To integrate or not to integrate, that will be the biggest question facing Marcus Brauchli when he arrives at The Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) as its new editor this September. His biggest challenge will be to bring its website (and WPNI) closer to the newspaper without damaging the creative independence of the digital side, something that WPNI employees have feared over the years as it moves towards the inevitable. Under the new rules, Brauchli will run the entire news operation.
WaPo’s website now occupies a building across the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia, rather than the paper’s office in Northwest Washington, making collaboration something done on e-mail and, on the phone and through shuttle diplomacy via the D.C.-area Metro trains, as described by Reuters. (Major announcements like Brauchli’s appointment required appearances in both newsrooms.)
The story says that this independence led WPNI to take creative risks on WashingtonPost.com and do acquisitions such as Slate and launch new sites. But with WaPo forming the Slate Media Group, that latter will still be insulated as the integration happens.
Also, some on the online side fear that there will be layoffs as redundant jobs gets eliminated, But WaPo online executive editor Jim Brady told Reuters that “things are certainly going to change, but they’re not going to gut the (washingtonpost.com) newsroom.” Publisher Katharine Weymouth: “The goal in doing this is not to cut.”