Shake-Up At The Washington Examiner

Betsy Rothstein | Reporter

The long and short of it: Lou Ann Sabatier is out as CEO of The Washington Examiner. In: Ryan McKibben. McKibben is President and CEO of the Denver-based Clarity Media Group, which owns the publication. He is the former publisher of the Denver Post. Billionaire Philip Anschutz hired him in 2003 to help him acquire the Examiner brand.

This has been a pivotal year of change at The Washington Examiner. This summer, Hugo Gurdon resigned as editor-in-chief of The Hill, where he worked for 11 years, and went to work as the conservative leaning Examiner‘s Editorial Director with Stephen Smith still the top dog. But soon enough, Smith was out and Gurdon was in charge.

Back in June, the publication made a major switch from a tabloid to online and a new weekly print magazine focusing on politics rather than local news and ultimately abandoned what was ultimately that shit show of a gossip column Yeas & Nays. At the time, Sabatier was brought in to oversee the Examiner as CEO of MediaDC, a subsidiary of Clarity Group Media. An announcement said Smith would stay in his post, but that was short-lived.

Sources tell The Mirror that Washington’s Examiner staff is understandably worried for their jobs and the stability of the news outlet.

On Thursday night, staff was speculating whether Gurdon already needs to be worrying if the new boss supports him given that support has collapsed for the underperforming CEO Sabatier who hired him in September.
Or was Gurdon McKibben’s mastermind hire all along and not Sabatier’s and the plan was to ease her out like they did to the longtime editor Smith? Few seem to believe this and instead the general feeling in the newsroom is this is just the latest flailing around without a solid plan, hoping something works.
Sources tell The Mirror that many insiders agree that Sabatier didn’t understand the news business and looked at content as a public-relations project, which is where her career has been focused — not on news.
The Mirror sought comment from Gurdon. None was received by press time.
(Full disclosure: Gurdon was my former boss at The Hill. The nerve of him not giving me a quote — joking.)
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