“Adding Young Voices to the Mix of Newsroom Advisors”
– Steven A. Smith
The Gang of Eight didn’t hesitate to recommend significant changes in structure and cuts in the editing staff. Here is an excerpt from their report. —SAS

To address concerns that reporters are not getting enough time with editors, that copy gets jammed during the editing process, that there are not enough reporters available and that writers are duplicating work on stories, editors will work together on a universal assignments desk.

  • The new Local Department will encompass the former City, Business, Features, 7 (the entertainment section) and Voices (zoned sections) desks. The head of this desk will be a “strong” city editor—addressing another staff concern that the city editor has less power than in past years—who will oversee selection and assignment of stories for all of the sections, read as many stories as possible, and report to the managing editor.
  • Line editing and supervision of reporters will lie with seven non-SES (nonunion) assistant local editors: breaking, life, culture, watchdog, money and Washington hyperlocal and Idaho hyperlocal. To increase communication, these editors will sit in a central editors’ pod in the newsroom, with the exception of one editor in Idaho; the pod also will include representatives of all other departments.

This structure noticeably removes assistant managing editors across the board, placing greater authority in the hands of the local editor. The editor in chief and managing editor will continue their present duties.

Flexibility is key to this organization.

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