‘Wash Times’ Triples White House Team, Launches News Service

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By: Joe Strupp

Days after The Washington Post revealed plans to double its White House reporting team — from two to four — the rival Washington Times is upping its coverage, from one to three scribes.

In addition, the Times is also launching a news service today that it promotes as an a la carte option to standard syndicate outlets.

In a memo to staffers last week, Executive Editor John Solomon revealed the lone White House beat position is tripling with the new Obama Administration. He writes that Stephen Dinan will serve as White House bureau chief, “leading a team that also includes Christina Bellantoni and Jon Ward.”

In addition, the two-person Capitol Hill reporting corps will grow to three with the new congress, Solomon says. Those covering congress will be
David Sands, S.A. Miller, and Kara Rowland.

“We want to do a great job distinguishing ourselves and covering the administration and Congress,” Solomon, whose paper tends to lean conservative, told E&P Monday. “There are many issues on the table, we want to cover it appropriately.”

His memo also announced two new beat assignments to “work in the seams between Congress and the White House to break stories.” Those are filled by Sean Lengell, a new health care policy writer, and Tom LoBianco, who moves from Annapolis to cover energy and the environment.

The memo, sent Thursday, adds: “In the shadows of this historic election, we now must ready ourselves to shine again with our coverage of the new administration and the new Congress. The transition period is an essential time for us to ‘source up’ and be prepared for a new government come January. We’re committed to providing our readers — and our new wire service clients — the broadest, fastest and most original report from the nation’s capital each day, and that means putting substantial new resources into our coverage of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.”

The mention of wire service clients refers to the new Washington Times News Service that debuts today in beta and is already providing copy to “several dozen news outlets,” Solomon said, but did not provide specific clients.

“It is an a la carte wire service where you can go in and look at everything and buy want you want,” he says. “There is also a [pay one price] buffet option”

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