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Amazon chief Jeff Bezos buys Washington Post: Newspaper timeline


Oscar Quine
Tuesday 06 August 2013 09:42 BST
The Washington Post has been sold to Jeffrey Bezos for $250m
The Washington Post has been sold to Jeffrey Bezos for $250m (AFP/Getty images)

1877: The Washington Post is founded by Democrat representative Stilson Hutchins on December 6 with an initial circulation of 10,000.

1880: The paper adds a Sunday edition, becoming DC’s first newspaper to publish seven days a week.

1889: United States Marine Band leader John Philip Sousa premieres the song “The Washington Post March” - a marching band favourite to this day.

1889-1916: The Washington Post passes through a series of owners, either by sale or inheritance. When John McLean dies in 1916, he puts the newspaper in trust for fear that his wayward son Edward “Ned” McLean will bring about its demise. Ned challenges the trust in court and is given control of paper. Under his management, it goes into decline.

1933: At a public bankruptcy auction held on the steps of The Washington Post’s building, the newspaper is sold for $825,000 to Eugene Meyer, a Californian financier. Over the next decade, circulation triples to 162,000.

1936: Journalist Felix Morley wins The Post its first Pulitzer Prize “for distinguished editorial writing during the year.”

1946: Following the Second World War, President Truman appoints Meyer the first president of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He is succeeded at The Washington Post’s helm by Philip L. Graham, husband to his daughter Katharine Meyer Graham.

1950: The newspaper grows and to accommodate it, Graham builds a $6 million plant in Washington complete with up-to-date presses.

1953: The Washington Post Company purchases television station WMBR in Jacksonville, FL – the first of many.

1954-1973: After acquiring its rival the Washington Times-Herald, the paper changes its name to The Washington Post and Times-Herald for this period.

1961: Graham purchases Newsweek magazine for The Washington Post Company.

1963: Graham dies and control of The Washington Post passes to his wife Katharine Graham, at a time when there are few women in the upper echelons of the industry. On her father’s original decision to hand control of the newspaper to her husband in 1946, she later wrote: “it never crossed my mind that he might have viewed me as someone to take on an important job at the paper.“

1971: Until now privately-owned, The Washington Post Company goes public, with the sale of Class B common stock for $26 a share.

1972: Executive editor Ben Bradlee stakes the newspaper’s reputation and resources on reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. In a series of lengthy articles, they uncover the story behind a break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate Hotel complex in Washington. Their reportage ultimately plays a part in President Nixon’s resignation and wins the newspaper the Pulitzer Prize in 1973.

1977: The Washington Post Company sells its last remaining radio station, of which it once owned a handful.

1980: Reporter Janet Cookewon wins acclaim and a Pulitzer Prize for a piece called “Jimmy’s World”, charting the life of an eight-year heroin addict in Washington.

1996: The newspaper launches a website, Two years later it publishes 11 years of archives online.

2008: The Washington Post wins six Pulitzer Prizes for - amongst other topics - coverage of the massacre at Virginia Tech, poor care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and Vice President Cheney's behind-the-scenes power.

2012: Newsweek announces it will cease print publication at the end of the year, only existing thereafter in a digital form.

2013: The newspaper announces plans to start charging frequent users of its website.

August 5 - Announces sale to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in £163m deal.

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