Wall Street Journal memo: Newsroom changes mean ‘a faster-moving, digital-first news operation’

Update: Lex Fenwick is out as Dow Jones chief executive officer. (Dow Jones release)

With 60 Wall Street Journal employees joining the Real-Time News Desk today,NEWMEMO “we have embarked on the path towards becoming a fully digitized news operation,” writes Journal managing editor Gerard Baker. “Today’s move makes concrete a large part of that ambitious objective.”

His memo:

From: Baker, Gerard
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 9:14 AM
To: WSJ All News Staff
Subject: A New Day for News

Today marks a significant step forward in the integration and digitization of the newsroom, as 60 of our colleagues arrive on the 6th floor of 1211 to complete the new Real-Time News Desk that sits at the center of our news operation in New York.

With the arrival of the real-time-focused editors, the hub becomes the heart of a faster-moving, digital-first news operation. The real-time desk will work to maintain a lively, fresh and newsy flow over Newswires, WSJ.com, mobile platforms and on social media. Our ambitious aim is a virtuous circle that edits better copy, posts it faster, with better visuals, and then maximizes its impact./CONTINUES

The editors on the real-time desk, veterans of DJN and the Journal, will work closely with subject desks, coverage chiefs and bureaux to quickly produce content and edit breaking and other time-sensitive news. The unified desk will serve a wide range of our digital needs – from headlines on breaking news, to sidebar explanatory pieces, to presentation of online features and beyond.

The creation of the desk puts in one place, within shouting distance – figuratively speaking, at least – virtually all the elements crucial to raising our digital game, from the homepage management team led by Jenn Hicks, to visual journalists from Seth Hamblin’s group to the social media and new audience engagement teams led by Liz Heron and video creators from Chris Cramer’s group.

The revamped hub is a critical step in a process that began nearly a year ago and involved dozens of colleagues. High praise and thanks are due to Steve Wisnefski and Erin White, who led the process, as well as Chaz Repak, Dorene Lomanto and Aileen Sampson.

Within weeks, we expect to announce additional steps to improve copy flow and communication, and to help all of you improve our real-time output. At that time we will convene meetings with colleagues in New York to explain how the new operation works.

In many ways, the new real-time desk has already started functioning, publishing stories to both the wires and the web simultaneously, and working more closely with subject chiefs and other editors on coverage planning to ensure digital needs are met. You should expect to hear regularly from Steve, Erin and other editors on the desk, including Margaret deStreel, Tedra Meyer, Geoff Rogow and George Stahl, about real-time needs.

We have embarked on the path towards becoming a fully digitized news operation. Today’s move makes concrete a large part of that ambitious objective. I am confident that our readers will quickly register a noticeable change in the quality and timeliness of our news.