Weymouth Offers Explanation to WaPo Staff

First on FishbowlDC: Internal memo from WaPo Publisher and CEO Katharine Weymouth below:

From: Katharine Weymouth
Sent: 07/02/2009 02:45 PM EDT
Subject: Message from the Publisher


You will have seen this morning a story in Politico and now widely picked up that we were planning a series of salon dinners. A flyer went out that was prepared by the Marketing department and was never vetted by me or by the newsroom. Had it been, the flyer would have been immediately killed, because it completely misrepresented what we were trying to do.

I do not normally respond to stories but this one has created enough of a stir that I wanted to take the time to reaffirm our commitment, first and foremost, to our journalism and our integrity. There is nothing more important and no amount of money that would cause us to jeopardize that. We are always looking for new revenue streams but we will pursue only avenues that uphold our high standards of journalism.

We were planning to do a series of dinners and had requested newsroom
participation but with parameters such that we did not in any way
compromise our integrity. Sponsorship of events, like advertising in the newspaper, must be at arm’s length and cannot imply control over the content or access to our journalists. At this juncture, we will not be holding the planned July dinner and we will not hold salon dinners involving the newsroom.

We do believe that there is a viable way to expand our expertise into live conferences and events that simply enhances what we do – cover Washington for Washingtonians and those interested in Washington. And we will begin to do live events in ways that enhance our reputation and in no way call into question our integrity.