Tuesday, 24 June 2008

The World According to Keller and SDJ

First of all, here's 'Stephen and Bill's memo, in full.

Newsroom Leadership
Since 2003, when the NYT took full ownership of the IHT we have made considerable progress in harmonizing both the business and news sides of our operations. This has helped us make significant improvements to the quality of the newspaper which, in turn, has been reflected by an equally significant improvement in our financial performance. Today we are announcing a new newsroom management structure, along with plans for a redesign of the IHT and a proposal to combine the IHT and NYT websites.
To begin with, it's worth reiterating that we have a clear and shared editorial mission:
The IHT should become the international print edition of the NYT, whether it is formally branded that way or not. As such the IHT should become an organic part of the NYT, closely integrated in the shared purpose of gathering and disseminating NYT-quality journalism -- which means, above all, reporting and analysis that is available nowhere else.
The IHT should and must continue to be tailored to its loyal audience in Europe and Asia with an international voice and a keen awareness of its markets.
The IHT's newsroom in Paris and HK will continue to be responsible for producing international editions of high quality, but they will also expand responsibilities to share in the larger journalistic enterprise -- collaborating with New York on stories that also run on all of the NYT print and digital platforms.
The new editorial management structure we are putting in place will allow us to fulfil this mission. It is as follows:
Editor, Global Edition : We are creating a new post with the major newsroom responsibility to ensure both that the paper's international mission is fulfilled and that the newsroom becomes an integral part of the NYT's 24 hour news operation.
In an initial phase, roughly until the end of 2008, Marty Gottlieb will move to Paris to assume this position. Marty has been playing a vital role in further cementing integration over the past few months. This recent experience with the IHT together with his immense experience at the NYT, where he last headed the newsroom on weekends as associate managing editor, make Marty a terrific choice to steer us through this interim period. His move assures we will have continuity during the period when we expect to make our integration plan a fully functioning reality.
When Marty returns to New York at the end of the year, he will continue to play a role in the integrated IHT/NYT operation. He will be replaced as editor, global editions, by an editor we will be naming shortly.The editor, global edition will report to the executive editor of the New York Times and the publisher of the International Herald Tribune.
Managing Editor: In keeping with our expanded mission, Alison Smale will also become European editor of the global newsroom, coordinating the work of all NYT and IHT reporters in the region from the IHT newsroom in Paris. This mission will allow Alison to devote a great bulk of her time to providing greater direction and editing to the talented group of IHT reporters as well as Times correspondents. This is a big step forward, a clear expression of the importance of the IHT to the global news report. Alison's appointment is critical to making sure we consistently produce quality enterprise journalism that will distinguish us on the Web, in the NYT and in its Global Edition, the IHT.
Deputy Managing Editor: The Asian newsroom has made huge strides under the leadership of Len Apcar winning more readers and more journalistic awards than ever before. In close cooperation with The Times's foreign desk, it has been the recent poster child for effective news integration through the superb coverage of the Myanmar crisis that has been running on all of our news platforms. Asia is almost certainly going to increase in importance to the IHT and the NYT in terms of news and circulation growth. We have ambitious plans to expand in the region, particularly in India. Len with his experience at the NYT and his very impressive track record in Asia will continue to lead the newsroom in the region and seek to build upon the strong foundations he has already established.
Newsroom Organization: Alan Flippen and Ursula Liu . To provide new focus to the management of the newsroom Alan Flippen, a senior editor at the NYT, will join the team for 6 months starting in July as Editor, Newsroom Organization. He will work very closely with Ursula Liu in analyzing the newsroom work flow, scheduling, resource management and budgeting.
As senior editor for planning and processes since 2006, Alan has led or worked on a variety of projects to help editors more efficiently handle their administrative and operational responsibilities, from reshaping copy flow and administrative integration of the print and digital newsrooms to the introduction of electronic payroll and freelance management systems. Alan started at The Times as a copy editor in 1996, and has worked in various roles on the business side and in the newsroom. Before joining The Times he was a reporter and editor at The Associated Press for ten years.
Ursula will manage newsroom resources, projects, HR issues, and links between departments as General Manager, Newsroom. She will work closely with the Editor on communications. At the IHT since 1998, Ursula has worked as news editor, layout chief and Page 1 editor. She has led a publishing system upgrade for news and re-organized support into specialized web, research and photo teams. Previously, she was a reporter at Asiaweek and a metro editor at the Baltimore Sun. Ursula is completing an MBA at HEC.
