Changes Afoot At Washington Times

We chatted with Washington Times Editor in Chief John Solomon this week to discuss some plans at the paper:

From Solomon:

STUDIO:

“We have a new TV-radio studio that we went live with last week. Networks like it because you can take advantage of an opportunity in much shorter time. … We expect to make significant use of studios not only for live shots … Starting in the spring spring, we’ll start creating original video and television content out of newsroom.”

WEB REDESIGN:

“Any rumors of a website redesign are absolutely true. We’re doing a significant redesign of our website. It needed to be substantially updated. We’ve really fallen behind the times here. We are in the process of designing a Web 3.0 generation website that we hope will leapfrog where the current news industry is, ideally, and create a reader news experience that has not been imitated in the industry.”

“We’ve hired the biggest name in the design profession: Roger Black. His work includes the New York Times, Bloomberg and Houston Chronicle. He has created a design that we’ve very excited about. … The goal is to go live in mid-May.”

Loads more after the jump…


“I’ve long believed that the era of newspapers determining what is fit to read, as the New York Times might say, is over and the key to web design going forward is allowing the reader to take control of their news experience.”

“The digital era allows us to take our readers along with us on the experience with news. Our design achieves that with the creation of inline video service to “news cubes” that allows people to flip in one direction and get different kinds of contact and flip another direction and get video, databases, interactives or ask a question of a field of experts.”

“I’ve long believed that news sites need to break themselves entirely from the vertical construction that the newspaper industry has relied on for years. … We’re doing a horizontalization of the news: If there’s a topic, a person, a location, or event, calendar event or news event that you’re interested in, you can horizontally slice the database of our news and find things. … It will also allow you to track whatever person or topic you want on a daily basis just by coming back to the theme page. … We’ll create 15-20,000 RSS feeds on narrow-casted themes. This will meet people’s specific news interests.”

“We’ll also create online communities, an area where people can socially network around the news. So people interested in unique topics or subjects will have this online community where they can share news and comment to each other. … We’ll have a ‘blogger in chief’ for each community. … They will most likely not be a Times staffer. .. We hope to launch 25-30 communities this summer.”

PRINT REDESIGN
:

“We’re in the very early formative stages of taking a look at how we can better organize the print edition in connection with all of these strategic opportunies in front of us. It’ll likely involce some sort of face lift, design-wise, in the paper. Not the look and feel and bells and whistles, but the organization of the paper.”

“We’ll do things to make the paper more web like, synthesize the information the way the Web does…creating a synergy ebtween the print edition and the Web.”

“By summer time, we’ll have a new look and feel to the newspaper. It’s a work in progress.”

“I think the chronic stream of investigative and enterprise stories that you’ve seen in the paper in the last eight weeks will become a focus of our redesign. … [Referring to both web and print edition] If we succeed at what we do I hope people like you and our readers will say, ‘Wow, this is unlike anything I’ve seen before.'”