- The Washington Examiner, a conservative Beltway publication, fired at least two reporters on Friday despite adding new hires.
- The firings are part of an effort to take the Examiner in a more conservative and Trump-friendly direction, according to sources.
- A handful of reporters have also left the Examiner for employment elsewhere in recent weeks.
- Clarity Media Group, which owns the Examiner, recently shuttered The Weekly Standard and terminated all staff.
WASHINGTON — The Washington Examiner fired at least two reporters on Friday, signaling a growing rightward shift at the conservative website and its companion magazine.
According to multiple current and former employees who spoke with INSIDER on the condition of anonymity, the Examiner parted ways with two of its non-partisan straight-news reporters, while keeping their commentary staff and announcing new hires in other roles.
The Examiner’s firings, which came in the same two-week span as rounds of layoffs hammered the media industry, were “in no way” due to financial strain, according to one former employee. They were meant to take the website in a more conservative and Trump-friendly direction, according to sources.
A current staffer lamented to INSIDER that the publication is unrecognizable from what it used to be, noting a more right-leaning tone.
In an email to staff Thursday evening, less than 24 hours before reporters were let go, Examiner Editorial Director Hugo Gordon wrote to announce several hires and pledged more in the future.
“Having an extra editor will mean more attention can be given to commissioning and to copy, and it may mean some reporters will be supervised by a different editor than now,” Gordon wrote. “These details will be worked out in coming weeks.”
“I will have more hires to announce shortly, as the Washington Examiner consolidates its position as the country’s biggest and most influential conservative news organization dedicated to federal politics,” Gordon concluded.
A spokesman for the Examiner told INSIDER in an email the departures “weren’t layoffs.”
“Layoffs are staff reductions. We’re increasing our staff,” the spokesperson said. “They were let go for other reasons and we don’t discuss individual personnel decisions.”
Several employees have left the Examiner in recent weeks
The firings come after an exodus of editorial employees from the Examiner. Several reporters have also departed in recent weeks.
Business reporter Joe Williams left for Fox Business, Defense reporter Travis Tritten departed to be a senior reporter at Bloomberg Government, and White House correspondent Robert Donachie is now a spokesman for freshman Texas Rep. Chip Roy. On Friday, commentary writer Philip Wegmann announced he would be joining RealClearNews as a White House correspondent.
The high number of departures come a little more than a month after Clarity Media Group, the Examiner’s parent company, shuttered The Weekly Standard, a website and magazine in December. The Weekly Standard was one of the few conservative publications that remained critical of President Donald Trump.
“For more than twenty years The Weekly Standard has provided a valued and important perspective on political, literary and cultural issues of the day,” Clarity Media President and CEO Ryan McKibben said in the statement in December. “The magazine has been home to some of the industry’s most dedicated and talented staff and I thank them for their hard work and contributions, not just to the publication, but the field of journalism.”
As a result, the entire Weekly Standard staff were left out of a job, as their owners refused to entertain any potential buyers.
Clarity Media also has begun expanding the Examiner’s magazine into a national publication, bringing on former New York Post op-ed editor Seth Mandel as executive editor.