Announcement from Managing Editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz and Director of Audience Ryan Kellett:
As we pursue our dual strategies of attracting digital subscribers while continuing to build a large overall audience for our digital products, we are adjusting the Audience team structure and adding a few new roles. The team has played a critical part in the rapid growth we have seen over the past four years. We believe these changes will position us well for the years ahead.
Ryan Kellett, who has led the team for the past four years, will take on the new title of Senior Director of Audience. Ryan arrived at The Post eight years ago from NPR’s social media desk. He started at The Post as a producer for comments, live chats, and interactive storytelling. He joined Politics in 2012 as national’s digital editor and was instrumental in implementing the ambitious products and projects during that election cycle.
The Audience team will refocus around five areas:
To alert editors and reporters to coverage opportunities that might attract readers at any given moment, we are creating a new position called Live News Editor. Josh du Lac will serve in this role and will join Scott Vance and Barbara Vobejda on the hub in identifying coverage possibilities and pushing us to increase our flexibility, speed, and competitive awareness. We’ll expect Josh to broker collaboration among departments on live stories, ensure that our web ledealls are tightly edited and up to date, and continue to use his practiced eye to spot viral stories that need telling. In helping to oversee the coverage of major scheduled events, Josh will work to identify new angles and unanticipated stories that need immediate attention. He will also make sure that the Audience team is up to speed on our live coverage plans to ensure it gets the maximum audience.
Josh will continue to oversee the General Assignment (GA) team, but we will hire an additional breaking news editor to assume his previous day-to-day responsibilities. We will add two reporters to the GA team, allowing us to better staff weekends and evenings. As previously announced, we will add additional reporters to the Financial, Features and Politics staffs to focus on live news for those departments. And we will add a Competition Analyst who will report to Josh and use the most powerful software and analytics to monitor competitor sites and other digital signals in search of emerging coverage opportunities.
Josh has been editor of the General Assignment team since 2014. In four years, the team has become vital to how we cover breaking news and quick-turnaround enterprise. Josh previously held several roles at The Post, including pop music critic and reporter on the Local enterprise team.
Core Social and Operations
We’re promoting Mark W. Smith to the new role of Director of Social and Operations. He takes over for Megan Chan in running the Operations Team and will continue to run the Core Social team. We expect Mark to be a voice for rapid digital progress. He will be charged with ensuring we deliver our best digital performance every day in every corner of the newsroom. To do that, Mark’s teams will be looking to connect our journalism with readers on two of our biggest distribution channels, search and social.
The Operations Team will continue to be embedded in departments, identifying ways we can improve our internal workflow and story optimization, both in real-time and for projects. They will also help identify work-flow related problems for the product team. The Core Social Team will handle the distribution of our stories on the main social accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Both teams will work closely with the Live News team.
Over the past two years, Mark has led the Core Social team to a revitalized brand voice on Twitter, a full roll-out of breaking news tags on Facebook, and a high-growth period for the Instagram account, with now well over a million followers. His excellent news judgment and positive attitude have been critical when major news breaks. Before that, Mark co-led a newsroom-wide training program on social media best practices, headline writing and recirculation in 2015.
Subscriptions and Engagement
As subscriptions become a critical part of our audience and business model, we are going to create a new team focused on this area. Tessa Muggeridge will take on the title of Subscriptions and Engagement Editor and will lead the effort, joining T.J. Ortenzi, who has focused on this area in 2018. The team will partner with the Marketing department on the acquisition and retention of subscribers.
As part of this effort, Tessa will leverage her deep experience with newsletters, hiring an additional newsletter editor and designer for the effort. Comments and live chats, two of our best tools for engagement, will also fall under this team. Tessa will continue to be responsible for our alerts strategy.
Led by Everdeen Mason, this team will continue to experiment with new ways to tell stories and distribute our journalism. The team will also have a greater role in helping editors explore the audience potential of new and existing coverage. Teddy Amenabar, who has deftly handled comment moderation over the past two years, officially joins this team as Local embed after taking on an interim role this year. Nia Decaille also joins this team, bringing the experience she gained working with Everdeen on SEO best practices for the newsroom.
A newsroom analyst position is being created to ensure we use metrics to the fullest potential. That includes delivering metrics to editors faster than we do now and with greater journalistic insight into how to act upon that data. This person will work closely with Beth Diaz’s Audience Development and Analytics team to help editors and reporters understand and use our data smartly.