Washington Post, The


Washington Post, The
Morning daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C., the dominant paper in the U.S. capital and one of the nation's leading newspapers.

Established in 1877 as a Democratic Party organ, it changed orientation and ownership several times and faced constant economic problems until financier Eugene Meyer (1875–1959) purchased it in 1933. Under the leadership of Meyer, his son-in-law Philip L. Graham (publisher from 1946 until his death in 1963), and his daughter, Katharine Graham (publisher from 1969–79), it acquired domestic and international prestige, especially in its coverage of the Watergate scandal. Donald E. Graham was named publisher in 1979. The newspaper is known for its sound and independent editorial stance and thorough, accurate reporting.

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▪ American newspaper
      morning daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C., the dominant newspaper in the U.S. capital and usually counted as one of the greatest newspapers in that country, equaled or excelled only by The New York Times.

      The Post was established in 1877 as a four-page organ of the Democratic Party. For more than half a century it faced economic problems, caused partly by the competition that it faced. The paper was sold in 1889, resulting in the abandonment of the Democratic Party allegiance, and it grew in size and reputation but came to be known as an extremely conservative publication. Sold again in 1905 to John R. McLean, the paper embraced sensationalism and society reporting, and in 1916 McLean's son succeeded to control. In the 1920s the paper lost stature, in part because its owner, Edward B. (Ned) McLean, was a close friend of President Warren G. Harding, whose policies were generally believed to be too much reflected in the Post. Ned McLean's management finally brought the paper from disrepute to bankruptcy, and in 1933 the financier Eugene Meyer (Meyer, Eugene) purchased the paper out of receivership.

      Meyer began to rebuild the Post's character, emphasizing a sound and independent editorial stance and thorough, accurate, and well-written reporting. The Post became noted for its interpretative reporting, and the cartoons of Herbert L. Block ( Herblock) gave the editorial page a cutting edge, drawing much applause (mixed with denunciation from Herblock's targets) and a wide readership. Meyer turned the paper over to his son-in-law, Philip L. Graham, in 1946, and Graham continued to expand and refine it.

      The Post bought the Washington Times-Herald in 1954 and closed its former archconservative rival, acquiring in the process such circulation-building assets as rights to Drew Pearson's column, “Washington Merry-Go-Round.” Under Graham the Post, staunchly internationalist in outlook and thriving economically, bought Newsweek magazine in 1961. Graham built up the paper's foreign coverage and moved its reportage of the U.S. government consistently toward excellence. He took his own life in 1963 and was succeeded promptly and firmly by his wife, Katherine Meyer Graham (Graham, Katharine). Her continuance and amplification of the progress that Philip Graham had made brought the Post new domestic and international prestige. She moved editor Ben Bradlee from Newsweek to the Post and firmly supported her staff in the discovery and disclosure of presidential complicity in the Watergate Scandal.

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Universalium. 2010.

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