Frustrations Mount at Washington Post as Its Business Struggles

With digital subscriptions and digital advertising revenue stagnating, the company is on a pace to lose money this year.

By Benjamin Mullin and Katie Robertson Aug. 30, 2022

In the years after Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013, business boomed. Droves of readers bought digital subscriptions, and the newsroom roughly doubled in size, adding hundreds more journalists.

But The Post’s business has stalled in the past year. As the breakneck news pace of the Trump administration faded away, readers have turned elsewhere, and the paper’s push to expand beyond Beltway coverage hasn’t compensated for the loss.

The organization is on track to lose money in 2022, after years of profitability, according to two people with knowledge of the company’s finances. The Post now has fewer than the three million paying digital subscribers it had hailed internally near the end of 2020, according to several people at the organization. Digital ad revenue generated by The Post fell to roughly $70 million during the first half of the year, about 15 percent lower than in the first half of 2021, according to an internal financial document reviewed by The New York Times.

Fred Ryan, the chief executive and publisher, in recent weeks has floated with newsroom leaders the possibility of cutting 100 positions, according to several people with knowledge of the discussions. The cuts, if they happen, could come through hiring freezes for open jobs or other ways. The newsroom now has about 1,000 people.

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