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Post's National Weekly Edition to Close

By Andy Alexander

The Post’s “National Weekly Edition” will cease publication at the end of the year, a victim of the bad economy and declining circulation.

National Weekly Edition editor Sharon Scott confirmed that the tabloid, started more than a quarter century ago, will be shuttered.

Circulation, which she said peaked at about 150,000 a decade ago, is now about 20,000.

“Our subscriber base is literally dying off,” she said, noting that many readers are retirees. Like other publications, advertising revenue also has suffered during the recession.

Although she said the National Weekly Edition has managed to show a small profit the last two years, a loss and continued circulation declines are projected.

“It’s a nice publication and it’s one that The Post and the people who work there should feel proud of,” said Washington Post Co. Vice Chairman Boisfeuillet Jones, Jr. He said the National Weekly Edition has a “very loyal” readership.

But with the daily Post currently losing money, he said, “the newspaper, at this stage, just can’t subsidize it.”

The National Weekly Edition showcases some of the featured work from the daily Post. It appeals especially to those who enjoy reading a print product that offers a selected mix of news stories, features, book reviews, editorials, opinion columns and cartoons. The latest edition runs 40 pages, almost all of them free of advertising. That affords a layout that is appealing to readers, but the lack of ads also speaks to the challenge of keeping the publication afloat financially.

Although the National Weekly Edition is used in classrooms, its readership skews older. It includes many people who moved away from Washington and miss the daily Post, but prefer to read some of its featured content on paper. And Scott said it also includes many print readers from across the country who feel their local paper does not offer sufficient in-depth national or international news or commentary.

It has a cover price of $1.95, but individual and “classroom” subscriptions have been less. While the National Weekly Edition does not have an online presence, its content is available on The Post's Web site.

The National Weekly Edition is produced in The Post’s downtown Washington newsroom by two full-time and two part-time editorial staffers.

By Andy Alexander  | August 10, 2009; 12:55 PM ET
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I guess most readers didn't know there was a "Washington Post National Weekly Edition" at all. Imho this speaks volumes about the quality of the marketing department of the Post.

Posted by: Gray62 | August 10, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand, most people know The Huffington Post where Dan Froomkin posted his first column today.

See the difference, feel the difference.

Posted by: Gray62 | August 10, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I love the vice president for double-talk's comment about the "very loyal readership" of the national edition.

I guess that would not include the 84 percent who stopped reading.

Posted by: PigSkin | August 10, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Now, why am I not "surprise". I hope this is a wake up call to "the powers that be".

Posted by: austininc4 | August 11, 2009 3:53 AM | Report abuse

Paper detail of duty as before. 8-16-????
Print Puffington Host on rolling papers. Keep California dreaming kids.

Posted by: Dermitt | August 11, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I have been an on-again, off-again subscriber and was about to join up again ... really!The only place I have seen the National Edition advertised was in the National Edition itself.
What about an online edition of the National? With limited time available to peruse the week's news I would appreciate the help of seasoned editors to winnow the wheat from the shaft.

Posted by: dwightrideout | August 11, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Interesting revelation about John Solomon's involvement with the US Attorney firing scandal. "I think we can get this just right with your help" - interesting service for the Washington Post to provide to the Bush Administration: getting things just right. Any plans for an explanation on this one?


Posted by: sphealey | August 12, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

what's interesting is that there was no official announcement about the weekly--which does not appear online. Was the Post keeping it quiet till Dec 31? What becomes of the employees who "should be proud to work there"? Is the Post folding any other sections or combining them?

Posted by: Roxcy21 | August 12, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

"Interesting revelation about John Solomon's involvement with the US Attorney firing scandal."
Yes, indeed! Mr. Alexander, as a newspaperman with 40 years of experience, and as the advocate for ethical standards at the Post, what do you think about Solomon's conduct? Do you think that such coordination of reporting with the government is proper journalistic procedure?

Posted by: Gray62 | August 12, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Btw, Mr. Alexander, I just read your Sunday Column about the "Mouthpiece Theater" issue. Good stuff, a very competent roundup. And the headline "Foot-in-Mouth Theater" is hilarious! Thank you.

Posted by: Gray62 | August 12, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

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