WaPo dinner invitations raise eyebrows


Capitol Hill print/web newser Politico got wind of a new revenue stream the Washington Post was seeking to open, and it’s putting some egg on the venerable newspaper’s face. It seems it was offering lobbyists and association heads the chance to dine with reporters — and here’s the key – as in key officials in the Obama administration, to make their case in a casual atmosphere. But the access came with a price.

The price was $25K for dinner at CEO and Publisher Katherine Weymouth’s personal residence. There was even a bulk package for frequent influencers. If you agree to buy ten dinner invitations at $25K a pop, for a total of $250K, you’d get an 11th dinner absolutely free.

Shortly after the story broke, the Post got an email out subtracting its editorial staff from the equation. WaPo said the program came out of the newspaper’s business offices and that editorial staff was utterly unaware of it.

RBR/TVBR observation: Only in Washington would something like this be possible. Doesn’t sound like something a broadcast outlet would be susceptible to engaging in, either. Only the near municipal monopoly of a big newspaper can command the necessary clout to attempt something like this.