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Correspondence: Not Even a Molehill

The chairman of the board for ‘The Washington Post’ responds to ‘Post Apocalypse.’

Times change in the newspaper business; technologies and perceptions come and go. There is so little one can rely on.

But there is this: Every few years, a writer for The New Republic or some similar magazine comes forward to announce the collapse of standards and journalism at The Washington Post.

Having read these stories for 40 years, I found Gabriel Sherman's piece ("Post Apocalypse," February 4) particularly lazy. Not much new here. His endless lead rehashes an episode now seven months old in which a screamingly obvious decision to enter the conference business was betrayed by poor execution. Respected news organizations sponsor dozens of conferences.

Your reporter tries to build this into a mountain. Having lived through the Janet Cooke episode in my second year as publisher, I do not see in this months-old issue even a respectable-sized molehill.

Mr. Sherman goes on: We have lost a respected reporter--a year ago! (but still have a newsroom full of great ones). Someone has told an insulting story about the editor (consult your files and those of your competitors for similar stories about Ben Bradlee and Len Downie--and for that matter, about Katharine Graham).

The answer to such articles is the same as always: 365 days of good newspapers and web journalism which the staff of the Post will produce in 2010. I am entirely willing, today as always, to be judged by the work of my colleagues in the Post newsroom. If you want to join Mr. Sherman and judge the Post, I suggest you read this morning's paper--and tomorrow's, and the day after's (in your preferred format).

While I am every bit as biased as you might think, I believe that Katharine Weymouth will be a brilliant publisher of the Post, and Marcus Brauchli an outstanding editor. Hoping for the best for The New Republic, I expect them to live through many more such pieces in your magazine.

Donald Graham is the chairman of the board of The Washington Post Company.

Click here to read Gabe Sherman’s original piece on the subject, “Post Apocalypse.”