It was a no-frills employment notice that went public 35 years ago, touting an original vision that sustained The Washington Times on its quest for profitability.
“WANTED: The Best. We’re launching a new daily newspaper in Washington, D.C. We intend to build it, rapidly and purposefully, into one of the nation’s best newspapers,” the brief missive read. “The Washington Times will be a bold, new voice in the nation’s capital. It will be a paper of excellence, representing the highest-quality standards of journalism. It will be a worthy challenger to the Washington Post, and an unmistakable alternate voice, as excellent in its presentation of news and commentary from a conservative vantage point as the Post is from a liberal perspective.”
The year was 1982. The very first edition of The Washington Times newspaper emerged — and thousands more followed, produced in a building that had once been a warehouse on the outer edge of the nation’s capital. The Times never missed an issue over the years, earning accolades from the likes of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and lady Margaret Thatcher.
“The Washington Times will always stand for a free people,” George Bush the senior noted in 2007.
“As long as The Washington Times is alive and well, conservative voices will never be drowned out,” Thatcher said in a remarkable public video produced the same year.
That’s larger-than-life stuff. But one significant moment was to come that no one will ever forget. On Oct. 15, 2015, The Washington Times formally announced that it had achieved its first profitable month in its history, successfully transforming a traditional money-losing print publication into a leaner multimedia company with diverse revenue streams and a growing national audience. That moment was 33 years in the making, and one that drew considerable media attention.
“The hardworking employees and patient owners of The Washington Times have waited for this day for a long time,” President and CEO Larry Beasley said after surprising his staff with an impromptu champagne celebration at company headquarters that very afternoon.
“A lot of people said this couldn’t be done, especially in the difficult media marketplace today,” Mr. Beasley said. “But I’m proud of our team for its determined effort to remake their company into a digital-first business that can sustain a print publication that still wields enormous clout.”
The process was long. It was expensive. Though The Times achieved outsized influence in the nation’s capital and beyond, the paper also accumulated losses that far exceeded $1 billion.
“I know the owners can’t wait for us to pay them back,” a good-natured Mr. Beasley joked during the company celebration.
His business acumen and finesse were key. Under Mr. Beasley’s watch, The Times went from losing more than $2 million a month at the end of 2012 to profitability in less than three years, while more than doubling its web audience to become the 17th-largest online news organization, according to the Pew Research Center.
“Since we burst on the scene in 1982, we’ve always been known for providing an exclusive, original news report unrivaled by others and one that resonated with conservative thought leadership. It’s now rewarding to know we have a business model to sustain us well into the future,” said Dr. Michael Jenkins, chairman of Operations Holdings, parent company of The Times.
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