The Washington Post

Roll Call bags print product for conventions

Roll Call, like any self-respecting Washington politics rag, goes big for the quadrennial political conventions. It has had a presence at the confabs since 1988, and starting in 2004, it has printed something called the Roll Call Convention Daily, a compendium of stories on the buzz from the convention floor and beyond.

No more: The publication recently scrapped plans for the daily print product.

The offices of CQ Roll Call — the two publications combined in 2009 — confirm the subtraction:

CQ Roll Call is still publishing our convention edition of CQ Weekly, so we will have a print presence, events, reporters etc, and we will be continuing our real time coverage. Our research shows that our customers and advertisers prefer real-time digital coverage, so that is the direction we are going.

That dovetails with our broader strategy, which is to invest in the areas of consumption that continue to grow — digital, mobile, social etc. We have also spent a lot of time trying to be smart about our print products — how do we recognize the changes in how they are being used, and how do we redesign and repackage them to give the greatest value to our readers.

CQ Roll Call will also be publishing convention coverage in David Hawkings’ e-mail newsletter, the Daily Briefing.

The shrinking ambitions affect travel plans. Roll Call initially discussed sending as many as 40 staffers to the conventions, in part to produce the daily print output, according to sources; after further consideration, fewer than 20 staffers will be making the trips.

When asked about these austerity measures, Roll Call editor Scott Montgomery responded that it’s an “above-my-pay-grade kind of question. I’m not in a position to speak on such things.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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