Atlantic Media has announced that Ron Fournier, the Associated Press's Washington bureau chief, will take the new job of running the whole National Journal family of publications (standard disclosure: I previously worked at National Journal and Government Executive, and continue to write a column for TheAtlantic.com). It's not a job for the faint of heart, and Bradley explains why he has confidence in Fournier in an email to the company that's below the jump here, calling him "an uncompromised hire." It's an interesting turn of phrase, considering Bradley was rumored to have courted the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza for the job first.
But to me, the most illuminating part of the memo isn't actually about Fournier. It's the fact that 600 people have applied for the 30 reporting jobs the company is looking to fill in the National Journal Group after buying out large swaths of the senior staff. I'd been curious as to how the restructuring would affect the company's reputation as a place to work. The answer, apparently, is not very much.
Earlier today – actually minutes ago – Justin and I reached agreement with Ron Fournier, Washington Bureau Chief of the Associated Press, to join us as Editor-in-Chief of the National Journal Group. The title and position are new to the company. Ron will be the first editor responsible for all of the editorial product of the National Journal publications including the National Journal magazine, nationaljournal.com, CongressDaily, The Hotline, the Almanac of American Politics and Global Security Newswire.
Though we met only three years ago, Ron’s name has been whispered to me since my first days in Washington journalism. With genuine admiration, some of our most-talented colleagues have talked about Ron as among that small handful of the finest political reporters and editors in generations of Washington reporting. His particular gifts, unceasing focus on breaking news and original political analysis, are the first-among-equal disciplines we need to advance within our publications.
Ron has spent the better part of his career – 20 years – with the AP. Starting with a Little Rock posting, covering President Clinton’s second term as governor, moving to Washington to report on the new President, Ron has worked through the AP ranks. For the last two years, Ron has served as Washington Bureau Chief for the AP, leading a staff of over 100 writers and editors covering the national scene. I will attach a copy of Ron’s bio to this note.
In my judgment, the recruitment of Ron Fournier represents an uncompromised hire for the National Journal Group. Justin and I want to thank Charlie Green and Ron Brownstein for their leadership role in the search. Like Ron Fournier, both are extreme talent.
Today is a good start. The enterprise now addresses the recruitment of 30 new writers and editors worthy of their colleagues already here. (To date, we have received 600 applications with 200 names referred to us by the best journalists in Washington.) Our fixed intention is, as it has been throughout, to be wholly nonpartisan and manifestly the highest-end media enterprise in Washington.
Ron will arrive in our offices as soon as he completes his obligations with the AP. I hope you will join me in welcoming him.