she says. “I’m up before 6. I try to keep my sanity by running or working out. I read the papers, make lunches, put eye drops in the spaniel. He has no tear ducts. The other dog is deaf.” That would be Maxine, the longhaired German shepherd.

    “I put the clothes out the night before, make sure the backpacks are in place. I try to take the kids to school every day. And take the clothes to the dry cleaner. And pay bills. Same as every other mom. Like all of us, I juggle and do the best I can.” …

    I ask if she misses Manhattan.

    “Not at all,” she says. “If I didn’t love it here, I would have moved. New York is too crazy for me. There I would get harassed on the subway on the way to work; here I drive to work with my top down. A run in Rock Creek Park is five minutes away. I have a house with a yard for my two dogs.” …

    Weymouth loves to cook–and precook. Vegetables for the week on Sunday night, bagged and ready for dinner. Cupcakes for birthdays at school. …

    She sees herself first as a mother. “If I ever felt I was falling down on that job, I would bail out, move to Vail, and ski,” she says. “Kids come first, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about working.”

    And throwing dinner parties.

    “My favorite weekend event is dinner at Katharine’s,” Molly Elkin says. “She’s a fabulous cook. She makes everything. She puts together an interesting array of people. Lots of laughing, lots of drinking.” …

    Among the people she listens to are Steve Hills, president of the Washington Post; Chris Ma, senior vice president of the Post Company; Jim Brady, editor of Washingtonpost.com; Liz Spayd, political director of the Web site; and Goli Sheikholeslami, who works in advertising at WPNI. …

    As Weymouth and I near the end of our drive to work, I ask what she reads first in the Post.

    “Front page, then Metro, then Style,” she says. “I’m a chick.”

    And Food: “I love food, love to cook.” …

    I save this question for last: “Are you dating?”

    “Yes,” she says. “In all my spare time.”