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Posts Tagged ‘Scott Montgomery’

Roll Call Takes NJ’s Dick

In other penis-related surname news, Jason Dick is moving to Roll Call.  Most recently the editor of National Journal Daily, Dick will join the publication’s senior leadership team as House Editor.  AT NJ,  he’s being replaced by Matthew Cooper.

In a memo announcing the hire, Roll Call Editor Scott Montgomery said, “Jason is the ideal editor to guide our coverage of House leadership, working closely with Senate Editor Emily Pierce to continue to sharpen Roll Call’s report on the people, politics and pressures of Capitol Hill.”

Jason began his journalism career with National Journal’s environmental news daily back in 1998. Since then, he has held various positions in the company, including assistant managing editor of CongressDaily and managing editor of CongressDaily’s AM edition.  Jason’s first day with Roll Call is June 27.

Despite Power Outage, CQ Roll Call Powers On

Let there be light!  And so there was at CNN’s Washington bureau as of one hour ago…but the blackout at CQ Roll Call rages on.  Thanks to Pepco, both newsgroups were without power since Tuesday afternoon.

So you might be wondering, how exactly does a newsroom function when their utility company doesn’t?  Luckily, we have the answer in the form of an internal memo from Roll Call Editor Scott Montgomery and Publisher Mark Walters.  The congratulatory message walks through the trials and tribulations their team overcame to put out Wednesday’s paper on time.

Although we think their figurative lights are out from time to time, we must applaud their heroic response to this literal blackout.  Novella Memo after the jump.

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CQ’s Bicknell to Roll Call

After more than a decade at CQ, John Bicknell will move to Roll Call as editor of Special Publications.  In a memo announcing the appointment, Scott Montgomery explained the role:

“John will take over the editorial pages of Roll Call, where his breadth of experience on policy news will help us freshen these forums for public debate and expand them in innovative ways online. In addition, John will be a vital contributor as the lead editor on producing the special sections that Roll Call publishes over the course of the year, as well as partnering with David Hawkings on our extremely successful CQ Roll Call Outlook magazines.”

While at CQ, Bicknell covered everything from defense and foreign policy to commerce and industry.  Most recently, he’s worked alongside David Meyers to complete the group’s latest edition of “Politics In America.”  Congrats to John!

New Voice for Roll Call’s HOH

Neda Semnani, currently the deputy editor  of Bill Track for CQ,  is joining Roll Call as a reporter for Heard on the Hill. In a memo announcing her transition, Scott Montgomery said:

“Neda brings a distinctive mix of talent, wit and experience to HOH. Clearly, she knows a thing or two about Congress and the people in it from her years at CQ. But she’s also a lifelong DC resident who knows the Hill – inside and outside the Capitol. She has worked overseas with NGOs and was once an analyst at the World Bank. She also happens to be smart and funny. We believe Neda may be the first HOH reporter to have done graduate school at the London School of Economics.”

Neda will begin her new gig in May while the publication continues its search to fill the second HOH opening.  In the meantime, you can follow her on Twitter @neda_semnani.  Congrats to Neda!

Ryan Beckwith Named Roll Call Features Editor

Ryan Beckwith has been named the new Features Editor. The slot became vacant last month when former section editor Debbie Bruno (whom we affectionately called Bebbie Druno) departed.

We trust that we will come up with an equally creative nickname for Beckwith, but these things take time.

Congratulations to the new editor. We hear he has big, “Congress-focused” plans for the section and we wish him well with it.

See Editor Scott Montgomery‘s memo…

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Roll Call Hires WaPo’s Becker

Roll Call is on a roll.  Over the last few weeks, the newsgroup has been turning frowns upside down by announcing more hires than resignations.  Way to go, guys!

Via internal memo today, Scott Montgomery welcomed Amanda Becker to Roll Call’s influence team where she’ll work as an ethics and investigations reporter.  Becker is currently a legal affairs and business reporter, covering law and lobbying for WaPos weekly Capitol Business section.  Amanda previously covered the business of law for the Los Angeles Daily Journal, completed a fellowship at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and worked with the investigative team at the Los Angeles Times on a public health project.

Becker begins on May 2nd.  Congrats to Amanda!

Roll Call Seeks to Rebuild Image

When a publication loses some 15 people, including a beloved editor, a deputy editor and the head of ad sales in a seven-month time span, it ceases to be right or accurate to say that it  is undergoing a transition. Or, to reason that this is the topsy turvy, fluctuating world of  journalism these days.

At the time of then-Editor Charlie Mitchell‘s sudden departure last fall, Editorial Director Mike Mills said they had “concluded together” that this was the best way to proceed. Former Roll Call reporter Tory Newmyer, now at Fortune Magazine, voiced  online what so many Roll Call reporters felt then and now: “Terrible move, CQ overlords. Mitchell = 1st rate editor, world class human.”

But like many editors who must go back to ground level and find steady footing, it’s an “exciting” time. Roll Call‘s Editor Scott Montgomery is no exception: “People are still excited. I am excited. We still have some challenges to get through before we fill these jobs. But it’s kind of cool to think about remaking things and taking Roll Call forward.”

