As many of you know, there have been ongoing discussions since Charlie Mitchell’s departure last month about how best to structure the editing/management staff as we look forward to a new Congress — while facing an increasingly competitive marketplace. I wanted to briefly share with you some decisions that have been reached so far.
**Effective February 1, I will assume the title of editor in chief of CongressDaily, and Keith White will be taking over the title of editor. I should note that this particular change has been in the works for several months. It reflects the fact that Keith — over the past two to three years — has taken on the primary responsibility of overseeing day-to-day operations at CongressDaily, while my job has been increasingly focused on longer-term editorial, business and administrative issues at CongressDaily, as well as fulfilling my current role as editor in chief of Technology Daily.
**The above move leaves open Keith’s current title as executive editor, and Dave Morris will assume that title — as well as some changed responsibilities — in the coming weeks. As a major part of his new duties, Dave will be taking over the day-to-day supervision of the reporters in the “political unit” who were overseen by Charlie during the past several years. In addition, Dave will take on day-to-day supervisory responsibility with regard to the CongressDaily Web site. The National Journal Group Web site is about to undergo an upgrading affecting CongressDaily and all other NJG publications, and that will be discussed in detail at this coming Friday morning’s staff meeting. We will also be hiring another staffer in the coming weeks who will be devoted to Web production, thereby enhancing our capabilities with regard to the CongressDaily Web site.
As the veterans on staff are aware, Dave arrived at CongressDaily in mid-2004 as AM managing editor (not counting a stint as a freelancer in early 2003) after a journalistic career that has included the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, and ABC News. During the past two and a half years, Dave has been responsible for numerous initiatives at the AM edition — and the result has been both more and better content and increased operating efficiency. Working closely with the other CongressDaily editors, I look forward to Dave’s applying that sense of innovation to the Web — a platform which, as all of you well know, is taking on vastly increased importance in all sectors of journalism.
**With Dave being elevated to the executive editor’s slot, Jason Dick will be promoted to AM managing editor. In his current role as deputy managing editor, Jason — whose previous life with National Journal Group includes a stint as an editor at Greenwire in the late 1990s — has been Dave’s second in command for the past two and a half years. He has performed in an outstanding manner, where — in addition to his role of making sure that the AM is “put to bed” every night — he has become increasingly involved in developing content and overseeing the reporting staff. Consequently, many of you already have had the chance to get to know Jason — and to observe first-hand why his promotion is so well-deserved. In the coming weeks, in conjunction with Jason, we will be searching for someone to assume his current duties as deputy managing editor.
Let me also note that Senior Editor Rick Sia and PM Managing Editor Jack Deutsch will be taking on additional responsibilities as part of this restructuring. Rick — who, over the past year, has developed a number of outstanding packages for the Web site featuring in-depth CongressDaily reporting and other content — will work closely with Dave on future such packages. In addition, I’ve asked Rick — who will continue to oversee our defense and homeland security reporting — to play an expanded role in identifying enterprise stories that can be pursued by all members of the reporting staff. A number of you have expressed the desire to do more in-depth reporting, and I firmly believe the publication would benefit from this. And there is no better person than Rick, with his extensive background in investigative reporting, to play a key role in this effort. Meanwhile, Jack, in addition to continuing to oversee the PM edition, will play an expanded role in late afternoons each day — as he works with Jason to help to frame coverage for both the next day’s AM and PM editions. Jack brings to the table many years as both a reporter and editor focused on Capitol Hill, and we look forward to taking increased advantage of that experience.
In closing, let me apologize for having to pass along the above information via e-mail rather than in person. But, as you know, getting everyone together when Congress is in session is not an easy task, and I wanted to bring you up to speed as soon as possible.
As noted above, we will be having a meeting Friday morning at our satellite offices at Fairchild to discuss the new Web site, and I’d be happy to talk further at that time about our new plan of organization. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to give Keith White or me a call if you have any questions. And please join me in congratulating Keith, Dave and Jason on their new titles.
Some context: White is a former reporter for Gannett News Service. Morris was in charge of exit polling at AP and was with Bloomberg. Dick worked at Greenwire before joining CongressDaily several years ago.