DEAN’S LIST: Digital will now trump print at The New York Times. In a memo sent to staff Thursday, executive editor Dean Baquet laid out what he called — with immense understatement — a “small but significant” change in the newsroom, namely a revamp of the structure of the paper’s daily meetings that will make them “less tethered” to print deadlines.
The changes include retiring the Times’ system of pitching enterprise stories for the well-known print page-one meeting. Instead, each desk will now pitch its best enterprise ideas for the Web first. The Times is calling this process for pitching “Dean’s List” (get it?).
Baquet remarked: “(I didn’t come up with that name, but I like it!).” He didn’t tell staffers who the brown-noser was who did.
Stories selected by the masthead editors for Dean’s List will get the “best play” across digital platforms, such as Web, mobile and social. According to Baquet, there will be two Dean’s Lists: one for the morning meeting, the other for the afternoon one. Each list will contain three to four enterprise stories that are ready to publish that day online.
“It’s worth noting that the tradition of selecting page one stories under the old system has long made the Times distinctive,” the editor said, adding that the new system does not include news stories, most of which already go up immediately online anyway. “We are seeking to preserve the rigor of this process, but update it for the digital age. Desks will compete for the best digital, rather than print, real estate.”
The Times will still have its afternoon meeting for page one, but that process will “play a less prominent role,” he offered.
The sands keep shifting.