As management dusts itself off after an intense exodus of resignations and otherwise forced departures, top brass find themselves in an introspective process of rebuilding and figuring out just where to move from here. Long known as the stalwart figure amongst Washington’s Hill publications, Roll Call rests on that historical description and maybe a little too much. In a phone interview with Montgomery on Tuesday morning, FishbowlDC learned vaguely about where this relatively new editor wants to take the newspaper in the coming months. But specifics? He hesitated for fear of the competition getting too much information. Among the things we do know: Roll Call is one week out of its so-called one-month hiring freeze implemented company-wide by The Economist Group. Montgomery announced that they are looking to add at least three senior editors and five new reporters to its editorial team, which is roughly half of what they’ve lost.

As of late, management has made some unusual hiring moves, or rehiring as the case may be. For one thing, they brought back Shira Toeplitz, who spent a year at Politico before realizing that maybe the grass isn’t always greener type of thing. And today, they’re playing up yet another return: a former intern who has spent the past few years working on the desk of the NYT.

“What we need, it’s not magic,” Montgomery said in our talk. “Roll Call has a great reputation, a great history. It still is the newspaper of Capitol Hill and is still seen that way. We need to continue to do that. We know who our audience is. We know who we are. So my goal is fairly straightforward — to do what Roll Call is known for. We cover the Hill. We cover members. We cover leadership. We cover those staffs. The professional community of Capitol Hill. That’s who are readers are, that’s who we’re there for, and we like that.”

And yet, the chatter in media and staff circles is that HOH, the famed gossip column, isn’t what it was even weeks and months ago when Emily Heil still ran it and when Elizabeth Brotherton was still on board. And Around the Hill has gone a little, well, over the Hill and around the bend. What does Montgomery say to critics and doubters? “I can’t answer that directly because I’ve only been here a few months myself,” he said. “There’s no doubt the environment is very different from what it was. Roll Call can’t be what it was five or ten years ago and expect to prosper. It’s not about whether people think we’ve lost a step, but it’s about the steps we take forward. We need to be a must-read for people. We need to make sure that they are rewarded every time they do.”

On the subject of HOH, Montgomery concedes that there must be a shift toward Capitol Hill and away from the party scene. The parties won’t be abandoned, mind you, but he thinks the column needs some “reporting heft.” He explained,  “I want to bring on a smart person who is sourced on Capitol Hill and can bring a level of newsiness, a saucy newsiness.” Around the Hill is here to stay, he insisted, saying that it is something for which the publication is known. “It’s a big part of what distinguishes us from our competitors, and that needs to continue,” he said.

More on Montgomery’s intentions…

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Roll Call Hires Janie Lorber

And just when we started to believe ‘Roll Call‘  was synonymous with ‘resignation’…a hire.  Editor Scott Montgomery announced via internal memo this afternoon that the publication has hired Janie Lorber as  reporter for their lobbying and influence team.

A former intern (fall 2008)  for Roll Call, Janie spent the past two years as a news assistant in The New York Times Washington bureau, where she filed to the Caucus blog and the print newspaper from Capitol Hill and the campaign trail. She has written for The Times’ business and national sections, including a front page story last fall on the finances of the Republican operatives behind the Tea Party Express.  Lorber will start the new gig on April 1st.

Congrats to Janie!

Fish Food

(A Sprinkling of Things We Think You Ought to Know…)

*Well wishes for Joynt: New York Social Diary Blogger and Q & A Cafe Host Carol Joynt underwent her lumpectomy Monday at Washington Hospital Center. It was an outpatient procedure. She was recently diagnosed with, as she described it, “small, contained DCIS breast cancer.” We wish her the best of health and a quick recovery.  “The outpouring of affection–and food–from friends and neighbors has been heartwarming, of course, but there’s not much to match a cancer survivor stopping by out of the blue to show me her healthy cleavage, with the words, ‘you’re gonna be fine!’” she wrote on her personal blog Monday.

*An NPR publicist catches a break in the turbulence. After a tough week of coping with the fallout of NPR CEO Vivian Schiller‘s resignation, NPR Publicist Emerson Brown was spotted on Saturday night enjoying dinner at the lovely Tabard Inn off Dupont Circle.

*Behind the Scenes: On Monday Politico aired the “Game Changer” feature in which Patrick Gavin takes to the ice and plays hockey with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). It’s only the second time in his life that he’s been in ice skates. “Once was a date that didn’t go well,” Gavin explains. In the video, Gavin touches the senator’s shoulder eight times — is he holding on for dear life? The reporter remarked to FishbowlDC, “I think that once he gave me a big bear hug, any physical barriers between the two of us were instantly gone. You’ve seen the man’s hair right? Hard to keep one’s hands off a man with a mane like that.” Watch here.

*Upcoming Phone Interview: This morning we chat by phone with Roll Call Editor Scott Montgomery. After losing a top editor and a number of reporters in the past few weeks, we’ll ask the hard questions. We’ll bring you a full report later…

Roll Call Snags Toeplitz Back from Politico

In what looks to be a game of musical chairs, Shira Toeplitz has landed back at Roll Call. She has worked at Politico for the past  year and now returns to her former employer to cover House and Senate races. “We are delighted to announce that Shira Toeplitz will be returning to Roll Call as a senior leader on our politics team,” announced Editor Scott Montgomery and Politics Editor Lauren Whittington in a email to staff this morning.

Toeplitz’s first day back is April 4.

Congratulations!
See the internal memo…

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