Longtime Washington Post Metro columnist Marc Fisher will soon be leaving his post for a job editing a small band of journalists with a special mission at the Post, according to several sources. Though it doesn’t yet have an official name, Fisher’s unit will focus on breaking news and enterprise stories in the Washington region. It’ll operate under the paper’s reorganized local news desk, but don’t necessarily think of this beast as just a Metro thing: Fisher’s people will reportedly file pieces for various sections of the paper, in a bureaucratic free agency of sorts.
At this stage, some aspects of the operation remain undetermined. Like size—-the exact number of staffers in this local-but-not-overtly-local journalistic SWAT team hasn’t been finalized but will likely fall below ten. And there are no indications just who will fill the slots in this local-but-highly-versatile journalistic Rapid Deployment Team, but dozens of individuals in the newsroom who’ve had success combining legible sentences with independently gathered information have reportedly applied for positions.
On paper, this local-but-boundary-smashing journalistic Navy SEAL outfit seems like a great idea for the Washington Post. Yet it’s unclear just how any organ in the revamped Washington Post will actually get its work in the paper. With its goal of producing for various sections, Fisher’s locally oriented and highly motivated corps of journalistic EMS technicians could run into a slew of bureaucratic problems.
Whatever you call the unit, there’ll be some pretty heavy institutional pressure on Post management to make this thing a success. That’s in part because you don’t just take your flagship columnist—-a guy who has produced great stuff for the Web and the paper for nearly a decade—-and put him behind a desk for nothing.