The Washington Post announced Wednesday its plan to stop printing a distributing its free daily commuter paper, Express.
“Managers of the paper cited its deteriorating financial condition for the decision to cease publishing. Although they declined to cite specific figures, they said the printed paper had recently begun to lose money,” the Post’s Paul Farhi wrote in the announcement.
Similar to New York City’s Metro or AMNY, the Post’s Express was a free, daily paper handed out at public transportation hubs around the capital city.
“Colorful and lively, Express was designed to be a fast read for public-transit commuters each morning, especially people who didn’t subscribe to The Post. It featured eye-catching and sometimes cheeky cover illustrations that highlighted a single news story or trend, often one underplayed by The Post or ignored by TV newscasts,” Farhi wrote.
The paper also featured original reporting, columns, and features drawn from the post. Twenty journalists who worked specifically on “Express” will be laid off as a result of its closure.
The Post’s union responded to this news Wednesday with a statement that said it was “outraged” the announcement was made the day before operations would cease.
“These employees, many of them young women, performed the same jobs as other staff in our newsroom for substantially lesser pay. They published our journalism, and we published theirs,” the statement said of Express employees, identified later by the same statement as a group of workers who had been exploring unionizing themselves. “They were excluded from a union contract that would have protected them only by legal and bureaucratic fictions that labeled them a different entity within our company, though Post Express and The Washington Post are both owned by Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world.”
Though it was small, the paper joins the ranks of a few larger competitors. More than a quarter of large newspapers had layoffs in 2018, according to the latest data from the Pew Research Center, which confirms what is already known: This is a bad time for the industry.
Earlier this summer, Pew analysis found that the number of newsroom jobs at newspapers has declined 47% in the last decade. and newspaper circulation reached its lowest point since 1940 in 2018, according to another assessment of the news media shortly after.