Washington City Paper

Last updated
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Washington City Paper (front page).jpg
Type Alternative weekly
Format Tabloid
EditorAlexa Mills
Founded1981;39 years ago (1981) (as 1981)
Headquarters734 15th St. NW, Suite 400
Washington, D.C., U.S. 20005
Circulation 68,059 weekly in 2011 [1]
Website washingtoncitypaper.com

The Washington City Paper is a U.S. alternative weekly newspaper serving the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The City Paper is distributed on Thursdays; its average circulation in 2006 was 85,588. The paper's editorial mix is focused on local news and arts. Its 2018 circulation figure was 47,000.



The Washington City Paper was started in 1981 by Russ Smith and Alan Hirsch, the owners of the Baltimore City Paper . For its first year it was called 1981. The name was changed to City Paper in January 1982 and in December 1982 Smith and Hirsch sold 80% of it to Chicago Reader, Inc. [2] In 1988, Chicago Reader, Inc. acquired the remaining 20% interest. In July 2007 both the Washington City Paper and the Chicago Reader were sold to the Tampa-based Creative Loafing chain. In 2012, Creative Loafing Atlanta and the Washington City Paper were sold to SouthComm Communications. [3]

Amy Austin, the longtime general manager, was promoted to publisher in 2003. Michael Schaffer was named editor in April, 2010, two months after Erik Wemple resigned to run the new local startup TBD. [4]

On December 21, 2017, it was announced that D.C.-area venture capitalist and philanthropist Mark Ein would buy the City Paper. [5] He became the first D.C.-based owner in the paper's history. [6] Ein announced the creation of two groups to ensure the paper's long-term success: "Alumni Group" and "Friends of Washington City Paper." [7]

Defamation Lawsuit

In 2011, Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, filed a lawsuit against the City Paper for a cover story that portrayed him in a negative light. [8] [9] He and the Simon Wiesenthal Center claimed that the story used anti-Semitic tropes. [10] Prominent sports journalists, Jewish groups [11] , and Jewish writers published sharp criticism of Snyder and the Simon Wiesenthal Center's claims of anti-Semitism, referring in various opinion pieces and public statements to their statements as, “breathtakingly dumb allegation” [12] , “almost unbearably stupid” [13] , and “so self-evidently lacking in merit”. [14]

The Washington City paper issued its own response in a published editorial, saying, "But we at City Paper take accusations of anti-Semitism seriously—in part because many of us are Jewish, including staffers who edited the story and designed the cover. So let us know, Mr. Snyder, when you want to fight the real anti-Semites." [15]

In response, hundreds of loyal readers donated over $30,000 to a legal defense fund. [16]


Regular City Paper features include:

Also published is one syndicated feature:

Notable former staffers

An empty Washington City Paper dispenser at Huntington metro station Washington City Paper dispenser.jpg
An empty Washington City Paper dispenser at Huntington metro station

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