Editors and writers at the Asbury Park Press are vying to keep their jobs in Executive Editor Hollis R. Towns’ “Newsroom of the Future.”
Gannett, the owner of the paper, announced on August 5 that it is separating into two publicly held companies. APP will be part of a publishing company that will be debt free and own the company’s newspapers including USA Today and 81 local daily newspapers and their affiliated websites. The more profitable broadcasting and digital divisions will be folded into a company that will assume the existing debt and consists of the 46 television stations the company owns or services as well as the websites Cars.com and CareerBuider.com. The publishing company will retain the Gannett name.
The following day, Towns announced on app.com and the paper’s front page that he, along with the executive editors of four other of Gannett properties were charged with creating the “newsroom of the future.” There will be fewer editors and more reporters who will hang out in coffee shops and delis hunting for stories that they will be able to post to app.com without a gatekeeper reviewing their work. And there will be public events like the Sleep Con event they hosted with an advertiser earlier this month where readers could pay $10 to learn how to sleep better by buying a mattress from the advertiser.
What Towns didn’t announce publicly was that current Asbury Park Press employees had to apply to keep their jobs. “To be hired into the Newsroom of the Future” is how is was spun in Neptune.
Editors completed the interviews to be managers in the Newsroom of the Future last week. On Friday evening at 5:18, Towns sent an email announcing the winners. MMM obtained the email. The list of new managers can be viewed here.
Those not hired as managers include State Editor John Schoonejongen, Metro Editor Lisa Kruse and Assistant Metro Editor/Ocean County Joseph Cacchioli. Three management positions, Accountability Coach, Storytelling Coach and Regional Features Planner, have yet to be filled, according to Towns’ email.
Towns said in his email that interviews for non-management positions will begin this coming week. Current reporters, “staff writers” and those who did not make the management cut, will find out of they have jobs when that process is complete.