The Times’ they are a changin’. Joel Sappell, last seen as the Assistant Managing Editor for Interactive, i.e. the dismal LATimes.com, has been moved to the newly created position of Special Projects Editor. According to the memo, he’ll
draw on his years as a creative investigative and long-form editor to direct some of our most ambitious undertakings, with a particular emphasis on initiating projects that cross departmental borders. … The new job combines Joel’s knowledge of the Web with his breadth of newsroom experience.
As his knowledge of the Web seemed to be limited to getting a news aide to change his password, let’s hope that his newsroom experience and investigative skills carry him through.
When these memos are written, isn’t there anyone who can curb the happy talk? The Times website, on Sappell’s watch, generated mockery from readers and a scathing memo from staff members who realized how much it sucked. Remember?
Our approach to website content is, in some ways, as backward as our technology.
Sappell’s belief that slide-shows would somehow interest readers clashed with general manager Rob Barrett’s plan that the website actually contain news.