Pity poor Sheryl Gay Stolberg.
The New York Times' D.C. reporter wrote a glowing profile of Washington Post CEO and publisher Katharine Weymouth on Sunday only for the facts to dramatically change fewer than 24 hours later, when it was announced the paper had been sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million.
Stolberg wrote in her piece that Weymouth was taking charge of the newspaper that had been in her family for four generations. She remains steadfast that her article still stands, telling TheWrap it "is even more relevant today."
It's not quite clear how that would be so. The story depicted how Katharine Weymouth, scion of one of America's last great family publishing dynasties, is struggling to save her family's newspaper in an economically difficult climate. Now we have proof that the climate was so difficult the Grahams have decided to sell.
"In an exceedingly difficult climate for newspapers, Ms. Weymouth is charged with saving the crown jewels. In a city and a clan filled with expectations for her, that is no easy task," Stolberg wrote.
Stolberg says that's still true of Weymouth today. Though her family no longer owns the paper, she will stay on as its CEO and publisher under Bezos, for the moment. "Ms. Weymouth still has the challenge I wrote about -- at least for now -- albeit with a new owner," she told TheWrap.
She also defended her reporting to Politico, maintaining that neither Weymouth nor her uncle, Don Graham, CEO and chairman of the Washington Post Company, "gave any hint that the company was about to be sold" though, she insisted, she asked "the relevant questions."
"She and her uncle didn't share their secret with their own journalists, who were shocked by today's announcement," Stolberg told TheWrap. "They certainly weren't going to share it with The New York Times."
As for Stolberg, she said she was "stunned," when the WaPo sale news came down. But "I understand it," she said. "In retrospect, how could they have shared it with The Times? It would have sunk their whole deal."
- Katharine Weymouth
- Jeff Bezos
- Washington Post