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Washington Post Folds Storyline into Wonkblog

A rare contraction in the ever-expanding Bezos era.

The Washington Post will combine Storyline, a data-driven storytelling site it launched last July, with Wonkblog. Both verticals cover public policy.

Staffers were told Monday afternoon that Storyline and Wonkblog would become one.

When we looked at the best way to maximize readership of our public policy reporting, we recognized that having one central hub made the most sense,” the Post’s national economy and business editor, Gregory Schneider, tells Washingtonian.

The Post conceived Storyline as a complement to Wonkblog after Wonkblog founder Ezra Klein left the publication to cofound Vox.com. Before Storyline even had a name, Schneider and fellow business editor David Cho said it would “tell stories through the voices of ordinary Americans, we will tell stories with numbers, and we will tell stories with our users’ help.”

Jim Tankersley, who joined the Post in late 2012, was named Storyline’s editor, and the initiative launched with a fair amount of trumpeting, including some good press and a snazzy video. He’ll remain Storyline’s editor, Schneider says.

Schneider says the integration will make it “easier for more reporters to contribute the types of stories seen on Storyline, without confusion over where they should live on the site.” Storyline staffers are part of the paper’s financial team, and the project will still have staffers dedicated to it, he says, but they’ll “have the flexibility to contribute to other beats within Financial” and they’ll also contribute to Wonkblog, whose ranks will grow.

A Storyline piece published not long after the launch took a gruesome editor’s note that said a source had lied to reporter Jeff Guo. Post media blogger Erik Wemple questioned some of the editorial choices on the story, including the decision to describe events as if Guo had witnessed them, which he had not.

Since Jeff Bezos bought the Post in 2013 the publication has added more than 100 newsroom employees and sought a larger national and international audience. This change to Storyline would seem to be a rare contraction.

But Schneider says the move will benefit the Post‘s audience. “We think this change makes it easier for our readers to find the kind of public policy reporting they are looking for, and to continue to present more of it across the board,” he says.

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Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.