Brauchli Wants Things Lean and Mean

WaPo is “reorganizing the structure” of their weekly feature sections. A memo from Executive Editor Marcus “Steamed” Brauchli to staff on Tuesday afternoon reports that they are “simplifying” and “streamlining.” Travel and Food are being “consolidated” into one staff but this will not mean fewer reviews. Books will now be split up — nonfiction writers will report to Outlook and fiction to Style. These changes apparently do not indicate “trimmed” coverage. Just maybe trimmed human beings. At the bottom of the memo they announce that the changes will affect a “small number” of newsroom jobs. “We don’t make these decisions lightly,” wrote brass.

See the memo…

To the Staff:

We are reorganizing the structure and staffing of several of our weekly
feature sections. These changes will simplify and streamline our
operations, allowing us to improve coverage in certain areas.

Travel and Food are being consolidated into a single staff that will report
to Joe Yonan, who already oversees both existing staffs. Food will continue
to produce its award-winning section and Travel will remain a key section
in our recently beefed-up Sunday features package. We will place new
emphasis on regional travel and weekend getaways — areas that are popular
with readers. We believe this will provide more useful and engaging content
for readers on Sunday, our most important paper of the week.

Our books staff, ably led for the past two and a half years by Rachel Shea,
will now report into the sections where their reviews run. Non-fiction
editor Steve Levingston will report to Outlook, which publishes non-fiction
reviews, and fiction editor Ron Charles, and the rest of Book World’s
assistant editors, will report to Style, which hosts most fiction coverage
and reviews. The assistant editors will support both fiction and
non-fiction reviews and coverage. This approach will allow tighter and
smarter integration of our books coverage with the host sections, in print
and online. We’re not trimming coverage; we will publish the same number of
reviews, in the same places where readers are accustomed to finding them.

While these changes are meant to enhance the quality, quantity and range of
content we produce in these groups, they will affect a small number of
newsroom jobs. We don’t make these decisions lightly; they are a necessary
part of our continuing effort to create a lean newsroom structure capable
of producing the high-quality journalism our readers expect from us. We
remain firmly committed to deep, smart and relevant coverage of travel,
food and books.

These changes will be phased in over the next few weeks.

Marcus          Liz             Raju                    Kevin

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