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Washington Times Seeks “Visionary” to Replace Pruden
Conservative newspaper in search of new executive editor.
A New York headhunting firm is interviewing prospects for the Executive Editor post at Washington’s conservative broadsheet. The job description answers two pressing questions about the Washington Times:
• Wesley Pruden, who has been at the helm of the paper since 1992, is ready to retire, a prospect he forecast in an interview in 2005.
• The paper remains firmly in the grasp of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church, because the prospective executive editor has to meet this qualification: “Has respect for the vision of the founder of News World Communications and The Washington Times, which aims to further the values of faith, family and freedom, while conveying a global awareness, urbanity and sensitivity.”
Pruden, 70, joined the Washington Times in 1982, four months after it was founded. He became managing editor in 1985 and editor in chief in 1992. He could not be reached for comment. An assistant said he was “traveling.”
Managing editor Fran Coombs says he is interested in Pruden’s job when he retires. He says he has been interviewed for the job, as have other candidates.
The Washington Times has served as a reliable voice for conservative views. Its coverage of the White House blossomed during the Reagan administration, when it became a champion for conservative causes and points of view.
The newspaper’s circulation has hovered around 100,000, far below that of the dominant Washington Post, which has a daily circulation of just under 700,000. The Times has never been a commercial success. Subsidies from Reverend Moon’s commercial enterprises have been estimated at more than $2 billion.
The Times is looking for an executive editor who has “Experience with cultural change and possible reorganization in the newsroom. Has managed change successfully.”
Like most publications, the Times wants to expand its reach via the Internet. The job listing says, “Now The Washington Times is striving to better serve its readers by enhancing its presence on the Internet, with the goal of becoming one of the Web’s top 10 news sites. To that end, the company is embarking on a dramatic overhaul of the site’s look and feel—not just a visual redesign, but a complete rethinking of how to create a highly recognized interactive portal designed to attract more unique visitors; generate more page views; increase the duration of its readers’ visits; and grow new revenue streams.”
The job description does not mention salary.
THE HOWARD•SLOAN•KOLLER GROUP
Executive Search, Recruitment and Management Consultants 300 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017
212 661-5250 * Fax 212 557-9178
CONFIDENTIAL POSITION DESCRIPTION
Company: The Washington Times Company
Position Title: Executive Editor, The Washington Times
Reports to: President and Publisher, The Washington Times
Location: Washington, DC
The Washington Times was founded in 1982 to provide an alternative source for news and commentary in the nation’s capital, which had become a one-newspaper town. Over the past 25 years, The Washington Times has distinguished itself with hard-hitting investigative and political reporting, award-winning photography and groundbreaking graphic design. The Times has become one of the most influential newspapers in the world, a must-read for government leaders here and abroad.
Now The Washington Times is striving to better serve its readers by enhancing its presence on the Internet, with the goal of becoming one of the Web’s top 10 news sites. To that end, the company is embarking on a dramatic overhaul of the site’s look and feel—not just a visual redesign, but a complete rethinking of how to create a highly recognized interactive portal designed to attract more unique visitors; generate more page views; increase the duration of its readers’ visits; and grow new revenue streams.
The Washington Times leadership, having fully committed to the broad scope of a new, aggressive strategic plan, expects, in the months and years to come, that actions taken now will result in significantly improved news and information products, better financial performance, and enduring “brand” equity.
The Executive Editor has final responsibility for all content—print and online—providing leadership, creative vision and editorial direction. He or she delivers compelling news that meets the market demands, relevant consumer news consumption practices, and fiscal concerns, as set forth …
Profile of the Ideal Candidate
• Visionary and strategic.
• Dedicated to the highest values, standards and principles of quality journalism. Track record of successfully leading journalists in the high ideals of the profession.
• Brings an embracing spirit of innovation to an editorial stewardship that understands how to deliver compelling news in any format - print, web, blogs, mobile, podcast or broadcast - and coincides with business objectives.
• Leads by example; hands-on.
• Has a thorough understanding of and devotion to the highest ethical standards of the journalism profession.
• Has respect for the vision of the founder of News World Communications and The Washington Times, which aims to further the values of faith, family and freedom, while conveying a global awareness, urbanity and sensitivity.
• Comfortable with a center-right Editorial Page perspective.
• Understands and respects the commercial complexities of the news business and relevant competitive market conditions.
• Has a progressive approach to information technologies and changing media behaviors, calling for cutting edge delivery of news.
• Has DC/political experience. Savvy understanding of the nuances of Washington, DC politics and culture as an ambassador of a news organization that moves in the power circles of government and business.
• Ability to navigate inside-the-Beltway influences, but approaches news from the perspective of an informed consumer with outside-the-Beltway interests.
• Hands-on style with reporters balanced by rigorous experience managing relations with a global network of news sources.
• Leadership ethic that inspires newsroom habits and practices resulting in efficiency, effectiveness and excellence.
• Leadership approach that embraces change and nurtures a culture of innovation, creativity and excellence.
• Experience with cultural change and possible reorganization in the newsroom. Has managed change successfully.
• Outstanding character and integrity.
• Passion for journalism in a free society, unfettered by government constraints to a free society.
• Appreciates the importance of America’s prudent application of its economic, military and cultural power in a complicated world, and a viewpoint that The Washington Times as a “social business” can make a difference with a corporate commitment and editorial mission that encompasses aggressive coverage of human rights globally and to advancing the cause of world peace.
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