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Katharine Weymouth

Katharine Weymouth

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After a newsroom uproar, The Washington Post has canceled plans to hold a high-dollar dinner at the publisher's home at which the company would have charged guests $25,000 and up for access to top officials in Washington.� first reported Thursday on the dinner, saying the newspaper had circulated a flier offering lobbyists and organization executives a chance to meet with Beltway insiders at the home of publisher Katharine Weymouth, for an "off-the-record dinner and discussion."�The flier called the discussion an "exclusive opportunity to participate in the health care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done." The "few" included Obama administration officials, congressional leaders and Post reporters and editors.

The fee was $25,000 per "sponsor," and $250,000 for an annual sponsorship.�But Post editorial executives apparently did not know about the dinner, and promptly canceled it.�"The flier circulated this morning came out of a business division for conferences and events, and the newsroom was unaware of such communication," Post spokesperson Kris Coratti told FOX News.

"It went out before it was properly vetted, and completely misrepresented what the company's vision for these dinners were, which were meant to be independent, policy-oriented events for newsmakers."�Coratti said the newsroom would "never participate" in such a dinner.�Post executives expressed frustration at the plans, according to an account by Post media reporter Howard Kurtz.�"I'm disappointed," Weymouth told Kurtz.

"This should never have happened."�She said that the newspaper would not do anything to "impugn the integrity of the newsroom."�Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli told Kurtz he was "appalled."�"It suggests that access to Washington Post journalists was available for purchase," he said.

"We do not offer access to the newsroom for money."�The newspaper's ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, called the nixed plan a "public relations disaster"�in an online column Thursday afternoon.�Newspaper executives told Kurtz the fliers appeared to be put out by overzealous marketing employees.�Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he didn't know whether anyone at the White House was invited to the dinner, but that he didn't think anybody accepted such an invitation.�The invitation "would likely exceed what the (legal) counsel would feel appropriate," Gibbs said.�Click here to read more in The Washington Post.�Click here to read the full story in�
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