Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Washington Post Editor Complains about Calls and Queries

Yesterday City Paper published a story about the possibility that Washington Post publisher Katherine Weymouth killed a piece in their Sunday Magazine. For non-journos like me, it reveals an informative perspective on editorial process.

But what I found professionally intriguing were these comments from Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli:
“I don’t think it’s necessary for us to lay out all of the processes in the newspaper to make decisions,” he snapped. “Newspapers spend way too much time explaining themselves.” He went on: “Too many people call our newsroom. There are endless queries on our journalism these days. I think it’s better for us to focus on producing journalism than on our process.”

Two points on this comment:

1) Transparency will happen whether Brauchli likes it or not. Doesn't Brauchli understand why there are so many queries? It is reasonable to say that America's media has largely let down the public in recent years, particularly on the financial crisis and the war efforts.

2) Engage the public to earn their trust. The people calling the newsroom are readers or potential readers, otherwise known as customers. Be grateful they are interested in engaging with you and give them the tools to do so. If you don't, someone else will.

Thanks to Dan Gillmor and Jay Rosen for posting the link to the City Paper story on Twitter.

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