When I was in college in Washington, one of my professors took us on a tour at WashingtonPost.com.
A decade ago, the offices were separate with the online offices located across the Potomac River in Arlington. Today, those offices are still separate.
But the Post leadership is analyzing how to integrate the two newsrooms, and those leaders visited the New York Times to seek how they handled their own integration. The Times handled its own integration over the course of the last few years.
It’s amazing to me that newsrooms are still working to integrate their Web and print operations. The Post is a forward-thinking online news operation, but it hasn’t integrated its newsrooms. The Times just oversaw its own integration. I went through such a change in North Jersey within the last nine months.
I do hope the Post does not do what happened in New Jersey, though, because I don’t necessarily think it was handled right. The online operations was separate and served both newsrooms. Then they broke us up and tried to integrate us into the two newsrooms. I can’t say how things went in Hackensack, but I didn’t think they went so well in West Paterson. I never quite knew who my boss was or who I needed to speak to for change. I had no staff despite promises to have one. There were many days we felt like outcasts in our own newsroom.
Perhaps it was the culture and we did our best in trying to break down those walls and integrate ourselves into the newsroom. But it was difficult to break through that culture. We made strides and inroads, though, so we had some success.
But things are changing there, and the future doesn’t look so great. It’s unfortunate. There are good things going on in that newsroom and they deserve better.
I hope the Post doesn’t go that route, but I’m sure they won’t. Like I said, they’re forward-thinking and constantly trying new things. Because of that, they’ll be able to break down walls and create a new, better culture.