'New York Times' Reveals Plans For 'Opinion' Reorganization

Late last year, The New York Times announced its op-ed team would experience a makeover come February 2020. Today, Opinion chief James Bennet, along with op-ed editor Jim Dao and deputy editorial page editor Kathleen Kingsbury, explain how those changes will affect the section and The Times’ strategy at large.

“This isn’t about shrinking the team. Quite the opposite. It’s intended to support the growth we’ve seen in Opinion and support growth we’re hoping for in the future,” they wrote.

While the section is organized around the last two pages in the A section of the print newspaper, with teams producing each and one editor overseeing both, it has been enhanced.

“We took out a blank sheet of paper and asked ourselves how we’d organize the department if we were starting from scratch,” the editors wrote. “And what we’ve decided is that we should organize around the two basic ambitions of our journalism: To drive debate about questions that matter day in and day out, and to deliver enterprising Opinion journalism that supplies groundbreaking reporting and thinking, sharpening that debate or elevating questions that our readers aren’t thinking about but should be.”



Under the new structure, one deputy, Jim Dao, will be responsible for “anticipating and reacting to news,” while Katie Kingsbury, also a deputy, will lead long-range enterprise.

The graphics, video and audio teams will report to Kingsbury, as well.

In addition, two new roles will be added to the department: a cover stories editor, Honor Jones, will join the enterprise team and a managing editor to oversee operations and administration, such as the copy desk, audience team, Letters, the print hub, assistants and fact-checkers.

One goal of the restructure is to “[interweave] the editorial board with the Op-Ed team.” To achieve that, the department will organize writers and editors into five verticals, including politics, international, business and technology, culture and science.

“Members of the editorial board will work as Opinion writers within the verticals, weighing in under their own bylines. They are the writers that our editors will often turn to first — along with our columnists — when major news breaks,” the editors explained.

The Times’ Alex Kingsbury will take on the role of editorials editor on the enterprise team, leading the The Times’ editorial board as they meet to “debate positions we should take in unsigned editorials.”

The editors says they prefer to use the institutional voice “in reaction to news only in instances of great importance (such as impeachment) and otherwise to place it on an enterprise footing, to increase the originality and value of the institutional contribution.”

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