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Nov. 25, 2013, 1:41 p.m.
LINK: www.nytimes.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   November 25, 2013

The Times’ own Christine Haughney has the news:

Bruce Headlam, editor of the media desk at The New York Times since 2008, has been named managing editor of video content development. He will succeed Richard L. Berke, who recently left The Times to join Politico…

In Mr. Headlam’s new role, he will report directly to Ms. Abramson. The move also marks a change to the video desk’s organizational structure. Rebecca Howard, the general manager of video production, who previously reported to Ms. Abramson and Denise F. Warren, the executive vice president for digital products and services, will now report just to Ms. Warren.

Headlam will be familiar to anyone who saw Page One, and his departure adds to the recent turnover on the Times’ media desk, with Brian Stelter having just left for CNN and Ravi Somaiya joining the team. But the interesting part here is the shift away from Howard being part of both the editorial and business-side infrastructure of the Times.

We interviewed Howard about her role back in May:

My role is really unique for the company, not only because video is a relatively new initiative, but it also reports up through the business side as well as the editorial side. So I like to tell people I’m from the Land of the Dual Report. It’s not really anything that’s been done here before. Usually it’s church and state between editorial and the business side, so my role is quite unique for The New York Times. And other probably similar publishers. It’s pretty interesting in that regard…

I think as far as my duties and obligations and responsibilities, it’s really important that we’re remaining true to the editorial strength of The New York Times and feeling the need to continue to monetize and figure out new ways to monetize video and to grow video. Those two things really need to be and in hand. You have to protect the editorial voice as you figure out new ways to monetize. I think having someone who is overseeing both is actually really important in this case.

In Joe Hagan’s August piece on the Times under CEO Mark Thompson, he cited Howard’s arrival as a dual-report as a jarring event in the newsroom:

And in February, it was Thompson who hired a general manager of video production, Rebecca Howard of AOL and the Huffington Post, to oversee the new video push. Though she was billed as part of a “video-journalism” effort, Howard is a business executive with an office in the editorial suites. When it was announced that the video unit would be reporting to the corporate side of the paper, “Jill [Abramson] was clearly shaken by it,” says a person who was in meetings with her.

These sorts of dual-report positions have become increasingly common at many newspaper companies; I remember all the way back to 2009 when the idea of broaching the business/news wall was still new at respectable dailies.

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