jueves, 17 de agosto de 2017

¿A quién le interesa la reunión de portada?

Gran artículo en The New York Times. Se lo copio antes de que nos cobren.

Slug. Spike. Cut and paste.

Some newspaper terms have outlived the physical reality they once described.

Here’s another: Page 1 meeting room.

Never mind that the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper is no longer the lodestar of The New York Times and that the formal gathering known as the Page 1 meeting was given up two years ago.

Dean Baquet, the executive editor, and Joseph Kahn, the managing editor, have announced that a central newsroom meeting space will open this year as part of the renovation of our headquarters. They called it the “new Page 1 room.”

“A square of couches will replace the current vast conference table in an effort to foster a meeting more like the informal coverage conversations that happen in our offices; glass walls will promote transparency and, along with the room’s location, make the space more accessible to the rest of the newsroom,” they told the staff. “When not in use for a meeting, Page 1 will serve as a lounge of sorts available to anyone who wants to get away from their desk to work or meet casually.”

Long ago, all you needed for a Page 1 meeting at The Times was the space between Raymond H. McCaw’s ears. Mr. McCaw became the night managing editor in 1930. From a partitioned enclosure called the bullpen, where a powerful herd of nightside editors sat, he effectively ruled the paper. “McCaw had final say about editing of stories, their space allotment and position, and, most important, which stories would appear on Page 1,” Arthur Gelb wrote in his book “City Room.”

In 1946, however, an up-and-coming assistant managing editor, Turner Catledge, began holding a daily news conference at 4:30 p.m., to which the city, national, foreign, financial and sports editors were invited, as well as the bullpen editors. It was so impromptu at first that the editors met standing up. In “My Life and The Times,” Mr. Catledge explained: “The Times newsroom had no conference table (a problem that was overcorrected in later years when we had too many).

“Each editor would report to me on the news he had for the next day,” Mr. Catledge wrote, “and soon the editors would be discussing and criticizing their own stories and those of the other departments. I think some of the editors felt that these daily meetings were a threat to their longstanding autonomy (I certainly regarded them as such), yet to a greater degree I think the meetings were appreciated for giving the paper a central focus that had not existed for a long time.”

After Mr. Catledge became managing editor in 1951, the news conference moved into his office, which had a table that could seat about a dozen editors. During A. M. Rosenthal’s years as managing editor and executive editor, beginning in 1969, a preliminary news conference was held at 3:45 p.m. among deputy or assistant editors, followed by a 5:15 meeting in which department heads battled one another for the few precious slots on the front page.

The Page 1 meeting was moved to 5 o’clock under Max Frankel, who succeeded Mr. Rosenthal in 1986. “I let nothing take precedence over this 40-minute discussion among all the top editors of the 20-odd stories that department heads nominated for possible front-page display,” Mr. Frankel wrote in “The Times of My Life and My Life With The Times.” “I invited all their opinions before choosing six or seven articles and two or three photographs and then presiding over the page’s design.”

“To encourage candid conversation, I admitted only a few visitors to these meetings,” Mr. Frankel continued. “I turned down scores of requests from writers and filmmakers who wanted to record these conferences.” The first dedicated Page 1 meeting room — not part of the executive editor’s suite — opened in 1998, less than a decade before The Times moved out of its longtime headquarters at 229 West 43rd Street. The windowless, charm-free room was placed at the top of an open staircase that was meant to knit together the third and fourth floors of the newsroom.

It was easily outdone by the glass-fronted Page 1 meeting room awaiting the senior editors at the company’s new headquarters, 620 Eighth Avenue, designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, FXFowle and Gensler, which is also working on the current renovation and consolidation of The Times’s space.

Dominating the room like an aircraft carrier with a flight deck of European cherry is a bowed table 25 feet long and 10 feet wide. You can’t actually land a Boeing Super Hornet on it, but you can seat 24 editors together. (Sometimes an equally challenging proposition.) Two dozen more attendees can watch from two long observers’ desks on either side of the room.

Like most furniture at 620 Eighth Avenue, the table was made by UniFor of Turate, Italy. It can be disassembled into 13 separate sections for storage, which is its current fate.

Two years ago, acknowledging the ascendance of mobile devices, Mr. Baquet changed the principal function of the meeting room. “The big daily free-for-all for editors to pitch their stories is no longer called the Page 1 meeting,” Kyle Massey wrote for Times Insider. “It is the 4:30 news meeting, and the printed front page is not on the agenda. A separate meeting for selecting front-page items will now be held at 3:30 p.m. with far fewer editors in attendance.”

Mr. Baquet said at the time that he was interested in finding a new name for the room. Readers suggested “Home Page,” “One Page,” “First Look,” “First Impressions,” “Brave New World” and “Landing Strip.”

Mr. Baquet and Mr. Kahn have done the right thing.

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