The Times Leader Media Group's newsroom was reorganized Wednesday to put more reporters in the field and get news online faster.
Now, all of the group's reporters will use the same planning system. When their stories are filed, they will be edited and posted online. Editors will curate that content and decide in which publications it will run.
“That will enable reporters and editors to deliver news and information in a more organized and expedient way,” Executive Editor George Spohr said. “Redundancies are being eliminated, and dividing lines between departments that have been holding us back will disappear.”
While some positions were eliminated, the newsroom's headcount won't change because an equal number of new positions are being created. In fact, this structure makes two former part-time positions full-time.
The newsroom has been divided into five teams:
• Local News: Dan Burnett will lead the Local News team, which consists of editors and reporters working out of the Wilkes-Barre newsroom. Among those editors will be Roger DuPuis, The Times Leader's court reporter, who has been promoted to Assistant Local News Editor.
• Local Sports: Alicia Johnson will lead the Local Sports team, which will handle sports coverage for all of The Times Leader Media Group's publications. Previously, sports coverage had been planned individually for the group's papers in Wilkes-Barre, Dallas, Pittston and Clarks Summit.
• Arts & Entertainment: Sarah Haase will lead the Arts & Entertainment team, which produces content for The Guide, Weekender, and The Times Leader's daily, local feature sections. Haase, who joins the group on July 23, has worked at newspapers and magazines in New York and Oregon.
• Multimedia: Clark Van Orden will lead the Multimedia team. While the team's primary emphasis will remain on photography, its role will extend to video, as well as overseeing visuals for digital and social products.
• Community News Group: Dotty Martin will lead the Community News Group, which consists of editors and reporters working out of the Wilkes-Barre, Pittston and Clarks Summit newsrooms, and which produces content for The Dallas Post, Sunday Dispatch, The Abington Journal and GoLackawanna.com. Sarah Hite Hando, a former Times Leader journalist, has been hired as Assistant Community News Group Editor. She starts July 21.
The changes will benefit readers immediately, Spohr said.
Before the reorganization, reporters in the Back Mountain, Greater Pittston and the Abingtons wrote stories on a schedule suited for their weekly publications. Now that they will write for online audiences each day, and those communities will see more frequent updates, he said. Additionally, since those reporters also will write for The Times Leader, reporters in Wilkes-Barre have time to tell even more stories.
“This new structure provides us with the flexibility to converge new technologies with old processes that will result in more timely and comprehensive news for our readers,” said Walt Lafferty, general manager and regional business development director of The Times Leader Media Group.