Citing a desire to break free from the legacy of the print deadlines, The New York Times on Tuesday announced the creation of a centralized desk responsible for putting out the daily print edition.
According to a staff memo from Executive Editor Dean Baquet, The Times is shifting responsibility for the paper’s print edition away from various desk editors and empowering a group of journalists at a central desk to order space and make decisions about placement of content on inside pages.
To make that possible, we are moving most print production responsibilities away from individual desks and placing them in the hands of a centralized group of editors. This new centralized print group will be part of a news hub – an expansion of the current news desk — that oversees the placement and presentation of coverage on all platforms. The print group will include the designers who, in consultation with backfields, will order space and make decisions about play on all inside news pages.
Today’s announcement was forecasted by several steps undertaken by The Times within the last year to de-emphasize print as the paper’s primary news product in favor of a more holistic view of The Times’ news report. In February, The New York Times retired the system of pitching stories exclusively for the front page of the print edition, a tradition that was featured prominently in a documentary examining the inner workings of The Times. Last November, The New York Times appointed Dean Chang to be print editor for the metro section, responsible for “planning, coordinating and executing metro’s daily print section.”
The centralization of The New York Times’ print production fits within an ongoing effort at the Times and the news industry writ large to shake off the tyranny of print deadlines and focus on producing distinct products on multiple platforms. Several publications, including the South Florida Sun Sentinel, have instituted policies designed to encourage platform-agnostic thinking about how stories are presented on desktop sites, mobile devices, various social media platforms and printed newspapers.