The New York Times builds out digital rewrite team
The New York Times has created a new newsroom unit to tackle the types of stories that are going viral on the web.
Headed up by Patrick LaForge, the "Express Team" "will cover news that readers are searching for and talking about online, but also push that news forward rather than just repackaging it for clicks," according to a Tuesday afternoon staff memo signed by executive editor Dean Baquet, deputy executive editor Susan Chira, editor for innovation and strategy Kinsey Wilson, and assistant editor Clifford Levy.
"This new team will quickly and smartly weigh in on the issues and questions that are attracting attention across the day and around the world," they wrote.
The move comes as the Times' is becoming ever more aggressive about scaling its digital audience, which is becoming more important to revenue growth.
The Express Team is essentially a revving up of the Times' "rewrite" desk, which responds to breaking news stories as they unfold in real time.
According to the memo, the Times recently has been experimenting with a bigger rewrite team dedicated to "covering the web’s most compelling and fast-moving stories." LaForge's appointment is part of an effort to "take over and enlarge this initiative."
Rather than eschewing aggregation, the Times seems to be moving to ensure that it can keep pace with fast-moving competitors, without sacrificing the paper's commitment to high-quality journalism and accuracy.
More broadly, the organization is attempting to build a first-rate digital news organization, backed by an audience engagement team that can help reach new readers and convince them of the value of Times journalism. That effort, which involves reallocating resources away from print-centric roles, was laid out in part in an Oct. 7 strategy memo that charted a plan to double the company's digital revenue by 2020.