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The Washington Post announces the Next Generation team

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Memo from Next Generation Senior Editor Phoebe Connelly and Next Generation Business Director Bradley Lautenbach:

Next Generation, our new cross-departmental initiative to accelerate the acquisition of younger and more diverse audiences through new products, practices and partnerships, has hit the ground running: partnering with analytics on new research into the demographics we hope to reach and working with our product design team to develop a new audience framework that teams across the company can use to set up and measure initiatives. As we head into the fall, we will be working with the subscriber engagement team on a set of staff trainings and undertaking a series of experiments in partnership with departments across the Post to attract and engage new audiences.

To deliver on this, we are thrilled to announce the several key hires to the Next Generation team:

Neema Roshania Patel is joining Next Generation as its editor. In this role, Neema will partner with editors around the newsroom to improve our ability to identify stories, lines of coverage and formats that resonate with younger and more diverse audiences. She will help identify existing topics and features that resonate with new audiences, collaborate to bring more visibility to that work, and serve as a consultant and advocate for experimentation. Neema came to The Post in 2016 as an editor on the Select app (internally known as Rainbow) and the following year helped found The Lily. As editor and deputy editor of The Lily, Neema brought editorial vision, empathetic leadership and an emphasis on diverse voices to The Lily, where she shepherded some of its most impactful journalism including two years of reporting on central West Virginia’s only high-risk OB/GYN, portraits of women ages 24 to 86 living alone during covid and the helpful Ask Sahaj, Ask Dr. Andrea and Anxiety Chronicles series. Previously, Neema worked at NPR member station WHYY in Philadelphia.

Kanyakrit Vongkiatkajorn is joining the team in the newsroom as audience and engagement editor. Yu will help us understand new audiences: where they seek news and information; how they want to consume journalism and engage with journalists; and how to encourage new readers to establish long-lasting relationships with The Post. She will partner with editors and reporters across the newsroom to ensure that our work reaches these audiences. Yu joined The Post in 2019 first as community editor and then as senior subscriber engagement editor. She developed a process for reader callouts that is used across the newsroom and has been key to our coverage of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. She has edited several reader engagement projects, including how veterans reacted to The Afghanistan Papers, a series on Americans navigating the pandemic, and an end-of-year piece asking readers to describe 2020 in one word. Yu has also worked closely with product and engineering, helping to oversee major upgrades for our commenting and live chat platforms.

Ryan Luu is joining as the principal product manager. In this role, Ryan will define key metrics and build connective tissue on how our product tactics and initiatives line up with our vision for broadening our subscriber base to be younger and more diverse. Ryan joined the Post in July of 2019 as the Senior Product Manager for Audio/Video and quickly began to impact the organization positively. In his role, he has led the Post to launch pioneering initiatives such as Audio Articles and a new video player along with driving development of the Post’s Media Publishing Tools. Ryan has also worked closely with the Subscription Growth & Retention team and led the 2021 Tokyo Olympics product and newsroom planning.

Miles Stroud will be our data analyst. In this role, Miles will be key to ensuring that we are effectively reaching these new audiences and that we are capturing and acting on metrics across the company. Since joining the Post in August of 2020, Miles has worked across the company, with a focus on in-app analytics. Miles has worked to refine our analytics process for both the Classic & Rainbow apps, including upbuilding and overseeing the launch of our first major A/B tests in-app. Additionally, Miles has worked on social media analytics, podcast analytics, and recently oversaw analytics for the launch of The Seven.

In addition, we are pleased that Katie Briggs will be joining us on assignment through the end of the year as our principal UX research lead. Katie was previously a design lead at NPR and KPCC. Katie is leading the charge on our first round of UX research into younger audiences, which will be completed by the end of 2021.

We’re thrilled to have these new teammates as we chart a course to our next generation audience.

Phoebe + Bradley