As the year draws to a close, I wanted to take the time to thank you for your hard work. I wanted also to highlight some of our many accomplishments.
I am proud to say that we met almost every goal we set ourselves in the beginning of the year. We continued to invest in, and aggressively build, our digital business; we saw dramatic improvements in our circulation trends against the prior year as we made investments in our print edition, which remains the most popular consumer product in the Washington area; we continued to invest in new and strategic businesses, some of which are already producing material revenues; and we continued to cut costs and to do so in ways that will not hurt us long term. In the short term, we have met our Operating Budget for the year and we have continued to lay the building blocks for the future.
We set ourselves five priorities in the beginning of the year: 1) invest in and tend to the newspaper – which remains a popular and important platform for our readers and a vital source of revenue for us; 2) invest in and build our digital business, which draws more users than ever and is critical to our future; 3) develop new businesses that make strategic sense for us and for our customers; 4) manage and reduce costs to levels our revenues can consistently support; and 5) become more customer centric, by focusing on how we get our stories to people, how we package and promote them, how we can enlighten, engage, amuse and move readers.
I am happy to report that we accomplished each of these goals, and performed well across the Company.
It is our great journalism, and the readers that it draws, that drive our business. We had another year of outstanding journalism. Our extraordinary journalism is what sets The Washington Post apart in an increasingly crowded world of sound bites, rumors and opinion. We have focused our resources on the news that matter most to our readers, whether in our region or around the world. Our coverage of presidential campaign politics and the politics of governing, of the expanding use of unmanned drones, of the Arab Spring and the European fiscal crisis, of corrosive scandal in the D.C. Government and weak oversight of federal housing programs,of local crime and local intrigue, of local sports clubs’ travails and prep school sports successes, of new arts venues and celebrations of old culture -- all of it has been superb.
In addition to our straight journalism, under the leadership of Fred Hiatt, we have one of the best Editorial Departments in the world. Political and business leaders from around the world come to our pages to read our columnists and editorials. Our opinion section sets us apart from the competition in the strength of the talent we publish, the diversity of voices and topics. We shine light on human rights abuses here and abroad and on local and national politics and policies. Our writers are controversial and stirring. And today, in both print and digital, we are using the the opinions of our readers to create conversations on topics of import to our readers.