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Rapp’s Departure: The Announcement

From Bob Merry, CQ’s president and editor-in-chief:

    MEMORANDUM / October 1, 2006

    To: All CQ Inc. Employees
    From: RWM
    Re: David Rapp

    It is with deep emotion but also full understanding that I announce that David Rapp has decided to leave CQ after more than 21 years with the company. Dave told me some time ago that he was planning to pursue an entrepreneurial publishing venture that had been his dream for many years. I could have sought to dissuade him but I didn’t because I had known about this dream for some time, and I knew that this was something his heart was directing him to do. He and I have been collaborating for some time on how we could make this transition work for Dave while protecting CQ’s interests as well.

    I am not in position to describe Dave’s venture because it is at a delicate entrepreneurial stage right now. But I am pleased that he will remain with us through the remainder of the year, which gives us plenty of time to effectuate a smooth newsroom transition.

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    Dave arrived at CQ from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette back in 1985 to become the Weekly’s agricultural reporter. That’s what he was doing when I arrived two years later, and I quickly spotted him as among the most promising talents in the newsroom. I moved him over to the appropriations beat, one of the most important at the time. Later I promoted him to news editor. From there he moved to assistant managing editor, to new media editor, to executive editor and to editor. In every one of these jobs, and to his role as a CQ director, Dave brought not only a high degree of competence and professional zeal, but a rare talent for seeing beyond the immediate horizon and conjuring new initiatives that kept us on the cutting edge of journalism. I firmly believe that if any objective historian of CQ’s past were to name the half dozen or so most important players in our history, Dave would be among them. When he had the farm beat, he didn’t just cover it but actually wrote a book about agriculture. Later he created the New Media Department out of a previous patchwork of pre-web operations. He presided over two CQW redesigns. He oversaw the brilliant expansion and redesign of CQT. He pioneered the one of the first major newsroom integration efforts of print and online operations. He contributed to the emergence of two start-up verticals (Homeland Security and Budget Tracker) and in fact was the guiding force behind the Budget Tracker initiative. And, through all of that, he personified CQ’s ongoing commitment to the highest standards and values of journalism seen anywhere in America.

    We will have time between now and year’s end to determine how we will more formally and perhaps more raucously give Dave a send-off into the wilds of entrepreneurial journalism. But, in the meantime, it’s occasion to take note of how much all of us will miss Dave’s steady hand on the editorial tiller and his enveloping newsroom and corporate presence — and to note also how much we all wish him the greatest of success and happiness in his exciting new pursuits.

    I plan to initiate a process of selection for CQ editor that will include consideration of any inside candidates who wish to step forward as well as some potential outside candidates. I will not conduct anything approaching a so-called national search, as this is a highly specialized editorial executive position, and I believe the small number of truly qualified candidates can be identified through a more informal process. I hope to have a successor to Dave identified by the time of his departure.

    For people in the Pubs News Division, let me add that I am aware that some questions have been raised in recent weeks about the balance between our editorial missions and the resources needed to accomplish those missions. I am asking Dave, in his remaining time here, to spearhead an effort to both study the current situation and to help craft a solution. I also will be very much involved in this and in fact will have a greater presence on the fifth floor than I have had in the past. You can expect to hear about a series of meetings next Friday to discuss this as well as any questions posed in anyone’s mind about what comes next in the newsroom. I am mindful that, whenever an executive of such longstanding tenure and such high impact departs our enterprise, it naturally raises questions about the future. I want to ensure that we have plenty of communication with the staff as this process of transition unfolds.

    Regards, rwm

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