National Journal Announces Newsroom Revamp, 10 Layoffs

National Journal‘s newsroom operation is making big shifts. The news outlet will be divided into “two distinct teams” — one for members, another for digital. Outgoing Editor-in-Chief Ron Fournier will be the “star reporter” on the digital platform. His titles are Editorial Director and National Correspondent. Brownstein, who will also write for digital, is shifting into a new corporate-level role of Editorial Director for Strategic Partnerships for Atlantic Media. Amid these changes also come 10 editorial layoffs.

They won’t name names.

“First, however, some unwelcome news,” a memo released to the newsroom today states. “One component of the reorganization involves eliminating 10 positions in the newsroom. We understand this is deeply disappointing for all of National Journal’s 174 employees. We have notified the individuals affected and will be working with them in the days and weeks ahead to assist with their transition.”

Atlantic Spokeswoman Linda Douglass wouldn’t discuss the departing employees. She told FishbowlDC: “This is an effort to take NationalJournal.com national in addition to serving insiders in Washington to aim at a national audience of sophisticated readers who are interested in politics and policy.”

The memo states that Fournier, in his new role, will now be able to devote nearly all of his time to reporting, writing and tweeting! We certainly hope he lets loose with his tweeting.

See the immense memo from Bruce Gottlieb, President of National Journal Group. We’ve bolded the important parts so your brain doesn’t explode reading it…

By now, many of you will have heard that we are reorganizing National Journal’s newsroom for 2013. I’ll get into more detail in a moment. But let me say at the outset that we are making these changes because they will leave National Journal stronger and better positioned to serve our readers. And they will help make us an organization where every employee has a clear path to success. I look forward to discussing the details of this important transformation with each of you in the days and weeks ahead.

First, however, some unwelcome news. One component of the reorganization involves eliminating 10 positions in the newsroom. We understand this is deeply disappointing for all of National Journal’s 174 employees. We have notified the individuals affected and will be working with them in the days and weeks ahead to assist with their transition.

Please allow me to emphasize that all of our departing colleagues have been exemplary citizens and contributors to National Journal. This decision is in no way a comment on their abilities, which are first rate, or their dedication to our company, which is beyond question. They have our deepest respect and gratitude.

To help explain why we are making this difficult decision—and as background for our broader strategic realignment—let me give a quick sketch of where things stand today. This has been a year with many important successes, starting with the extraordinary work of the editorial team during the 2012 electoral cycle. In our magazine, on NationalJournal.com, in the Daily, and on Hotline, you produced insight and analysis that drove the political conversation. Our digital traffic has tripled in the past two years; our circulation has increased as well. And we have built, and are continuing to build, deep and lasting partnerships with first-tier media organizations such as CBS.

On the revenue side, just 15 months ago, we made the decision to become a Membership organization. Under the extraordinary leadership of Poppy MacDonald, in the first four months we had signed up 306 of Washington’s most prominent organizations as charter Members. And just this week we signed up our 800th. Our members represent the full range of Washington players on nearly every issue—from Allstate to Wal-Mart, AFL-CIO to AARP, Sierra Club to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And this is in addition to our ongoing subscription relationship with all Members and staff in both branches of Congress, the White House, and the senior leadership of agencies and departments across the executive branch.