More journalism jobs are being lost with the decline in print advertising and the switch to digital platforms, this time with the closing of the Washington Post’s free daily commuter paper, Express.
Twenty reporters got the bad news yesterday. The final edition of the Express will be published Thursday.
Express,a quick-read newspaper in a smaller format, has been an integral part of the morning commute for Washingtonians–a lively, highly engaging publication that has served Washington’s Metro riders since 2003.
In a post on its public relations blog, WaPo said that the growth of WiFi in D.C.’s Metro is partially the cause for the closure: “More and more readers are consuming The Post’s content digitally, and The Post will continue to serve those who commute via Metro with digital products, including its mobile site, apps, newsletters, and podcasts.” (Earlier this year, WaPo partnered with Metro to promote the internet connection, offering riders a free 30-day subscription when they logged into the transit agency’s WiFi.)
An article published in the Post also cited declining circulation, from its peak of 190,000 daily readers in 2007 to 130,000 this year. The publication lists a decrease in Metro ridership as a partial cause of the drop.
Unlike their colleagues at The Washington Post, staffers from Express are not a part of a union. Along with the journalists, the closing affects 75 hawkers who distribute the paper at Metro stations and to newspaper boxes.
The Washington Post Newspaper Guild, the union representing many Post staffers, released a scathing statement condemning the closing and calling for the paper to hire Express’ staffers, noting that Express employees had explored unionizing earlier this year.
“These employees, many of them young women, performed the same jobs as other staff in our newsroom for substantially lesser pay,” the statement reads. “They were excluded from a union contract that would have protected them only by legal and bureaucratic fictions that labeled them a different entity within our company, though Post Express and The Washington Post are both owned by Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world.”
The Post says it will offer Express readers a 60-day, free trial for unlimited digital access to the paper.