Letter to Romenesko: Another view of Raju

From a former Washington Post digital staffer who asks not to be named:

Raju [Narisetti] has been the newsroom’s highest-ranking champion for digital journalism since he got there several years ago.

Raju Narisetti

To those of us whose work focuses mostly on the digital side of our journalism, he sometimes feels like the only senior manager who understands the reality of a digital future for our work and who sees how fundamentally the Post must change in order to make it through to the other side. He’s a decisive leader in a place full of senior editors who sometimes have trouble making decisions or saying what they want.

He is a journalist first and a strategic thinker about journalism second. I’ve watched him draw far more often on his decade-plus as a reporter than on his business training when thinking about digital strategy at the Post. He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever worked for, and although he doesn’t suffer fools easily, I’ve also found him to be kind, straightforward, and a no-B.S. kind of guy.

Many old-timers seem to blame him for all the newsroom’s woes, but I have always thought that that was because they don’t understand what it is that he actually does – in the same way that many of them blame younger digital staff for problems that really have roots across the newsroom, because they also don’t understand what it is that we actually do.

WP’s digital journalists have relied heavily on Raju to pave the way for difficult changes that other leaders simply aren’t willing to take a stand to make happen. They’ve now lost one of their only high-level supporters. That’s a huge morale hit to a group that’s already weary of fighting a fight that they’re not sure the organization really believes in.

* WP publisher on Narisetti: “He was not afraid of hurting people’s feelings and that’s a good thing. He’s a change agent”

Comments

comments

2 comments
  1. Washington Post staffer said:

    I’m a Washington Post print staffer(i.e.”old timer”) and I too am sorry to see Raju leave. I appreciated his straightforwardness and no-B.S. approach. And frankly, he is the only top Post editor who actually lived up to his mission and goals. He has helped our digital operation thrive while the quality of our print product has deteriorated due to a lack of leadership and vision. Whether you agreed with Raju or not, he was the only newsroom executive with a clear mission and plan and for getting there. I respect him for that. He will be missed.

  2. Washington Post staffer, couple of questions:

    (1) Why not post with a name? After all, you say you appreciate straightforwardness.

    (2) Are you actively opposing the “lack of leadership and vision,” or are those just phrases you and others roll out from time to time?