Thanks very much for the invitation to speak this morning. Well, it’s 8:30am, and many of you probably see a Power Point presentation loaded up here, and are now fully expecting to spend the next hour sound asleep. I assure you, however, that the presentation is almost completely visual. I won’t be reading to you the same text on slides you can already see. I won’t be trying to explain complicated pie charts to you. Because, the truth is, Power Point isn’t really being used by most people as it was originally conceived. One of the reasons I’m here today is because I think – for the most part -- you can say the same thing about how newspapers have used the web. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of innovative news sites out there, large and small. But in far too many cases, newspapers are still using their sites for the basic task of republishing the print edition. While that will always be a core part of all newspaper sites, the opportunity the web provides is immense. Plenty of time and energy has been spent on the absolutely essential question about the future economic model of print newsrooms, and I’d be glad to take any questions on that topic later, but what I’d like to focus on today is the opportunity in front of us. A few other caveats before I start: Washingtonpost.com has a large Web staff, so not every site can do all of the things I will discuss. But, taken individually, very few of concepts within take tremendous resources. What we’re able to do is due largely to the buy-in we have from the senior management of the company and the newspaper.
City Guide to Go screen shot
City Guide to Go screen shot
Newsroom Structure at The Post
Online Journalism Symposium / March 30, 2007
The Washington Post /
• The print and web newsrooms remain
separate, both organizationally and physically.
– The CEO of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive
(WPNI), Caroline Little, reports to Don Graham, as
does Bo Jones, the publisher of The Washington
– Washingtonpost.com’s newsroom is in Arlington,
Va.; the print newsroom is in downtown D.C.
A History of Cross-Platform
Communication at The Post
• 1995: Absolutely none
• 1996: Slightly more than none
• 1997: “What the hell is Digital Ink?”
• 1999: “You lost how much money last year?”
• 2000: “See, the web was just a fad.”
• 2001: 9/11 starts to change things
• 2003: Continuous news desk formed
• 2007: CND partially disbanded; web editor model
• Web site has developed its own culture and
DNA, and is freer to try new things because of
• The responsibility of building up our Web
audience and revenue base lies with folks with
long careers in Web journalism.
• The responsibility for addressing print
circulation and revenue issues lies with folks
with long careers in print journalism.
• Communication between the newsrooms is
complicated by being in different buildings.
• Our independence sometimes leads to
conflicting priorities and tension, i.e. comments
on articles, home page play, etc.
• Print newsroom staffers don’t always feel like
they have a dog in the hunt, even though we’re
all on the same team.