City Desk

Washington Examiner Memo: New Weekly Paper to Target “Key Influencers”

A memo sent today to Washington Examiner staff offers a look at what the paper will become after laying off 87 people and ceasing daily publication this June. The new Examiner will be a website and weekly magazine focused on national politics.

"The website will engage visitors with web-only reporting and commentary throughout the day, complemented by WEX-branded digital and social media," Ryan McKibben, the CEO of Examiner parent company Clarity Media Group, writes in the memo, available in full after the jump. "The print publication will be delivered to 45,000 key influencers throughout Washington D.C. and to legislative and executive offices in state capitals across the nation."

The memo also thanks laid-off staffers, who will work until the switch on June 14, for helping to build the Examiner "brand." According to McKibben memo, staffers are getting severance packages. "We are grateful for their commitment and hard work and wish them well," McKibben writes.  "They have our respect. The company is providing fair severance and separation benefits, in addition to 88 days’ notice."

Update, 1:20: 87 people will be laid off, according to a representative of Clarity Media Group, the Examiner's parent company.

McKibben's full memo:

To: All Washington Examiner staff

From: Ryan McKibben, President Clarity Media Group

Date: March 19, 2013

This morning we are announcing important changes affecting The Washington Examiner. After much consideration, research and analysis, Clarity has decided to take the publication in a new direction. On June 17, WEX will shift from its local daily newspaper model to a consumer digital platform and a business-to-business national weekly magazine covering politics and government and serving select readers in government, public affairs, advocacy, academia and politics.

This will allow us to build upon the strong foundation we established over the last seven years, while deepening our commitment to providing insightful and investigative political coverage and commentary to an influential and sophisticated readership that influences politics and policy, both in the nation’s capital and around the country. With a distinguished staff of political columnists and reporters, washingtonexaminer.com and the Washington Examiner weekly will offer expanded commentary, analysis and coverage of institutions, organizations, individuals and issues affecting national legislation and policy across a number of key areas. The website will engage visitors with web-only reporting and commentary throughout the day, complemented by WEX-branded digital and social media.The print publication will be delivered to 45,000 key influencers throughout Washington D.C. and to legislative and executive offices in state capitals across the nation.

Stephen Smith, the current editor of WEX, will stay on to guide the editorial, joined by Mark Tapscott, and Jennifer Peebles. On the business side, Steve Sparks, Kathy Schaffhauser, and Gina Sacripanti will help lead operations. We will continue to publish the daily until June 14. We will be hiring for an additional 20 positions for the new digital platform and weekly publication.

As part of this shift, I am pleased to announce that we have named Lou Ann Sabatier, a long-time executive and consultant in the publishing industry, as chief executive officer of Clarity’s Washington Group, which includes The Washington Examiner, The Weekly Standard and the website Red Alert Politics.

Unfortunately the change in direction at The Washington Examiner will require us to eliminate positions in the newsroom and within business operations as we shift away from the daily newspaper model. We will be sorry to see those affected go. They helped build The Washington Examiner into a respected brand and created the foundation that is allowing us to take the Examiner forward. We are grateful for their commitment and hard work and wish them well. They have our respect. The company is providing fair severance and separation benefits, in addition to 88 days’ notice.

Overall, this change reflects the fact that Clarity Media Group remains committed to its mission of shaping political thought leadership with quality journalism, commentary and analysis created by our team of respected columnists, editors and reporters.

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