Brauchli Announces Major WaPo Changes

This morning the following memo was sent to WaPo staffers from managing editor Marcus Brauchli, announcing major reorganization changes, including changes to personnel, coverage groups and the universal news desk.
Effective May 1st, Kevin Merida has been named National Editor, Emilio Garcia-Ruiz named Local Editor and Sandy Sugawara named Editor of the Universal Desk. Also, when WaPo‘s print and online desks merge, Scott Vance will become News Editor.
Brauchli will hold a town hall meeting today at 2pm to address any staffers’ questions.

To the staff:
Today, we are beginning a reorganization to create newreporting groups, streamline editing desks and anticipate the impending integration of our print and digital news operations.
The changes reinforce our longstanding belief in great reporting and writing as the vital center of The Post’s journalism. We want to empower journalists and encourage them to work across departments and platforms. In addition, we want to simplify the handling of words, pages, images and new media, building on the prescient move to “two-touch” editing under Len and Phil. Decisions about space and play must happen faster, both in print and online, and in a way that pulls together our now-separate newsrooms. A single editor ultimately ought to be able to oversee all versions of a story, whether it appears in print, online or on a BlackBerry or iPhone. Space in the newspaper and editing firepower in general should be allocated based on a day’s news priorities, not a predetermined formula.
These changes will alter the way we do things, but they will not affect the commitment to journalistic depth, authority and excellence that has defined The Post. Just the reverse: We think these steps will help us to adapt more easily to the economic and technological challenges that face us, while preserving the best of our traditions and values.

Memo continues after the jump…

Key Personnel Changes:
In keeping with our strategic focus on serving readers in and interested in Washington, we will put most news reporters under two senior editors, a National Editor and a Local Editor. Much first-line editing, copyediting and production will occur on a new Universal News Desk under another senior editor. Together with the executive editor, the managing editors and the deputy managing editor, these people will form the core leadership of the newsroom.
– Kevin Merida, now Assistant Managing Editor for National News, will become National Editor.
– Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, now Assistant Managing Editor for Sports and Weekend Editor, will become Local Editor.
– Sandy Sugawara, now Assistant Managing Editor for Business, will become Editor of the Universal Desk.
These changes, which become effective May 1, will set in motion other personnel moves.
– Scott Vance, now Assistant Managing Editor for News online, will become News Editor when our print and online desks merge, working closely with the National and Local editors to drive coverage across platforms.
– Bill Hamilton remains Enterprise Editor, working for Liz and helping to guide many major projects into the paper and online.
– Bob McCartney, now Assistant Managing Editor for Metro News, will become a columnist on metropolitan affairs.
– Matt Vita, now Emilio’s deputy, will become Sports Editor.
– Greg Schneider, now Sandy’s deputy, will assume responsibility for Business.
Coverage Groups:
Local, National and Business reporters and editors who “commission” or drive coverage will be organized into coverage groups. Decisions about what we cover and who should handle what story will be made by the leaders of these reporting groups. Each reporting group will be responsible for a specific area of coverage and be led by an editor and probably at least one deputy, who may also write.