How The Washington Post is beefing up its presence in Asia Pacific
The Washington Post’s expansion in 2021 is its biggest step yet and will place its reporters in 26 locations around the world – more than double the locations it had when Jeff Bezos purchased the paper in 2013. The Drum finds out how these investments will continue to allow The Post to produce global coverage for an international audience.
The Washington Post has been expanding its presence in the Asia Pacific region, adding a South East Asia reporter and a third China correspondent in the last three years, and its first Australia bureau chief in 2021.
It now has eight reporters reporting from Kabul, New Delhi, Tokyo, Hong Kong (where its reporter there leads coverage of SEA), Seoul and Taipei, where two of its China reporters are temporarily based. It is the biggest presence The Post has ever had in the Asia Pacific region.
The Post is also establishing news hubs so it can deliver 24-hour reporting to readers globally, with the APAC news hub located in Seoul, South Korea. It has hired Andrew Jeong, Bryan Pietsch and Rachel Pannett as breaking news reporters for the new hub.
These hubs will operate as extensions of the US newsroom, with 19 staff members split between London and Seoul covering stories from around the world as they break in their time zone.
“Our new hires this year will play a significant role in growing our coverage of the region. With the appointment of Michael Miller as our Australia bureau chief, we will be able to deepen our reporting on an important and increasingly complicated part of the world and how it handles challenges that resonate with our global readership,” explains Douglas Jehl, foreign editor at The Washington Post.
“Some of these challenges include climate change, navigating its relationship with China and migration. Our team in Seoul, though not necessarily focused on covering APAC countries, will position us to nimbly cover major stories that break in the region.”
He adds: “Coverage will be handed off from Washington to Seoul and then London, ensuring readers anywhere around the world and at any time can access up-to-date quality news updates from The Post. Unlike our foreign bureaus, these teams won’t have the mandate to cover the country or region they are based in.”
Despite the presence of the likes of CNN and The New York Times in APAC, Jehl is excited to continue growing The Post’s international presence. He notes the expansion this year is The Post’s biggest step yet and will place its reporters in 26 locations around the world.
“We think these investments have and will continue to allow us to produce distinctive global coverage and to ensure an international audience will always find a rich and timely report of the stories they need to know whenever they visit The Post,” he says.
“Though we don’t have any other immediate expansion plans to share now, The Post is committed to growing its international coverage and becoming an indispensable news source for a global audience.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted The Post in many ways. The Post’s chief revenue officer Joy Robins previously told The Drum “our priority can’t be to sell advertising”. Instead, she said it wants its partners to leverage its content production and brand trust.
Its conversations with brands have changed these last few months as many went dark in the immediate aftermath, but Robins says now, more than ever, it is working with ”brands that have been thrust on to the main stage for the first time because their product or service is providing real utility in this new world order”.
Notably off the table right now are conversations about “short-term ROI”, which will come into play later.
The Post has also appointed Scott Weisenthal as head of the new Washington Post Creative Group, a reshuffled unit that absorbed the WP Creative team to handle custom creative, content, video and audio, social, live programming and print. This one-stop shop will drive about a third of the publisher’s total commercial revenue in 2022.
With staff across brand strategy, creative, design and marketing, its job is to “create emotionally resonant experiences that help shape culture, spark conversation and captivate the influential”, all backed by a spine of commercial tech, data and research teams.