The New York Times will take another step in its effort to prioritize digital this week by moving the discussion of the print edition out of its daily news meetings, executive editor Dean Baquet announced in a memo to staff on Tuesday.
“The idea is for us to mobilize faster in the morning so we can get an earlier start on setting news and enterprise priorities, and to move the discussion of print Page One out of the afternoon meeting in order to focus on coverage regardless of where it appears, as well as to plan our digital report for the following morning,” Baquet wrote.
Beginning Monday, the Times will hold its morning news meeting at 9:30 and the afternoon news meeting at 4:30. The Page One lineup will be decided at a separate meeting at 3:30 by a group of editors led by deputy executive editor Susan Chira.
The changes are part of an ongoing effort to prioritize the digital product and move away from what Baquet described as “the grip of print deadlines.” They come one year after the publication a 96-page internal report, which warned that the Times’ advantage was “shrinking” in the face of new, digital-savvy competitors. In February, Baquet announced that the Times would stop taking enterprise pitches for Page 1 of the print edition and instead ask editors to pitch for digital slots on what would be called the “Dean’s List.”
In Tuesday’s memo,, Baquet reassured staff “that Page One, and the print newspaper, remain a crucial part of what we do. The choices of what stories and photos appear on Page One reflect our collective judgment about the most important journalism we are offering to our readers each day. And our increased emphasis on digital publishing does not in any way detract from our commitment to giving our print subscribers the richest, most inviting experience every day.”
“But we want to ensure that our digital report is of equal quality, and make sure we are giving the most readers the best version of all journalism when they want to read it,” Baquet wrote. “Our large and growing mobile readership is coming to us early in the day and we need to continue to find ways to better serve that audience, as well as the many readers who find us on their desktops during the day.”