Washington Post Just Discovers That Web Reporters And Paper Reporters Can Work Together?

from the uh,-seriously? dept

Nearly a year and a half ago, we were surprised to find out that the NY Times still kept its newspaper reporters and its online reporters separate -- and had finally agreed to merge the two operations. It only seemed newsworthy in the fact that it was so far behind the times. Apparently, though, when it comes to journalistic endeavors, they were on the cutting edge. Today comes the news that the Washington Post has finally decided to do the same thing and merge its online operations with its paper operations. What's even more surprising about this is that the Washington Post was actually one of the earliest newspapers to go online. They had a great online presence called "Newsbytes" that had a strong following, but disappeared literally overnight, breaking a ton of incoming links, when some higher ups at the paper wanted everything to go behind a registration wall. The Washington Post has continued to experiment with different online formats -- but the fact that they would just now think of combining news rooms suggests just how out of touch they are with how the news actually works these days. Update: Robert MacMillan, the author of the original piece (and a former Newsbytes and Washington Post reporter) stops by to let us know this is even less than it appears to be. They're still keeping the two divisions separate, but are simply blurring some of the boundaries between them -- though, the specific plans are still in the air.

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  1. identicon
    Robert MacMillan, 2 Jan 2007 @ 9:07pm

    Not really merging...

    Hi, I'm Robert MacMillan. I work for Reuters and wrote the article in question. First, thanks for linking to the piece and talking about it. Second, I want to clarify that this is not a merging of news operations. It's a more subtle shift. Selected editors at the paper staff will bear more responsibility for Web presentation in addition to print presentation. That may be a distinction in search of a difference, but to me "merger" implies in theory that one person would do the job of two people. In this case, as with the NYTimes, there still will be Web and print staffs. The editors I spoke to noted that the plan is not finalized, so anything can happen, but I reported what I could find out. Who knows? We'll probably hear more about this. And now, the full disclosure: I worked for Newsbytes after it was bought by the Post Co., and worked as an editor, reporter and eventually a columnist at washingtonpost.com until 2005. Being an online-only reporter was the best job a stuffy mainstream journalist could ever hope for. Talk about mind-expanding!

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