The Electronic Times  | American Journalism Review
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From AJR,   January/February 2001

The Electronic Times   

Paper names Michael Oreskes as assistant managing editor and director of electronic news.

By Kathryn S. Wenner
Kathryn S. Wenner, a former AJR associate editor, is a copy editor at the Washington Post.     


THE NEW YORK TIMES solidifies its commitment to television and the Web by naming Washington Bureau Chief Michael Oreskes to a new masthead position: assistant managing editor and director of electronic news.
"If that sends a message about our seriousness of purpose and Mike's enthusiasm for this project, that's exactly the intention," Executive Editor Joseph Lelyveld wrote in a memo to staff. Washington Editor Jill Abramson will take over as bureau chief when Oreskes moves into his new job in January.
The mission, Oreskes says, is to "bring us into a new approach to what we are. I think we've concluded that the important thing to us in the word 'newspaper' is not the paper, it's the news.... It is no longer enough to say to our audience, 'If you want what we know, you can only get it in the newspaper.' "
One of his challenges, Oreskes says, will be integrating the Times' electronic production and distribution abilities--including a television production company, radio stations and New York Times Internet properties--into the newsroom. He's already begun in Washington with "Political Points," a daily Webcast produced in partnership with ABC News that launched last January. Oreskes sometimes hosts the show, which features reporters from both organizations, political insiders and politicians.
The Times is also pairing with MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and PBS for a late-night news show that would run against local TV stations' 11 p.m. newscasts in most markets. The companies are still seeking underwriters for the show, which Oreskes says will be serious and high quality but not boring.
Oreskes hired his successor, Abramson, from the Wall Street Journal in 1997, in a major step to strengthen the bureau's investigative reporting when he took over as chief. She says that since becoming the bureau's No. 2 person last year, she's missed "putting out calls and making slow progress every day" on investigative projects. But she enjoys giving an idea to another reporter and seeing them "do it better than I would have."
Abramson says the bureau is in "terrific shape." One area she would like to see covered more: the high-tech industry burgeoning around Washington, whose leaders, she says, "have become real power brokers in the capital."

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