The same week Washington City Paper parent company SouthComm Inc. told staffers their salaries would be cut by 40% in 2018 as it struggled to find a buyer, local businessman and philanthropist Mark Ein has stepped up to the plate.
"It's impossible to overstate the importance of high-quality journalism — particularly today," stated 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."
Win will be the Washington City Paper’s first local owner in 35 years. He owns the Washington Kastles World TeamTennis (WTT) franchise and is founder and CEO of Venturehouse Group.
Last night, Washington City Paper tweeted: “Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated.”
But earlier this week, a report from The Washingtonian suggested SouthComm’s threat would reduce most editorial employees’ salaries to below $30,000 in 2018. A press release announcing Ein’s purchase assured staff can "expect continuity with regard to their roles and salaries at current levels.”
Editor-in-chief Alexa Mills, who will continue as top editor under the paper’s new ownership, wrote in an online post that staff found out about the acquisition in the middle of the WCP’s holiday potluck.
In the post, titled "Long Live City Paper,” Mills said going forward the editorial team hopes to expand coverage in education, sports, health and crime, as well as other topics that affect the city.
Ein will create two local groups to help support the Washington City Paper.
The “Alumni Group,” which includes former Washington City Paper writers and editors like Katherine Boo, Jake Tapper and Ta-Nehisi Coates, will advise the paper and “offer editorial and other support.”
The other group is formed of business, civic and media leaders "who will help in individual ways, including advising, contributing and investing," according to a statement. The group, called “Friends of Washington City Paper,” includes big names, such as D.C. chef José Andrés and former mayor Anthony Williams.