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Wash Times to End Sunday Edition

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The Washington Times, the conservative and often antigay newspaper in the nation's capital, will cease Sunday publication after January 3.

The Times, which does not have a Saturday edition, will make its Monday-through-Friday issues "more focused," according to a company press release circulated Monday, and will expand its website. It will also emphasize controlled distribution over newsstand sales and subscriptions. The newsstand price of the weekday edition will double, from 50 cents to $1, but the paper will be available free in certain areas, such as federal government office buildings. The announcement comes a few weeks after the news that the Times would cut 40% of its staff and deemphasize local news in favor of national coverage.

The Times was founded in 1982 by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church as a conservative alternative to D.C.'s other daily, The Washington Post. A recent Post article observed that the Times' cutbacks reflect both the difficult economic environment for print media and financial difficulties for the church, which is curtailing its subsidy of the newspaper. The Times, however, has always seemed more interested in ideological influence than profits, the Post reported.

This ideology has not been gay-friendly. Editorial practices have included putting the term gay marriage in quotes and otherwise using homosexual rather than gay. Under John Solomon, a former Post reporter who became top editor of the Times in 2009, the paper largely abandoned those practices, but Solomon left the Times in November.

Recently, the Times has carried several articles attacking Kevin Jennings, the gay man named by President Obama to head the Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. The paper's editorials have accused Jennings of covering up underage sex by a student he counseled years ago (in reality, the student, who was in a relationship with an older man and came to Jennings to discuss the matter, was of age at the time) and attempted to falsely link Jennings to the North American Man/Boy Love Association.

In a further indication of the paper's conservatism, Times president John Slevin told the Post earlier this month that his paper will focus its cultural coverage on "faith, freedom, and family," emphasizing the importance of religion to the paper's "faith-based readership."

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