Washington Post to expand newsroom staff, add foreign hubs
The Washington Post (AFP)

The Washington Post announced plans on Monday to expand its newsroom staff to over 1,000 and add breaking news hubs in Europe and Asia to create a bigger global footprint.

The move by the Post, owned by Amazon chief executive and billionaire Jeff Bezos, comes in stark contrast to much of the industry which has been retrenching amid economic turmoil and a shift away from print.

The Post, which said in 2018 it had become profitable but which does not release financial data, plans to create breaking-news hubs in Europe and Asia for more robust 24-hour news coverage.

"The Post intends to ensure that its readers everywhere can rely on a full, timely news report at any hour, including rich, multi-faceted coverage during the critical early-morning window in North America," a statement said.

The daily has been seeking to boost the number of its digital subscribers as it seeks to keep pace with the rival New York Times, with a newsroom staff of at least 1,700 and an increased focus on global readers.

The Post will establish new foreign bureaus in Sydney and Bogota, bringing the number of foreign bureaus to 26, after having created a Europe-based operation focusing on covering global conflicts.

The hubs in London and Seoul will include a total of 19 reporters and editors including a visuals editor, an audience editor and at least one multiplatform editor.

In total the newspaper will be adding 44 journalists to boost the newsroom staff to 1,010, the most ever, including eight for its personal technology team.

"We're hugely excited to be expanding so dramatically," said Marty Baron, executive editor of The Post.

"Readers will get journalism that is richer, deeper, faster, more wide-ranging and more innovative. It signals overwhelming confidence in The Post's future."

The expansion highlights the divergent fortunes of an industry roiled by economic changes and more recently, the global pandemic.

Many local and regional publications have struggled in recent years, with the number of newspaper jobs cut in half in the past decade, according to the Pew Research Center.

In the first half of this year alone, newsrooms in the US have cut more than 11,000 jobs, according to the consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That is the worst year for newsrooms since 2008, when 14,265 newsroom cuts were announced.

Bezos, the world's richest person, bought the newspaper in 2013 for $250 million.