TIMES A-CHANGIN’: Over the past several weeks, the masthead of Jill Abramson’s New York Times has been made over as longtime editors take on new roles or accept buyouts from management. The latest change came Monday afternoon with a new job focus for assistant managing editor Rick Berke, a nearly 30-year veteran of the paper and a close deputy of Abramson’s. Berke will be leading the Times’ efforts in online video, two sources said, though the Times did not make an official announcement Monday. Politico reported the news first; the Times declined to comment.
It was not known whether Berke would leave his spot on the masthead, where he is one of five ame’s, or what his new official title would be.
The Times had already appointed a new business section editor in December, Dean E. Murphy, to succeeded Larry Ingrassia; Ingrassia will be taking up a broader leadership role at the paper. And the Times will soon appoint a new culture editor to replace Jonathan Landman, who announced his retirement on Jan. 2.
The shake-ups among the Times’ senior ranks began in early December when Abramson asked senior editors and managers to consider buyouts in light of weakness in advertising revenue. Abramson asked for 30 buyouts among senior managers, and warned that without them, she would be forced to look at layoffs.
They have until Jan. 24 to step forward as volunteers, and as the deadline approaches, the newsroom has been consumed with speculation over likely departures. New York magazine reported last week that managing editor John M. Geddes was negotiating an exit, while assistant managing editor Glenn Kramon was appointed as the new technology editor, based out of San Francisco.
One source said Berke’s appointment was a signal of the growing importance of video at the Times as a source of traffic and new advertising revenue. Berke had already dabbled with video during the political conventions, logging regular appearances interviewing reporters and editors for the TimesCast Web show.