‘Washington Times’ Dropping Sunday Edition As Part of ‘Refocused’ Approach

By: Joe Strupp

The Washington Times plans to introduce its new “refocused” print edition — which will be targeted to a smaller readership and include some free distribution — on Jan. 4, 2010, according to a release. It will also no longer produce a Sunday edition and be available only Monday through Friday.

In an announcement issued Monday, Publisher/President Jonathan Slevin said the new version of the paper will be available via single-copy sales for $1 throughout the D.C. market, and free to some targeted readers.

“The Washington Times will continue to expand its distribution through electronic media and provide all areas of coverage through the Internet at washingtontimes.com, in addition to the local print edition and our national weekly print edition,” Slevin said in a statement Monday. “Reporting that respects the critical thinking of our readers and viewers, and crisply written editorials and columns will remain the centerpieces of our new strategy.”

Slevin told E&P earlier this month that more than half of The Times’ circulation would be free under the new business strategy. He added at the time that the new plan, which includes substantial job cuts, is necessary to end the paper’s reliance on subsidies from the Unification Church ownership.

Slevin, who took over as publisher last month, said the paper had relied on “substantial” subsidies from the church, but declined to reveal specifics.

Daily circulation has taken a hit in the recent Audit Bureau of Circulations FAS-FAX Report for the six months ending Sept. 30, dropping from 80,962 to 67,148 compared to the same period a year earlier. Slevin said circulation would be reduced further, but did not indicate by how much.

The overhaul announced earlier this month followed a recent management shake-up in November that included the dismissal of former president and publisher Thomas McDevitt, chief financial officer Keith Cooperrider and chairman Dong Moon Joo, as well as the departure of Editor John Solomon.

The current newspaper’s last Sunday edition will publish on Dec. 27.

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