City Desk

Post‘s John Temple to Head “Digital Council,” Switches in Digital

The John Temple era at the Post has officially begun! In a memo to newsroom staff sent out this afternoon, newish (and soon-to-be-solo) managing editor Temple announced some shake-ups to the Post's digital efforts.

One of Temple's changes is the creation of a "digital council," a weekly meeting of digital honchos meant to keep the paper's different online departments working together. Temple's memo deploys his considerable corporate lingo skills, promising "a second group of front-line digital leaders" to be added to the council.

Other changes include some personnel switch-ups, including the divvying of former executive director of digital news Katharine Zaleski's responsibilities and the folding of Style's digital team and celebrity blog Celebritology into the rest of Style.

Read Temple's memo after the jump.

To the Staff:

The big news last week out of the Supreme Court illustrated how far we’ve come as an organization in our approach to digital journalism. Every department involved in covering the historic healthcare decision excelled, and millions of people turned to The Post for insight and understanding.

This high point is a good time to clarify our digital leadership structure and make clear how it is evolving to position us for even more success.

Emilio Garcia-Ruiz will remain the Newsroom’s point person on digital projects, working as our key liaison with other departments, such as IT, Advertising and Legal. But we’re asking him to shift his emphasis and convey the hunger we have to get things done to our digital development teams, in particular the terrific team of embedded developers who work in the Newsroom. He’ll be setting tight deadlines and keeping non-core issues from distracting us from crucial efforts. Emilio is a superb journalist as well as a strong team leader. You can expect to see him very engaged in the Newsroom, working with teams to improve our readers’ digital experience and make sure that more of us are aware of the dynamic work underway here. He will report to John Temple.

Cory Haik, too, will take on an enhanced role, bringing her hard-charging creativity to the most vital area of development in the Newsroom–mobile. Cory and Julia Beizer have accomplished much in this area already and understand the importance of how our audiences find and use our content on mobile platforms, from smart phones to tablets to apps. They’ll work closely, as they already do, with Sarah Sampsel, Joey Marburger, Yuri Victor and our design team, as well as Laura Evans and the research group. Cory will also be a key liaison with external partners. She will report to John.

Justin Bank has shown his steady leadership in search and will now take on an expanded role in growing audience and engagement, assuming some of the duties that were in Katharine Zaleski’s portfolio. He’ll be able to do that in part because Ian Saleh has done such a fine job on search and will play a bigger role in that area. Staff focused on social and engagement now will report to Justin. We’re actively recruiting the best talent in the industry to come here and strengthen that team. If you’re aware of potential candidates you think could help us, please let us know. Justin will report to John.

Finally, our readers have benefited from the imaginative approach to content brought by veteran journalist Dave Beard. He is a font of ideas and we’ve asked him to join Sandy Sugawara’s team on the universal news desk to bring an added spark to our daily report. Dave will focus on how to make the daily report more lively, energetic and engaging within the context of The Post. He’ll be looking for opportunities we can seize, and will work with Sandy and Eric Rich to develop them. Sandy will continue to oversee the Universal Desk, with her usual competence, good judgment and tireless work ethic. She'll continue to report to Liz.

To ensure that all of these efforts are coordinated and effective, we have formed a digital council, a small group of leaders from across the Newsroom to meet weekly and make sure that we’re pursuing common goals and sharing lessons across departments. John chairs the council, which includes David Griffin, Emilio, Sandy, Cory, Justin, Sarah and Andy Pergam. Also attending is Greg Franczyk, who leads the engineering team supporting the Newsroom. Others join the meetings on an ad hoc basis. Going forward, we’ll establish a second group of front-line digital leaders from each department to ensure they’re talking to each other, looped in to broader efforts and able to surface issues and concerns quickly.

We’ve also resolved some inconsistencies in our structure that should make decision-making more straightforward. The digital team in Style, as is the case elsewhere in the Newsroom, will be integrated into that department. Marie Elizabeth Oliver and her group will report to Frances Sellers and Lynn Medford. Jen Chaney, who writes the pop culture blog Celebritology, will join Style as well. We've seen exciting new developments with our blogs recently under the leadership of Melissa Bell. To make sure those efforts unfold quickly while remaining well coordinated, Melissa will now report to Emilio. She will continue to work closely with Justin's engagement team.

These important steps should help us to move more quickly and with purpose as we strive to build our digital audiences for The Washington Post. Please join us in congratulating Emilio, Cory, Justin and Dave in their new or enhanced roles.

Marcus John Liz

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