Reorganization continues in Orlando Sentinel newsroom

The much-talked about reorganization of the Orlando Sentinel newsroom continued on Tuesday, according to AME/Visuals Bonita Burton, who gave The Blog some more insight into the shakeup.

Burton tells The Blog that the Sentinel entered into “Phase 2” of its reorganization, which will eliminate two dozen positions in the newsroom while refocusing the staff toward new multimedia coverage goals. And she gives us the lowdown on how those new top spots in metro reporting will be filled.
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In “Phase 1” of the process, the Sentinel created three new top-level positions, which were posted internally to allow staff members the opportunity to apply for those jobs. Burton said those spots were created by repositioning the paper’s metro coverage into three teams:

  • The Public Service team … headed by an AME, who reports to the managing editor. This team will focus on watchdog content from government, schools, environment, NASA and transportation beats.
  • The Breaking News team … headed by an editor reporting to the M.E. and AME/Online. This team will focus on criminal justice, weather/transit and general assignment. It will also include oversight of the “A.M. Team,” which will start at 5 a.m. to work on morning Web reports. Burton said two photojournalists will work with that team, as well.
  • The Communities team … headed by an editor reporting to the M.E. and AME/Online. This team is comprised of four bureaus with responsibility for hyperlocal coverage on the Web and user-generated, reverse-published content.

The Sentinel’s new AME is David Collins, who started at the paper in 1998 as … wait for it … yes! — a page designer/copy editor. As a bureau chief in 2005, Collins won the Sentinel’s Leadership Award for leading the drive for change in Volusia County, a competitive area for the paper. And since January, he has been leading the newsroom at nights and Sundays. Before coming to the Sentinel, Collins was the AME/Design at the St. Augustine Record.

Burton reports that “Phase 2” in Orlando will involve filling Collins’ old position as well as 18 other editing positions — including a new Design Editor/Multimedia on her visuals team. On May 16, the editing appointments will be announced. And 16 new reporting jobs will be announced on May 21. Openings created by internal changes will also need to be filled after that time.

And starting June 11, the reorganization will go into full swing.

The Blog wishes everyone in Orlando the best of luck during the reorganization process. And The Blog thanks Bonita for keeping us all in the loop on all the changes happening at the Sentinel.

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