Reuters, union talk spot news desk in DC
The guild posted this update on its website:
Candappa told the Guild side that the idea behind the “spot news” desk was to address a concern that the bureau has too often lagged the competition in disseminating spot news. Management identified what it considered structural deficiencies, he said, and aims to remedy them with the spot news team, which would focus on “monitoring and snapping,” and would be built on top of the existing breaking news team.
This new desk would play a critical role in snapping, covering pick-ups and original reporting in the bureau. The two sides discussed its importance at length, with intense focus on the challenge of getting Guild reporters to join it without fear of jeopardizing their beat reporting careers. Management is looking to staff the team with about 15 people, scaled back from the originally announced two dozen.
The Guild side suggested starting with six-month voluntary assignments, and managers expressed the hope that they would not have to resort to a rotation or draft to fill what Candappa described as “heroic” roles. Managers agreed with the Guild’s observation that drafting staff against their will was a likely recipe for individual failure and a threat to the operation.
Guild participants also asked whether Washington beats like the Agriculture Department, Homeland Security, tax and transportation, which have been uncovered for some time, will ever be staffed again. The response was that some beats will remain uncovered, some will not, and there will likely be a few new hires. Either way, Candappa emphasized that beat reporters need “to think about sourcing around stories and not around buildings.”
In addition to getting the spot news team running by the end of January, management wants to put together a nucleus of reporters and editors to cover the 2016 election campaign, Candappa said. That team would be led by the new Washington bureau chief, whose hire he hopes to announce by the end of the first quarter. So far no candidates, either internal or external, have been identified, he said.
Read more here.