Washington Post to start doing polling work for outside clients

Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron tells his staff this morning that the paper’s polling operation will become an independent polling group of Washington Post Media so it can start doing work for outside clients and “grow a new business for the company.”

Baron’s memo:

Date: Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 9:55 AM
Subject: Polling News
To: [Washington Post newsroom]

I want to let you know that our polling operation, led by Jon Cohen, will become an independent polling group of Washington Post Media.poll This means that it will begin to do work for outside clients as well as continue to conduct The Washington Post poll. This will allow Jon and his group to grow a new business for the company while serving the newsroom and the advertising department.

Decisions about news polling will continue to be made by the newsroom. We have appointed a newsroom liaison to work with Jon and his team. News Editor Scott Vance will play that role, working especially closely with national and local editors.

Below you’ll find the text of a press release announcing this change.

I’d be happy to answer any questions.


The press release is after the jump.

Washington Post Media Launches Independent Polling Group “Capital Insight”

Provides High-Quality Quantitative and Qualitative Research for External Clients

WASHINGTON—January 8, 2013—Washington Post Media today announced the launch of “Capital Insight,” an independent polling operation that will offer polling and research services to external clients.

Capital Insight will design, implement and analyze high-impact survey research for philanthropic foundations, commercial enterprises and others wishing to better understand public opinion, carry out leadership surveys, track hot topics and do effectiveness testing. Capital Insight will offer clients a variety of products and services such as custom research, strategic polls and end-to-end consulting services on surveys, including data management, analysis and presentation.

Capital Insight will continue to conduct all The Washington Post’s polling, including polling conducted with ABC News as well as polling carried out in regular partnership with non-partisan, non-profit organizations. Capital Insight is independent from The Washington Post’s newsroom and advertising departments. A senior editor in The Washington Post’s newsroom will oversee polls commissioned by The Post.

Jon Cohen, who has been The Post’s polling director and polling editor since 2006, will be in charge of the group.

“When we moved the polling department out of The Post’s newsroom and into Research & Analytics two years ago, we expanded our focus on political and sociological topics to market research surveys and analyses of business opportunities. Now with the launch of Capital Insight, we’re able to offer our high-quality, independent services more broadly,” said Cohen, now general manager and polling director of Capital Insight. He added, “Since being the first subscriber to the Gallup poll in the 1930s and then creating an internal polling group in the 1970s, The Post has consistently presented high-quality polls to readers. The creation of Capital Insight allows us to maintain the longstanding integrity of Washington Post polls, while simultaneously creating new business opportunities.”

Steve Hills, President and General Manager of Washington Post Media said: “The Washington Post has a long, unwavering commitment to public opinion polling. Polls offer powerful insight, and Capital Insight provides top-notch, independent research that is hard to replicate. We believe external clients will want to utilize our first-rate polling team.”

For more information about Capital Insight, visit www.capinsight.com.