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But he also made clear the key to reaching profitability was aggressively aligning exclusive content to the needs of The Times’ audience and changing the mentality of the company to seamless, digital-first publishing.

Mr. Beasley’s appointment was cheered by some of The Washington Times’ fans in the marketplace, including Jim Dinegar, the longtime chairman of the Washington, D.C., Board of Trade.

“The team at The Washington Times makes the real effort to become involved in the business community, ” Mr. Dinegar said. “This region grows and adjustments must be made to accommodate that growth. The Washington Times is growing, too, and these changes signal how active this organization will be in adjusting to the new dynamics of their business and their readership.”

Former Times’ news executives said the current transition appears to have been part of long-planned preparation for Mr. Moon’s eventual passing, which has clearly focused in recent years on the goal of making the newspaper financially sustainable.

“The Times long ago established the credibility of its news product with enterprising reporting and thoughtful, influential opinion pages that set it apart from other publications. But it also has clearly understood and appreciated — at least since the time I worked there in 2008 — that a newspaper derives its ultimately credibility when it makes products that pay for themselves. And much of what they have done in recent years has been aimed at focusing the newspaper on reaching that sustainability,” said Jeff Birnbaum, who was the paper’s managing editor-digital in 2008 and 2009.

Said Wesley Pruden, who was the editor in chief of The Times for two decades and remains one of its most widely read political columnists: “The good news for The Times is that its audience has never left it and is rooting for it through these turbulent economic times for all newspapers. That loyalty combined with the experience of a newspaperman like Larry Beasley should give The Times a fighting chance to reach its long-sought goal of profitability over the next few years.”