The Huffington Post Reorganization Begins

New hires, changes for the Washington bureau and more under EIC Lydia Polgreen

A few months into Lydia Polgreen’s tenure as editor in chief of the Huffington Post, a position she was named to in Dec. 2016 and started in January of this year, Polgreen began discussing plans for a newsroom update, telling Recode’s Peter Kafka during a podcast interview earlier this month that she was “in the process of thinking through a fairly significant reorganization of the editorial staff.”

We’re now getting more details about what that will look like, thanks to a staff memo from Polgreen announcing plans for the reorg, shared by Politico’s Morning Media newsletter. It will include a number of new positions, and “a 5-person team of leaders” who “will drive this transformation with [Polgreen],” according to the memo.

The positions that have already been posted include an executive editor to oversee daily and investigative coverage, who will act as “deputy to the editor in chief and be trusted with high level decision making and coverage decisions in her absence,” a features director, programming director, director of editorial operations and politics director.

It is that last position, based out of Washington and reporting to the New York-based executive editor, which may be the most controversial, according to Joe Pompeo, who describes the bureau as “highly autonomous and, at times, resistant to editing oversight out of New York.” He continues, “If the politics director ends up being an external hire given authority over longtime top D.C. editors Sam Stein and Ryan Grim, keep your eyes peeled for a possible power struggle.”

In her memo, Polgreen also called for “the need to produce more original, idea-driven and timely journalism, every day. We need to make sure we are getting that journalism to the right audience, at the right time and on the right platform.” It’s a statement that falls in line with what she had outlined to Kafka about Huffington Post’s content plans, which included a focus on original reporting as well as a “more radical approach to getting out into communities and listening to people.” It is a more expansive audience that Polgreen plans to target, providing space for audiences representing ideological, regional and economic diversity.

And there is also the requisite call to “expand our visual storytelling and enhance the visual appeal of our journalism.” To help with that is another newly posted position: a head of newsroom video, reporting to the editor in chief.