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The newspaper’s lawyers advised her not to publish the Pentagon Papers. Yet, she decided to publish them. The following year, in 1972, the Washington Post had another major success reporting on the Watergate scandal. Their stories proved that Nixon’s involvement. The point here is that Graham supported the reporters and editors through the long Watergate investigation. She allowed the Post to publish the stories even though government officials threatened her and her company. Then, in 1977, she showed her courageous leadership skill when dealing with the pressman’s strike in 1977. Originally, she wanted to avoid a strike, fearing that even a short shutdown would allow the Star to overtake the Post’s leadership position. Nonetheless, she took some steps to strengthen management’s position in the event of a strike. During this period, she gained a new nickname, “the iron lady”Third, she was very good at building social networks and recruiting capable journalists.Katharine was well known for having dinner parties at her home in Washington D.C. Sheinvited the most important people in the city. In doing so, she developed close relationships with American and world leaders. Many of the editors and reporters felt thatKatharine’s extensive ties to politicians and DC insiders were her most valuable editorial contribution. More importantly, she picked capable people and supported them. For instance, she went a long way with Ben Bradlee. Lastly, she showed her ability to run a newspaper company.A newspaper has a different organizational structure than most businesses. In order to retain the public’s trust, a newspaper must be perceived as an accurate and impartial purveyor of the news. At the same time, the paper must appeal to advertisers in order to remain profitable. To maintain credibility, a clear separation must exist between editorial content and businessconcerns. Despite the difficulties in maintaining the balance between making money and reporting fairly, she showed journalistic excellence and profitability can go hand in hand. But, she never interfered in the editorial part seriously. Her principle was “take off, mind in.” She never made an effort to influence or change coverage before the paper went to press. Reporters appreciated the fact that she never attempted to affect the career trajectory of Post journalists, leaving all staffing decisions to Brandlee. In sum, this case shows how expertise and power can be built up over time.It showed that Graham overcame the stereotypes affecting her and became the successful female leader spurred on by her guts and courage. This case also presents how she effectively made close relationship with diverse leaders, and how she influenced effectively her power by hiring outside people into the organization.
[CR] “Power” by Rosabeth Moss Kanter in Men and Women of the Corporation.