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In 2005 when Andrew Donohue and I took over Voice of San Diego, we settled a lot of issues. We decided, for instance, that we would only cover something if we thought we could do it better or different than anyone else.
That was a core principle that led us to be hyper-focused yet always different. It served us well.
But one of the things we never quite figured out was our rhythm. Were we a daily news system, an hourly one? We took weekends off but some days we published many different interesting stories. Others, we might post just one. And it might have been something we had to rush to get done.
We decided that we would try to produce one good thing every day. A nice idea, but it never really worked out that way. We ended up with a major tension between doing investigative work and trying to get something good posted every single day.
Now, Voice of San Diego is approaching the 10th anniversary of its launch, Feb. 9, 2005. We have decided to shake things up a bit to mark it.
That week, we’re going to re-launch Voice of San Diego. There will be a new website. I know we’ve switched a lot but we finally got a grant and some professional help to fix some deep problems.
Something else is changing, however, that will probably be both more important and yet less obvious to readers right away. We’re undergoing a transformation of how we produce our journalism. We are putting in place a new process, a new deadline system, new editorial meetings and a new approach that we think will ensure we’re always doing the highest quality work possible.
We think we may have finally addressed the daily tension by being more proactive for how we schedule our big projects and investigations. Weeks now may have themes or our stories might roll out each day in a way that we’ve actually thought about in more depth.
We’re going to emphasize the most compelling stories and get rid of some of the practices that have often led us to produce work without the impact, reach and legacy that we want.
This is just internal news that won’t matter to many of you. But it’s coming with a re-organization of sorts that I wanted to make public.
To oversee the change and the new system, I will take over the role of editor in chief. My official title will be CEO/editor in chief. Mary Walter-Brown has been promoted to COO/publisher. She will have a broad portfolio of responsibilities — everything from making sure we have enough money to managing our internal culture.
Managing editor Sara Libby and I are going to partner on this editorial process. Her skills as a manager and editor are making these big plans possible.
My value is in storytelling and creating editorial products, and I felt like we finally have a system that will allow me to focus most of my effort on those things.
We have had a very successful fundraising year and to me that means we need to have a great 2015. That’s what these changes are about and I look forward to rolling them out in coming weeks.