Dick Stevenson named ‘Times’ chief Washington correspondent

Dick Stevenson. ()
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Amid the ongoing editor shake-ups at The New York Times, Richard W. Stevenson has been named chief Washington correspondent.

Stevenson was previously the paper's political editor and has also served as deputy D.C. bureau chief, White House correspondent and economics correspondent.

The move comes as the Times is trimming its masthead and moving editors around in hopes of achieving enough buyouts and salary-savings by the end of the month to avoid newsroom layoffs.

Here's the memo from D.C. bureau chief David Leonhardt:

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If you've written a New York Times story with a Washington dateline in the last seven years, you have almost certainly benefited from the wisdom of Dick Stevenson. He knows policy and politics inside out and has a rare talent for turning subjects into stories. Even as an editor, when he was spending most of his time improving the stories that the rest of us wrote, he found time to write standout Washington analysis. His piece comparing the 2012 election to 2004, all the way back in Oct. 2011, remains one of the smartest, most prophetic stories of the recent campaign.

Now there will be many more such stories. Starting immediately, Dick becomes Chief Washington Correspondent, joining David Sanger in that role. Given their respective backgrounds, Dick will likely spend more time writing about domestic policy and politics, and David will spend more time writing about foreign policy and national security. But we have asked them to make sure they devote both of their brains to every important subject in Washington. David is particularly excited about the prospect of reuniting with a longtime journalistic teammate: David and Dick were young reporters in BizDay together; they were Washington economic correspondents together; and they covered the Bush White House together during two wars.

As Dick's innovative work as politics editor has made clear, he has an unusually keen sense of the new world of digital journalism, and he plans on bringing that sense to his new role. In addition to enterprise stories and news analysis for the paper, he will be writing short pieces that will generally run on the Web in the morning. The pieces will carry their own label and sometimes - but not always - turn into stories for the paper. The goal with these pieces is to participate in the marketplace of ideas, as Dick puts it, at a time when The Times's Web site has an enormous audience.

It's hard to imagine a background better suited to this new role. Besides having been politics editor, deputy bureau chief, White House correspondent and economics correspondent, Dick has previously been a correspondent in Los Angeles and London. As colleagues and readers, we're lucky that we'll again be able to read a steady stream of Dick's stories.

David

(Disclosure: I've recently completed two freelance assignments for the Times.)