The first call came in at 9am on a Saturday and did not excite reporter Bob Woodward much. A group of men had been caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate building in downtown DC.
Woodward, who in 1972 had only been at The Washington Post for nine months, told his boss he would check it out. Also on deck that day was Carl Bernstein, a reporter who worked local politics. He started working the phones, too. Their work was to become the best-known newspaper investigation in history, bringing down a president and his gang, making the two reporters famous and cementing The Washington Post's reputation as one of the world's great newspapers.
The paper's editor, Ben Bradlee, and its publisher, Katherine Graham, became famous for backing their troops in a long and painstaking investigation of a White House known for its ruthless attacks on "enemies". (As they pursued one Watergate story, Nixon's attorney-general John Mitchell told Bernstein, "Katie Graham's gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that's published". Mitchell was eventually sentenced to prison, while Nixon was pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford.)
In the years that followed, the Post maintained a high-profile national coverage. In 1980 the paper was infamously forced to return a Pulitzer Prize won by reporter Janet Cooke for a story called Jimmy's World, a vivid description of an eight-year-old heroin addict's life that proved to be fiction.
Recently the Post has been struck by the same malaise that has wrought havoc for newspapers globally: a flight of readers and advertisers to online competitors.
Over five rounds of redundancies a newsroom of 900 was reduced to about 550.