In Shake-Up, Washington Times Ousts 3 Executives

The New York Times/November 9, 2009

The Washington Times has fired three top executives, the paper announced on Monday, and it refused to say whether the paper's top editor would also leave.

The Times dismissed Thomas P. McDevitt, the president and publisher; Keith Cooperrider, the chief financial officer; and Dong Moon Joo, the chairman. Jonathan Slevin, a former vice president for the paper, was named acting president and publisher, and the newspaper retained a consulting firm, Tatum, to help run the business.

The executive editor, John Solomon, was not in The Times's offices Monday, amid speculation that he might step down. The news was first reported by In a meeting with the staff, Mr. Slevin did not shed light on that question.

Calls to The Times were referred to Don Meyer, an outside public relations consultant. When asked about Mr. Solomon, Mr. Meyer said, "I don't have any information on his status right now."

He said he could not offer any explanation for the shake-up.

Among those who declined comment was David Jones, the managing editor. But Talking Points Memo quoted Mr. Jones as saying that Mr. Solomon, who was hired away from The Washington Post in early 2008, "is taking a few days to consider his options."

The paper is owned by the Unification Church. Last year, the church's longtime leader, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, named one of his sons, Hyung Jin Moon, the new president of the church.

The Times had weekday circulation of just 67,148 in the six months that ended Sept. 30, down 17 percent from a year earlier - a fraction of the figures for its major competitors.

But as a platform for conservative opinion, it is more influential than the circulation numbers indicate.

It draws more than two million monthly online readers, according to Nielsen Online, making it one of the nation's top 20 newspaper sites.

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