City Desk

Jim Brady Talks About Leaving Washingtonpost.com

Washingtonpost.com will soon be looking for a new executive editor, following today's announcement that Jim Brady will soon be leaving that post. Then again, it may not be looking to fill the slot. Over the next year–or perhaps even the next six months–the Washington Post's newsroom and the Arlington offices of washingtonpost.com will merge, and a stand-alone digital chief may not be part of the new power structure.

Says Brady on the question of whether his position will live: "I don't know the answer to that." As to why he's leaving, well, the merger is unquestionably a big part of it. Brady has been executive editor of washingtonpost.com for four years–a full Olympic cycle that Brady has spent on nearly equal footing with the big boss of the main newsroom. For most of Brady's tenure, that's been Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. Last year at this time, in fact, Brady was lording it all over the print guys, in a fight relating to the Post's coverage of national politics.

The newsroom had hired away washingtonpost.com's congressional blogger, Paul Kane, and was hoping that it could transfer Kane's slot to the newsroom as well–meaning that the print operation would essentially be taking a slot from dot-com. Brady said no dice–we'll be hiring our own congressional blogger.

In addition to turf battles of that sort, Brady has had the authority to ram important changes down the know-it-all throats of newsroom people. For instance, reporters at the Post once objected to allowing the posting of comments and to other initiatives now considered de rigueur for a newspaper's Web site.

"The battles that at times played out between the newspaper and the web site–how they play out is going to change," says Brady.

Indeed, and in a way that probably wouldn't have pleased Brady. Publisher Katharine Weymouth made it very clear when she hired Marcus Brauchli last summer: This fellow will control both the print and online operations.

"The job was going to change," says Brady, who had no great interest in moving into D.C. "I want to be on the digital side."

The dot-com chief also says he's needs a serious rebooting. "I have a track record," he says, of staying about four or five years at a job and then burning out. "I'm beat up, tired, burned out."

OK, but did Weymouth or anyone else hint that it was time for Brady to go? No way, he says: "My call."

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Comments

  1. #1

    So what is Jim Brady going to do now?

    Is anyone brave enough to say what many people are saying, and this has zero to do with Jim Brady: Newspaper web sites are terrible, through and through, from coast to coast, no matter the newspaper. They are not newspapers. They are cluttered. They are unorganized. They look and feel terrible. There are no ads, no inserts, no coupons, no easy, user-friendly guides or resources for many items, at the Post site, you can't find the Style section, breaking news is slow to post at many newspaper web sites, many sections just contain lists, with no pictures, they are generally non-user-friendly, there are not big ads, and, in general, they look and feel unfriendly, cold, non-user-friendly and non-newsworthy. That goes for 100 percent of newspaper web sites, nationwide. The whole, entire newspaper web thing is a failure--and look how it's destroyed the newspaper industry. It just does not work like a newspaper works, and until newspapers wake up and realize this basic truth, the industry, and web sites, will continue to fail. Journalism has only journalism to blame for its downfall. Newspapers are still, to this day, the best source of news and information and facts and resources, nationwide, coast to coast. That's the reality in journalism in 2008.

  2. #2

    Nice comment.

  3. #3

    The NY Times has an excellent website; the WaPo site is the worst I've seen. I read about a dozen papers online every day, & trying to navigate through the Post's website is a nightmare.
    It's good they kicked this guy to the curb. There's no excuse for such a poorly designed website.
    The Post's main problem is that it's a bad newspaper. All the income is coming from the Kaplan business. Most of the good writers at the Post left long ago; the "investigative journalists" now save everything for their books; the rest of the paper is just worthless.
    By the way, does anyone know anyone more idiotic than Ruth Marcus? or more craven than Fred Hiatt?

  4. #4

    Shame on you for being so ugly with your words, Al. The rest of the paper is worth way more than the time you put in picking a fake name.

  5. #5

    "Peter" - an ad hominem attack is the sign of a coward & someone with no legitimate argument. & I suppose "Peter Net" is your real name? OK... well, Alfonso Miguel Gonzales y Ybarra just so happens to be my "real" name, or at least the name on my birth certificate, so "shame on you" you naughty boy.

  6. #6

    thefrontpage’s comment, to the extent it could even be read, reads like spam.

  7. #7

    Joe,

    You're right about frontpage. He (or she) has an almost identical comment on a Jeff Jarvis post. This person obviously did not see the point that latimes.com has more in revenues than the entire LAT newsroom payroll.

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  9. #9

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