Washington Examiner Newspaper Closing, Becoming Weekly Magazine

The Washington Examiner, which for a while became the conservative alternative to the Washington Post, is ceasing daily publication to become a conservative alternative to The Hill.

The Washington Examiner, which for a while became the conservative alternative to the Washington Post, is ceasing daily publication to become a conservative alternative to The Hill.

Will Sommer, Washington City Paper (“Staffers Told Washington Examiner Will Cease Daily Publication“):

 Staffers are being told that the paper will cease daily publication in June to become a weekly political magazine and website, according to two sources who attended a meeting about the change.

Many Examiner staffers were called into a meeting today around 11:15 and told that the paper would become a center-right version of political publications likeThe Hill, according to a staffer who attended. While some reporters were taken into another meeting about the new publication, others will be laid off.  The switch will happen on June 14, according to the staffer. Laid-off employees will keep working until June.

In a follow-up (“New Weekly Paper to Target “Key Influencers”“), Sommer reports that some 87 folks are now out of work and quotes from the memo sent to Examiner staff.

On June 17, WEX will shift from its local daily newspaper model to a consumer digital platform and a business-to-business national weekly magazine covering politics and government and serving select readers in government, public affairs, advocacy, academia and politics.

This will allow us to build upon the strong foundation we established over the last seven years, while deepening our commitment to providing insightful and investigative political coverage and commentary to an influential and sophisticated readership that influences politics and policy, both in the nation’s capital and around the country. With a distinguished staff of political columnists and reporters, washingtonexaminer.com and the Washington Examiner weekly will offer expanded commentary, analysis and coverage of institutions, organizations, individuals and issues affecting national legislation and policy across a number of key areas. The website will engage visitors with web-only reporting and commentary throughout the day, complemented by WEX-branded digital and social media.The print publication will be delivered to 45,000 key influencers throughout Washington D.C. and to legislative and executive offices in state capitals across the nation.

Stephen Smith, the current editor of WEX, will stay on to guide the editorial, joined by Mark Tapscott, and Jennifer Peebles. On the business side, Steve Sparks, Kathy Schaffhauser, and Gina Sacripanti will help lead operations. We will continue to publish the daily until June 14. We will be hiring for an additional 20 positions for the new digital platform and weekly publication.

I’m happy to see Tapscott, who I’ve known for many years, is among those keeping their job.

And, yes, the Washington Times was filling the niche going back to the Reagan administration. But they’d gone full-on crazy, barely concealing their Moonie ties, and the Examiner was siphoning off all their best talent.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bk says:

    a conservative alternative to The Hill.

    lol whut???? That reminds me of Spinal Tap (paraphrasing): “How much more black can it be?” “None. None more black.”

  2. Nikki says:

    …a conservative alternative to The Hill.

    That nearly gave me whiplash.

    Have you read The Hill?

  3. rudderpedals says:

    Politico’s in that space already. Interesting

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I guess I’m out of the loop. I actually had never heard of this one. I thought the Washington Times still was the conservative alternative to WaPo.

    As far as The Hill goes, obviously it’s waaaay to the left, but what would be the point in setting yourself up as its conservative alter ego? Other than actual politicos (lost causes, for the most part) and Beltway political junkies (cocooned worse than caterpillars), and maybe some liberal idiots (BIRM) on the Internet, who on earth reads The Hill, other than for morbid curiosity purposes?

  5. JWH says:

    This is really tragic. Before it got bought out by the Examiner group, the publications was Journal Newspapers, a group of local papers (zoned editions of a single paper, actually) that covered a lot of local news that just didn’t make it to the Post’s radar. Not just city council meetings, but also high-school sports, county fairs, crime, and a lot of the little local stuff that you could get only in a community newspaper.

    The Journal Newspapers were also a great gateway for young journalists who wanted to break into journalism in the area, but didn’t quite have the contacts and/or grades to take them immediately to one of the big boys. A LOT of reporters and editors who later popped up at the Washington Times, the Washington Post, or any of the zillions of trade-group newsletters and industry pubs in DC cut their teeth doing local news at the Journals.

    The Examiner had at least a little bit of local coverage, even though it was owned by a national chain. I’m sad to see that last little bit of it finally die out.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    They failed to get the backing of a messianic cult like the Washington Times. You need a cult. Or a crazy billionaire.

  7. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Nikki: It just shows how far the goalposts have been moved. Right now they’re on their way to Gibraltar.

  8. An Interested Party says:

    I guess I’m out of the loop.

    No need to guess, you are always out of the loop, but if it’s any consolation, you are also always loopy…

  9. TheColourfield says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    You’re right. The Hill is away to the left. Out there with the National Review

  10. Andre Kenji says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Or a crazy billionaire.

    The Washington Examiner in fact is owned by a crazy billionaire, Philip Anschutz, a oil magnate that bought the Weekly Standard from Murdoch and that finances a lot of conservative causes. I think that he must have figured out that the eletronic version of the Examiner that really mattered, and that sending a weekly magazine was cheaper than printing a daily paper.

  11. Mr Mike says:

    But – how will we get our daily Red Scare from Bill Gertz? The yellow hoards must be covered, and Gertz has dependably filled that niche for decades now, even while working for Our Lord Resurrected Moon. He’s gettin’ on in years, and it’s tough for a (red baitin’) playa out there.

  12. Murray says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “I guess I’m out of the loop” Yup.