MediaFile

Big changes at The Washington Post

You could read the whole memo about changes at The Washington Post at Romenesko, or you could read the important parts more quickly here.

The bottom line, courtesy of the memo sent to employees on Thursday from Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli and his top deputies, Liz Spayd and Raju Narisetti: Get stories out more quickly. Don’t worry about how you do it — on paper, a Blackberry or whatever. Just get it out there. And don’t slack on the writing and editing, please.

Excerpts from the memo:

Today, we are beginning a reorganization to create new reporting groups, streamline editing desks and anticipate the impending integration of our print and digital news operations. …  [W]e want to simplify the handling of words, pages, images and new media, building on the prescient move to “two-touch” editing under Len and Phil. Decisions about space and play must happen faster, both in print and online, and in a way that pulls together our now-separate newsrooms. A single editor ultimately ought to be able to oversee all versions of a story, whether it appears in print, online or on a BlackBerry or iPhone. Space in the newspaper and editing firepower in general should be allocated based on a day’s news priorities, not a predetermined formula.

These changes will alter the way we do things, but they will not affect the commitment to journalistic depth, authority and excellence that has defined The Post. Just the reverse: We think these steps will help us to adapt more easily to the economic and technological challenges that face us, while preserving the best of our traditions and values. …

The Post also will:

    Group most reporters under a national editor and a local editor Start a “universal news desk” to edit copy, regardless of format. (It will handle online and print roles, which likely won’t make all the online people so happy as they worry about where their jobs will go.) Group other reporters into different teams to pursue stories in a more organized way than now. Rethink aspects of the paper’s design (Sounds like a big project, but it’s hazy for now.) “Meld” the digital newsroom (now in Arlington, Va.) with the print newsroom later this year.

The changes (which include a bunch of promotions and lateral moves of people whose names I know, but likely don’t matter to you) look like they accomplish two purposes:

How much are those front-page Times ads?

Don’t ask The New York Times how much its new front-page display ads cost. The paper won’t say. That didn’t stop the New York Post from asking ad buyers. Here’s the answer based on anonymous sources:

$75,000 on weekdays and $100,000 on Sundays.

Assuming that the Post counts Saturday as a weekday, and assuming no discounts or other special deals (and assuming this blog post is not written by a reporter who nearly failed at least one high school math class), this works out to $28.6 million a year: $23.4 million for 52 weeks of Monday through Saturday and $5.2 million for a year’s worth of Sundays.

Despite the TImes’s silence, the ad cost sounds about right. The Wall Street Journal charges $90,000 for its front-page ads, not counting special discounts. Other details sound similar too. Here’s the Post:

Brauchli’s unfinished News Corp business

Marcus Brauchli could have looked forward to a pleasant summer vacation before digging into his new job in September as The Washington Post’s new executive editor, but instead he will punch the clock like the rest of us.

In an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, the former Wall Street Journal managing editor said he plans to wrap up his consulting work with News Corp on a project in Asia. We don’t know the details, but it was part of an agreement tied to his resignation from the Journal after News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch let him know that his services at the paper would no longer be needed.

“It’s very interesting and productive,” was all Brauchli would say about it.

Bancroft: WSJ editorial integrity group a ‘fantasy’

Although Marcus Brauchli’s decision to resign as the top editor at The Wall Street Journal — announced on Tuesday — did not require the approval of the paper’s editorial integrity committee, they will step in when it’s time to hire the next one. 

The committee was designed to safeguard editorial independence by approving or vetoing the hiring choices in case its new owner, News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch, attempts to use his candidate to evade a solemn promise to keep the newspaper’s editorial dignity intact. It was one of the few safeguards left behind by its previous owners, the Bancroft family, as a condition for agreeing to the Murdoch’s takeover.

How effective will the committee actually be? We asked former Dow Jones board member Christopher Bancroft on Tuesday.