Merger of Post’s Print, Web Newsrooms Grows Nearer

Well, it looks like the inevitable is finally going to happen.  As someone who was at the Web site at the start in 1996, and watched it develop into a strong force over 10 years, I’m curious whether the site will be able to maintain its identity with the merger.  Don Graham always said the site would never have been able to grow creatively if it hadn’t been separate from the newspaper.

Now what?

Steve

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About journalismprof

Steve joined the journalism faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in August 2007 and has been working to incorporate multimedia across the curriculum. Since arriving at UMass, Steve has developed three courses modeled after his multimedia journalism course. The courses allow students to work in teams in a newsroom-like environment where they work on packages -- using video, audio and photos to tell stories. He is also working with students on developing amherstwire.com, a news Web site staffed completely by students. Steve has more than 25 years of experience as an editor and reporter for print and online publications, including 10 as an editor at washingtonpost.com. He also edits part-time for espn.com with the NFL and college football network.
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3 Responses to Merger of Post’s Print, Web Newsrooms Grows Nearer

  1. journalismprofs says:

    Hey Steve! I’ll bite down on this one for my first posting in this blog. What do you mean by “separate staffs” anyway? If you can please provide a little history for me, how separate was WaPo.com originally? If content in the form of stories and photos came from the paper, what was happening in the beginning on the .com side?

    Graham’s comment makes a great deal of sense when one considers the possibility of print editors trying to produce a decent website. (Now, there’s a frightening thought!) But I was recently annoyed to be told by a friend that the news staff of a smaller newspaper/.com actually had to be instructed by corporate owners to put their stories website before rolling the presses.

    I guess my point is that I’m trying to figure out the varying degrees of coordination between the two sides in the beginning and the resulting trajectory.

    Dennis

  2. journalismprofs says:

    Hey Dennis —

    Separate staffs means literally in two physically separate locations. Post.com was “across the river” in Arlington, Va. and the newspaper was in downtown D.C.

    Yes, the newspaper supplied much of the content for the Web site over the years, but how the content was played, how breaking news was handled was, for the most part, the sole domain of a separate editorial staff at the Web site.

    Over the years there was a near constant push and pull as to who controlled how news was played on the site. In the early years, the struggle was relatively minor but as it became clearer that the site played a future in the business of WaPo, control became a larger issue.

    And, yes, this is the short version….

    chrs,
    Steve

  3. Dennis Vandal says:

    Thanks for the reply. It’s interesting how the level of attempted control increased with the perceived importance of the site, but hardly surprising. Let’s do mint julips sometimes. All invited, of course!

    Dennis

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