Post’s Friday Meeting

Nothing terribly earth-shattering out of Friday’s meeting at the Washington Post, but here are some notes:

  • Much of the time was spent discussing the Post’s “Black Men” series.

  • They unveiled the “Source project,” which will be a thrice-weekly, 8 page section (produced by one staff group) that combines Food, Health and Home (maybe technology…?). Each of the three days will be dominated by a “heritage” theme – Food on Wednesday, for instance — that will take up 2/3 of the section’s front page plus pages 2 through 6 (Home and Health will be pages 7-8). The mix will be different on the other days. The launch target date is in September. The logic behind the Source project is that readership of the Post’s Home, Health and Food sections is low and there’s not much cross readership of the sections. Also, women aren’t reading the Monday – Saturday papers as much.

  • In one of the more interesting moments, Metro reporter Hamil Harris asked Len Downie if, in light of all the things the paper is trying to do for readers, Downie might think about doing some things for the staff, since they’re upset over losing some great friends and colleagues. Downie, beyond saying that he’d think about it, that management cared deeply about the staff, that even in good times it’s a tough job (and these aren’t good times), that we’ll be smaller but better! and blah, blah, blah…he also said that staff frustration was one reason the Post opened its new gym in the building.

    Yes, yes: Bench press your way to contentment.

    More interesting was when Harris — no teeny weenie — reacted quizzically to Downie’s gym mention. Downie saw the look and asked, “What, you don’t know about the gym?” This caused many in the crowd to hiss, thinking Downie’s comments a subtle and inappropriate jab at Hamill.