Times plans tip sheet, ‘First Draft’

The New York Times Building (Haxorjoe via Wikimedia Commons)
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The New York Times is gearing up for the launch of an early-morning tip sheet aimed at readers of political news.

Capital has learned that the name of the tip sheet is First Draft and that it will be soft-launched for a limited audience sometime within a month with an official launch date to follow late this summer. Sources said the sales team has already begun pitching First Draft to advertisers.

In an email to the Times' Washington newsroom this afternoon, bureau chief Carolyn Ryan told staff that Alan Rappeport will be joining the First Draft team from The Financial Times, where he was a founding member of the breaking news and analysis desk fastFT.

Ryan wrote that Rappeport will "anchor" the tipsheet, which is being overseen by chief Washington correspondent Carl Hulse. Jennifer Steinhauer is working on the project as well.

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First Draft is one in an array of new editorial efforts being developed at the Times in a bid to scale circulation and advertising revenues.

Earlier today, the Times introduced NYT Now, a mobile news app aimed at entry-level subscribers. Similar niche apps are to follow in subject areas such as cooking and opinion. The Times also is rolling out a new explanatory journalism venture led by David Leonhardt.

The challenge for First Draft will be to break through in a format competitors have already been working at for years.

POLITICO, which is owned by the same parent company as Capital, has a wildy popular morning email blast in its Playbook franchise, which is written by Mike Allen. Earlier this week, The Washington Post launched a similar product called Read In.

In a memo on the Times' plans back in November, executive editor Jill Abramson described the tip sheet as a feature that "sets up the Washington day for our readers."