Philanthropist Mark Ein to purchase Washington City Paper

Getty Images

D.C. native Mark Ein has reached an agreement to purchase the Washington City Paper, according to a Thursday press release by the publication.

The news comes after reports surfaced earlier this week that the paper was being forced to cut salaries by 40 percent. But with Ein buying the paper, assurances were given to staff that they can “expect continuity with regard to their roles and salaries at current levels,” according to the press release on the Ein purchase announcement.

“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of high quality journalism — particularly today,” said Ein. “Every thriving community needs strong local news, and Washington City Paper has been a critical part of the fabric of our city, and a great incubator of journalistic talent, for decades. With a talented staff and the support of our initial groups of respected journalistic veterans and business and civic leaders, I want to do everything I can to insure that the City Paper continues producing great
journalism and responsible local news for decades to come.”{mosads}

Ein also announced he has formed two groups to “re-energize” the paper.

“In the first group are founding members of the Washington City Paper Journalist Alumni Group that worked at City Paper during their career and that will offer editorial and other support,” reads the newspaper’s press release.

The group includes prominent alumni such as CNN host Jake Tapper, The Atlantic correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kate Boo.

“It speaks volumes about City Paper that so many extraordinary journalists and leaders from across the Washington landscape have come together so quickly to support the City Paper’s future success,” Ein said.

There will also be support coming via the “Friends of Washington City Paper,” which includes D.C. business and civic leaders “who will help in individual ways including advising, contributing and investing,” per the press release.

Members of this group include Monumental Sports & Entertainment founder and CEO Ted Leonsis, chef and ThinkFoodGroup founder José Andrés, former Mayor Tony Williams, I.M.P. Chairman Seth Hurwitz, United Talent Agency CEO Jeremy Zimmer, author George Pelecanos, executive Mark Walsh and BrandLinkDC Co-CEO Jayne Sandman.

The City Paper’s recent struggles reflect broader trends in the industry, with ad revenues and subscriptions tumbling downward.

Pew Research reported over the summer that total weekday circulation for U.S. daily newspapers fell 8 percent in 2016 on both the print and digital fronts. The drop marks the 28th consecutive year of declines.

There was also a double-digit decline in advertising revenue for the industry in 2016, a trend expected to continue when numbers are tallied for this year.

Terms of the deal Ein made to purchase the Washington City Paper were not disclosed.

The deal is expected to close the first week in January.

Tags D.C. News Washington City Paper
See all Hill.TV See all Video