Washington Post Expands Use of AI After Losing $77 Million in Last Year

“The way I see us operate is we have A.I. everywhere. We have A.I. in our newsroom; we have A.I. with our consumers; we have A.I. in the business,” its chief technology officer tells staff

Washington Post sign outside its headquarters.
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The Washington Post announced Wednesday that it registered a $77 million loss in the last year, according to publisher and chief executive Will Lewis.

“To speak candidly,” Lewis told staffers gathered at the paper’s headquarters, “we are in a hole, and we have been for some time.”

Lewis, who joined the company in January, revealed that the audience highs the Post enjoyed in 2020 had dropped 50% in the years since. The CEO then announced a number of plans to help reinvigorate the business, including informing staffers that they would be implementing artificial intelligence more aggressively.

“I totally get that there is a huge fear of A.I. everywhere,” Vineet Khosla, the Post’s chief technology officer, said. “But I want us to go beyond the fear. The way I see us operate is we have A.I. everywhere. We have A.I. in our newsroom; we have A.I. with our consumers; we have A.I. in the business… Start thinking of it as a copilot.”

Plans have already rolled out to have A.I. voices read certain newsletters to readers, but expansions are planned into more parts of the newsroom — like article takeaways generated by A.I. but edited by the outlet’s journalists.

They also plan to incorporate a new tiered subscription model with additions like “Post Pro” and “Post Plus,” aimed at professional and diehard readers respectively, and a pay-per-story method for readers who may just be interested in a single article.

“We think that we’ve been a one-size-fits-all organization for too long, so we’re excited to create a new set of consumer and professional products that better meets the needs of our multi-faceted audiences,” chief growth officer Karl Wells said.

“I really hope at some point in the future, when you look back on this day, it’s actually quite a significant day in the history of our company,” Lewis said.

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