From an internal memo sent by the Washington Post’s Phil Bennett, obtained by FishbowlDC:
The section we’ve launched today opens a great new creative space in Washington, to our readers, for The Post’s best talent. You could see this morning the promise of its simplicity. Style & Arts isn’t by itself meant to represent a big idea, but to present a big, open place for original ideas, characters and stories to develop and live.
That character of openness and possibility — similar in its way to the blank starting points in Screens, Stages, Studio (even Conversations) — should make it a place where your best work comes into focus, as a home for innovation and new stuff (including the ten-column photograph!). This will become more true as we improve the section by burning off some residual clutter and introducing some new things in the weeks ahead.
As you can see today, the section brings greater coherence and a more striking identity to the whole Sunday Post, especially to our cultural coverage. As a showcase for critical thinking, creative writing and original voices, it presents exciting potential for a long second life on the web. We need to make that happen.
Changing a section of The Post can seem like recasting a monument — one of those marble babies that puts us under the “essential spell of democracy” that Phil Kennicott so brilliantly described today. Tough to mess with those. Many people had a hand in this project. But we wouldn’t be looking at Style & Arts today if were not for Deb Heard, nor would we be seeing that beneath its classy and deceptively modest design is a fierce commitment to make something bold and deep that changes how we reveal the world and how readers understand it. Hats off.