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MEMO FROM BOB MONG

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The newsroom she is a-changin’. Again. Here’s how the paper’s editor explained it to staffers:

TO: One and All

FROM: Bob Mong and George Rodrigue

DATE: January 10, 2007

RE: Newsroom Leadership Structure

A couple of months ago we spoke to you about organizational changes we would make to position us best for the future.

All of us want to be part of an agile, adaptable news organization that can serve our core newspaper readers and our rapidly growing Web audience. At the same time, we want to preserve our strengths as one of the nation’s finest newspapers.

You know that our competitive edge comes from providing our audiences unique content, most of it local, that readers and viewers can’t find elsewhere.

For the newspaper, this important content especially appeals to our core readers who make up nearly 90% of our home delivery subscribers, as well as a substantial number of our single copy readers. In the last year, we have asked a few thousand of these core readers about what they want from us, and it is clear they expect The News to provide them with an informed and ambitious news report.

These core audiences are large in number, interested in news and information, and active. They are voters, well educated, wealthier than the general population and quite diverse.

To serve these discerning readers best, we must excel in the areas they value most. As you know from our previous conversations, that means:

· A first-rate A section, with the best available staff stories about state and local issues along with smartly edited wire stories about the wider world;
· High quality local news in our Metro section, and great investigative and enterprise reporting throughout the paper.
· Continuing our acclaimed SportsDay franchise at national-class levels and preserving an outstanding Business section;
· Providing compelling and useful lifestyles, arts and entertainment coverage, including healthy living, food and dining, home and garden and travel;
· Delivering both timely content and useful context and superior analysis that help our readers negotiate an increasingly complex world;
· Maintaining our primary status as the region’s most trustworthy news source.

We can do all of this. But it will require both tighter focus on great local journalism and a quick, responsive management team.

With that in mind, we are today announcing the following senior management changes:

* Mark Edgar becomes deputy managing editor for news. He will oversee the foreign, national, state and metro staffs. This structure aligns our major hard news areas under one team. That will smooth internal communication, foster collaboration, bring decision-making authority closer to the front lines, and encourage a “story-comes-first” mentality that has always worked well for us. This structure should make it second nature for us to bring all our guns to bear on every major story;

* Leona Allen becomes deputy managing editor for Metro. This promotion recognizes her outstanding work in expanding our zoning efforts during the last three years, and as deputy chief of Metro. She will now run all of metro with the same hard-charging, decisive and meticulous style she’s brought to our suburban reporting;

Mark and Leona will function as a team, and we have asked them to craft a structure that fully integrates newsgathering across their departments. They will report to George. Mark will be team leader.

In other senior news management changes:

· Bob Yates becomes deputy managing editor, with responsibility for SportsDay, for paper-wide recruiting efforts, and for strategic oversight of our Business section.
· Last spring, we launched a national search for an assistant managing editor for Business News. The voluntary severance interrupted that process, and we are resuming the search now. In the meantime, Dennis Fulton becomes Business Editor in recognition of his outstanding service as interim head of the department.
· Bob Yates and Dennis Fulton will function as a team with Bob being the team leader. Bob will report to George on sports matters and along with Dennis on business matters.
· Keith Campbell, assistant managing editor for the news and copy desks, as well as our graphics desk, will become deputy sports editor for colleges. Keith wanted originating desk experience, and this provides that opportunity. Keith will continue to lead our Technology Task Force. Denise Beeber becomes interim assistant managing editor of the news, copy desks, and newsroom technology group.
· Leslie White, a former national Photography Editor of the Year, becomes our Director of Photography, in recognition of her extraordinary performance as interim chief of the department. Leslie’s proven skills as a photographer, an editor, a manager and a Web designer and producer make her the ideal candidate to carry this world-beating department into a new era.
· Senior deputy managing editor Walt Stallings — who currently oversees news administration and the photo department — will add Denise and Rob Schneider to his team. With Walt, Denise, Rob and Leslie working together, all visual journalism and presentation at the paper will rest with them. Walt will be the team leader, and he will report to George. They, along with Mark Edgar, will take the lead in designing better-looking, more easily navigated news sections;
· Lisa Kresl becomes a deputy managing editor responsible for all lifestyles, arts and entertainment content. She also becomes the news management group’s lead editor on questions of readership, research and new product development;
· Maud Beelman becomes AME projects. In that capacity she will continue to direct our outstanding projects staff, and will be the news management group’s lead editor on all investigative efforts on all staffs. Maud also will be the point person for legal matters involving our journalism, and for training issues across all departments;
· Tom Huang becomes AME Sunday and enterprise. As always, he’ll be responsible for putting the best we have to offer on our Sunday fronts. He’ll also serve as the news management group’s lead editor on all narrative writing and narrative training efforts. Maud and Tom will report to George as a team
· Finally, as you are aware, we are conducting a nationwide search for the strongest possible candidate to become our lead editor for digital news and information. That person will complete the news management group and will report to George.

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