Dec 22, 2017

Meet the Washington City Paper’s new owner

Mike Allen, author of AM

Mark Ein and his wife, Sally Stiebel, attend the 2015 U.S. Open in Flushing, Queens. PhotoL Jean Catuffe / GC Images

Mark Ein (pronounced "eyen") — a Washington-area investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist who controls the Kastle Systems building-security company and founded the Washington Kastles tennis team — is buying the floundering Washington City Paper, a 36-year-old alt-weekly.

Why it matters: Ein told me in a phone interview: "I truly believe journalism is saving the world."

Ein said the deal was speeded up after the current owner, SouthComm, told employees Monday that their salaries would be cut 40% starting Jan. 1.

  • He said the City Paper loses less than $1 million a year. He said he wants it to break even or better so it's sustainable, but added: "This doesn't fall into the profit part of my life."
  • He said he didn't pay "a huge amount of money," but assumed the liability and burn rate.
  • Ein plans to keep the print edition, which is important to the major arts organizations that are key advertisers.
  • Ein said he likes the arts and entertainment, food and local politics coverage, and would like to see the addition of local sports, and perhaps coverage of life outside the District, in the near-in suburbs. (He lived in D.C. much of his life, but now is in McLean.)
  • Ein formed a Washington City Paper Journalist Alumni Group to help re-energize the paper. Members include CNN anchor Jake Tapper, author Ta-Nehisi Coates and Pulitzer-winning journalist Kate Boo. Recode executive editor Kara Swisher was a City Paper editor.

Go deeper

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse even as curfews set in Washington, D.C., and New York City. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) slammed the New York Police Department late Tuesday following reports of police kettling in protesters on Manhattan Bridge.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.