DESCRIPTION: Owner of The Washington Post, Everett (Wash.) Herald and Trenton (N.J.) Times newspapers; Newsweek and the new Inside Sports magazines; four TV stations and interests in the International Herald Tribune, a news service and newsprint operations (Amex). 979 PROFITS PER SHARE: $1.89. DIVIDENDS: $5.6 million (36 cents a share, since increased to 44 cents a share annually). FOUNDED: 1877. TOP EXECUTIVES: Katharine Graham, chairman; Mark Meagher, president.

Earnings of the Post Co., not counting extraordinary items, have increased at a compound annual rate of 25 percent since 1970 while revenues have climbed 14 percent a year.But recession and capital spending for expansion and modernization -- "developmental spending," in the words of chairman Graham -- are expected to contribute to reduced profit levels at the communications company in 1980. Big-ticket items on the spending side of the ledger this year will include an expected $8 million reduction of pre-tax earnings due to startup costs for Inside Sports, a new monthly now on newsstands, plus $5 million satellite printing plant in Springfield, due to open next fall. A new management team is seeking to build circulation and advertising revenues at the Trenton newspaper, which has been a weak performer. In broadcasting, Post-Newsweek Stations is inaugurating a test satellite distribution for syndicated programs and has opened a Los Angeles office to develop new TV programming.