Internet 101 at the LAT *

Guess they mean it. Training classes begin Feb. 12 for Los Angeles Times editors to learn how to post to the website — and in some cases to just learn what is on the site. Innovation editor Russ Stanton's memo also announces a moratorium on new blogs and includes an update on staffing and other issues.

From: Stanton, Russ
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 7:28 AM
To: yyeditall
Subject:Newspaper/website update

Folks:

Here are some early details about the effort to combine and improve our newsgathering operations.

Training: Aaron Curtiss, latimes.com associate editor Sean Gallagher and Susan Denley in Editorial Hiring & Development are putting the finishing touches on the large-scale Internet training program, which will begin the week of Feb. 12. There will be three layers of training:

--Internet 101, a class for everyone designed to better familiarize you with latimes.com, what generates the most traffic and the least, what the site can and can't do, and where it is headed.
--The First Page, a class for assignment editors and copy editors on how to post new material to the web, and how to move things around on each section's home page.
--The Next Page, a more detailed course for word, copy, photo, design and graphics editors on the various assignment desks who will be directly involved in running their department's home page throughout each day.

Staffing: We hope to announce next week an executive editor for latimes.com, a new position that is the online equivalent of the print newsroom's top job. This person will be responsible for the operation of latimes.com and will oversee an expansion of the staff, a redesign of the site, etc. We'll also be hiring at least one more deputy innovation editor to help me and Aaron work with the more than 20 news and feature assignment desks and departments - copy editing, photo, design, research, administration - as we combine and restructure the newsgathering operations.

Committees: We are in the process of forming the two new committees that Jim O'Shea outlined in his charge to us last week.

--The Standards & Practices Committee will explore how to meet the challenge of becoming a more viable player on the Internet without compromising our journalistic integrity. Its members will consist of representatives from both newsrooms, and we hope to announce who they are by the end of next week.
--The Redesign Committee will redesign the paper to, as Jim put it, "make it an effective backbone for latimes.com." We are currently identifying candidates for the committee and hope to have this group in place by the end of the month.

The Spring Street Committee will turn its attention to rethinking the newspaper, starting with the Sunday edition. It will feed ideas both to the redesign committee and the various sections. Marc Duvoisin will continue to head the group. Several founding members are departing, creating some openings on the committee. If you're interested in serving, please contact Marc.

Blogs: Effective today, there's a moratorium on new blogs on latimes.com. We're going to take several weeks to analyze the two-dozen or so ones we have, how they're performing and if we have the right mix. During this period, Betty Rinehart and her crew will provide supplemental training for the existing bloggers and develop the criteria and a process for adding new ones.

What's new at latimes.com: For the Super Bowl, check out www.latimes.com/keyplays - a totally different way to present a story. The package was conceived by Jevon Phillips and put together by Michael McGehee, Carlos Uribe and Stephanie Ferrell with commentary from Lonnie White, our football columnist in Sports.

The very popular vehicular video columns on the web - Dan Neil's "Rumble Seat" and Susan Carpenter's "Throttle Jockey," both produced by John VandeWege - are setting up shop on youtube.com in an effort to steer eyeballs toward latimes.com.

Finally, if you haven't already, check out www.mylatimes.com, which allows you to customize the news.

I hope you find this update helpful. We'll provide them on a regular basis early on as we get this bird off the ground.

Russ Stanton
Innovation Editor
O: (213) 237-xxxx
C: (213) 241-xxxx
E-mail: russ.stanton@latimes.com

* Also: Resident PBS web sage Mark Glaser parodies the Times' lurching steps toward a new web strategy, via LA Voice. Excerpt:

OMalley was asked how this new web initiative would differ from the past 12 web initiatives announced with great fanfare by the Herald-Gazette since 1996.

This time we really mean it when we say the web is important to our news organization, he said, with a straight face.


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