With Johnson Out, AP Details “Important Changes In News”

AP’s Kathleen Carroll sent out a staff-wide email today, obtained by FishbowlDC, in which she details “some important changes in News.”

Read the full memo after the jump…

Earlier FishbowlDC coverage of Sandy Johnson’s ouster as DC Bureau Chief at the Associated Press:

UPDATE: Johnson Out As AP DC Bureau Chief

Sandy Johnson Leaves AP

—–Original Message—–
From: Carroll, Kathleen
Sent: Friday, May 02, 2008 10:45 AM Eastern Standard Time
To: Carroll, Kathleen
Subject: Some important changes in News

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’d like to tell you about some important structural changes in the News department.

The first involves AP’s broadcast news operations. You may know that AP’s radio and television journalists have historically reported up into a separate broadcast division headed by Jim Williams. You also know that my friend Jim retired last month and AP began looking at how we might logically be structured going forward.

Today, the company is announcing several changes that essentially join the once-separate broadcast units with the appropriate AP department overall. You’ll hear more about that from Tom Brettingen, the chief revenue officer.

For us, it means that the news departments at the Broadcast News Center and AP Television News will report into the overall AP News department, effective immediately.

Kevin Roach, currently executive producer for Online Video, becomes acting head of all U.S.-based broadcast news operations. And Sandy MacIntyre, Director of News for APTN, will have the same role for all non-U.S. broadcast news operations. Both will report to me.

Now, the fact that broadcast and print colleagues were working for separate divisions may not have been noticeable to many of you. And rightly so.

AP text, photo, video and audio journalists already work together quite well in many ways. The new co-located newsrooms in Washington and London are excellent examples of that effective collaboration.

This structural adjustment will make it even easier for us to create more powerful journalism together, sharply focused on the needs of news consumers worldwide.

It’s likely that we’ll make additional adjustments as we dig into the details of how best to integrate. The successful newsroom projects in London and Washington give us a model to follow. We have two new showcase multi-format newsrooms because so many AP journalists worked on them together. So we’ll be seeking your help on this structural integration as well.

The other development I want to tell you about involves the AP’s Washington bureau. Sandy Johnson, who has led that bureau with great distinction and courage, is wrapping up her tenure there effective today.

Sandy has led AP’s political coverage for more than two decades, as political editor, assistant chief of bureau, deputy chief of bureau and, since 1998, as chief of AP’s largest bureau.

She has identified and nurtured many talented reporters and is deservedly respected as an editor with a fierce competitive thirst, a keen strategic mind and an amazing understanding of the American voting public.

In the presidential election of 2000, it was Sandy and a team of AP analysts who understood the voting patterns in Florida well enough to know that calling that state for George W. Bush was premature. She knew the vote could go the other way and she refused, despite enormous outside pressure, to call that race. As a result, AP stood alone and Sandy’s judgment was ultimately proved to be the right one.

More recently, she was an important voice for sustained collaboration in the design of Washington new integrated newsroom.

Those of you who know Sandy away from the job know her as a thoughtful and generous friend.

We have offered Sandy a new assignment in the AP and she is weighing that offer, though has not yet made a decision.

We will be posting the Washington COB job. In the meantime, online political editor Ron Fournier will serve as acting Washington bureau chief, effective immediately.

Thank you for your attention to this long, but important note.