Features/Weekend: The responsibilities of Katherine Knorr, who has made such a valuable contribution to the IHT for many years, will expand to include the development and supervision of a refreshed cultural and lifestyle package in our weekend paper, especially through closer links with the NYT. Katherine retains the title of AME, but adds to it that of weekend editor in recognition of our ambitions for the Sat-Sun editions.
Editor, Digital News: Vicki Shannon has served the paper with great distinction and verve as technology editor (and indeed technology writer!) in recent years. In her new role as editor, digital news, she will be responsible for working with the NYT in forging closer digital integration and also for overseeing content that gets the right international perspective on the Web as the NYT Co pursues its global strategy.
Roger Cohen will play a more formal role as a fulcrum for journalistic ideas and we will also seek to increase his role for the paper on external public platforms. Roger will of course continue to write his Opinion page column for the IHT and the NYT.com
These are the finishing touches on a restructuring that has been underway for some months. As you know Tom Redburn is assuming his role as AME for Business, and in parallel with Alison he will be directing all European business coverage for both papers. Richard Berry has taken hold of the role of editor, continuous news here in Paris, working with Alan Cowell. Already they have brought their vast experience and journalistic skills to stories as varied as the world's reaction to Barack Obama getting the nomination to the outrage over Mugabe's invitation to a Rome food summit. As we have said before, we also hope to institute a Hong Kong outpost of the continuous news operation shortly.
These are all key positions in the new structure. As indeed are the positions of Richard Allen who, as night news editor, has for years been the anchor of our news report, and Peter Berlin our sports editor whose daily task it is to try to reconcile the competing sports interests of our growing and varied global audience.
With this team, we renew our commitment to building the most formidable international news organization in the world.
Newspaper Redesign
Earlier this year, after lengthy exploration, we concluded that we should not pursue a format change for the IHT but look to reinvent our offering for the 21st century reader in broadsheet. This important content development and redesign project will present exciting opportunities across the company to reinvigorate the IHT's offering to customers around the world.
To kick start the redesign process editors from the IHT and NYT in collaboration with Tom Bodkin, the assistant managing editor and art director of the NYT, met earlier this month to discuss how best to freshen the paper's look, help define its personality, highlight its strongest features and international voice, and emphasize its role as the global edition of the NYT. Tom and Kelly Doe, a talented designer at The Times, are now working to develop a prototype that will emphasize the journalistic strengths of the IHT and help readers navigate our rich offerings.
We will of course keep you updated on this project as it unfolds.
Web Integration
The global landscape for online news is highly competitive, making scale, speed and resources essential to success. Therefore we have determined that the best future online for the IHT and the NYT globally is through a joint international presence.
We are proposing that this be achieved through a new co-branded international homepage and internationally focused section fronts for business, culture, sports, luxury and travel through the merger of the Web sites and operations of the IHT and NYT.
This "international edition" on NYTimes.com would carry both IHT and NYT branding and users could arrive at these pages directly either via the IHT.com URL or via NYTimes.com.
In this scenario, the vast digital expertise and resources of our New York operation would work in close collaboration with IHT and NYT editors around the world to provide more interactivity and faster news to the Web while maintaining the news judgement and international voice of the IHT. This would better serve our existing international readers and expose the IHT's journalism to millions more users around the world.
Such a co-branded approach would also ensure that the IHT has an online "home" that does not compete for advertising with NYTimes.com but instead leverages its greater audience reach and more sophisticated technology. We believe that together we can be a more competitive force in the global marketplace than IHT.com, for all its strengths, can be on its own.
We have now embarked on a process of consultation with the workers committee to review this project and the implications for the IHT business and its employees. We would hope to update you on progress within the next few weeks.
Bill and Stephen.

This is clearly powerful stuff: here's how one reader of Think! reacted to this memo:

"Coherent after all.

Refreshing and overall reassuring to finally get clear insight into the state of things and the direction our paper is taking. Thanks for posting this Ian."

So all good then.


1 comment:

OPL (Very Small But Very Loyal Reader) said...

Coherent after all.

Refreshing and overall reassuring to finally get clear insight into the state of things and the direction our paper is taking. Thanks for posting this Ian.