The New York Times has named a new assistant manager in charge of growing its audience and engagement, as the paper of record continues its post-Jill Abramson efforts to develop digital properties.
Alex MacCallum has made the rare shift from the business side of the company to the editorial masthead and will report directly to executive editor Dean Baquet and editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal, who authored a letter announcing the move.
MacCallum is being asked to “build a team devoted to using search, social and other strategies to draw more people to our news articles and editorials,” they wrote.
MacCallum’s new position is one that had been called for in the leaked “innovation report” that the Times assembled to address its digital shortcomings.
“There should be a senior newsroom leader in charge of Audience Development, but this effort should be everyone’s job,” the report stated.
“Audience Development needs to be a goal for the whole company. But the newsroom, in particular, must seize a leadership position,” the report stated.
The Times has had a tumultuous few months after the sudden firing of Jill Abramson, the paper’s former executive editor.
The innovation report leak was followed by an earnings report that detailed a decline in ad sales that had not been covered by the company’s new subscription products. The launch of mobile-friendly subscription apps NYT Now and NYT Opinion garnered plenty of attention but not enough subscribers to offset its advertising struggles and prevent profit from falling.
MacCallum, who worked on the company’s new cooking vertical, will now need to increase subscriber numbers for those apps as well as the broader site.