Alex MacCallum named audience expansion and engagement editor at New York Times

Alex MacCallum has been promoted to assistant managing editor at the New York Times, in charge of expanding the paper’s audience “and deepening its engagement with Times journalism.”

Here’s the memo from executive editor Dean Baquet and editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal:

To the staff,

We are pleased to announce that Alex MacCallum will join us as an assistant managing editor, in charge of expanding our audience and deepening its engagement with our great journalism.

Alex MacCallum (from her Twitter feed)

Alex MacCallum (from her Twitter feed)

In the coming months Alex, who has been the business-side executive assigned to the Cooking app, will build a team devoted to using search, social and other strategies to draw more people to our news articles and editorials. There are already talented journalists working in this area, as well as a team on the business side. But all of us believe that there is an even greater opportunity to find more Times readers.

Two recent projects involving audience development strategists from the business side, working closely with us, showed the possibilities. The Opinion series High Times drew 1.6 million visitors, 27 percent of them for the first time. The World Cup coverage attracted 17 million visitors, 42 percent more than the Winter Olympics.

Alex started her career as a researcher and freelancer at The Washington Post. She was one of the first three employees at The Huffington Post, where she served as the Founding News Editor, working closely with the leadership on strategy, technology, and growth. She went to law school and eventually became The Huffington Post’s corporate counsel. In recent months she has worked with Sam Sifton on Cooking, and he attests to her creativity, energy and strategic thinking. In our discussions with candidates for the job, Alex had the best ideas. More than that, she displayed a fierce passion for The Times and its journalism.

She will report to both of us. The Audience Development department will be a shared resource, like photography, video and news design. She will start sometime in September and will be making the rounds of news and editorial to meet all of you.

Obviously, more changes are in the offing for the newsroom’s masthead, and this is a big step toward bringing in more editors with deep digital experience.

Andy and Dean