Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times, sent a memo to his staff Wednesday, providing details on his new masthead. The changes were largely expected, minus the exclusion of the role of managing editor, a post Baquet said he is “retiring.”
Baquet, the Times’ former managing editor under Jill Abramson, who was dismissed in May, said he preferred to have four deputy editors and a creative director.
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“As I thought about the kind of leadership The New York Times will need in these next crucial two or three years — as we grow our digital muscles while maintaining our commitment to the majesty of print — it became clear that our traditional masthead structure no longer works,” Baquet said. “We have too much work to do to have all the decisions made by a couple of editors in a corner office. Our goals are to get more readers, to continue to stretch the boundaries of story-telling in a mobile world that allows us to do things we never imagined, to take on ever larger targets with our investigative reporting, and to expand our ability to cover a world in turmoil.”
Baquet’s deputy editors include Susan Chira, Janet Elder, Matt Purdy and Ian Fisher. Deputy managing editor and design director Tom Bodkin will become creative director.
Chira will lead the news report on all platforms from print to Web. Elder will manage the talent, operations and budget, while Purdy will run investigations and enterprise coverage. Fisher will oversee digital operations and ensure the paper’s print offerings match its digital coverage.
To help Fisher with digital storytelling, Baquet has promoted graphics director Steve Duenes to assistant editor, and NYTNow editor Clifford Levy to associate editor.
The Times will also add assistant managing editor and former Huffington Post founding editor Alexandra MacCallum, the paper’s “first digital native,” to the masthead as a digital editor. Joe Kahn, a foreign coverage editor, was promoted to assistant editor for international.
On a less positive note, Baquet said investigative business reporter Lawrence Ingrassia would be retiring.
Baquet concluded his memo by addressing the organizational changes.
“The newsroom’s main job — and mine — is and always will be to cover the world and break big stories. But senior editors will have to be something more — strategic leaders in shaping the future of The New York Times,” he said. “We have to play a bigger role in steering The Times through the forces that are reshaping our world. We need a masthead that allows good ideas and good stories to get a fast and decisive hearing, an operation that encourages big risks, and one where the route to my office will never be blocked. Just as our business has been rapidly changing, our newsroom must be more nimble.”
Baquet “anticipates” people moving “on and off the masthead” as the paper’s “needs evolve,” but noted that the appointments are aimed to keep journalism at The Times as “vibrant as possible.”