- The Washington Times - Monday, January 4, 2010

The Washington Times filled several top positions in the newsroom and on its business side over the weekend, as it introduced a two-section, local print edition that emphasizes the newspaper’s historically strong coverage in the areas of political, national security, and investigative coverage, as well as opinion.

Award-winning investigative editor Jerry Seper will be appointing additional reporters, and best-selling author and longtime national security reporter Bill Gertz was named geopolitics editor.

Sol W. Sanders was selected as international business editor. Mr. Sanders is a veteran foreign correspondent and former editor at BusinessWeek, U.S. News & World Report and Global Affairs.

Robert Morton, formerly managing editor of The Times National Weekly, has been appointed associate publisher.

“A free society now requires the watchdog function of the media more than ever,” said Jonathan Slevin, president and publisher of The Times. “The Washington Times is committed to that role as a serious trustee of the national interest through the caliber of its reporting, editorials and commentary.”

Thomas Culligan, the newly appointed senior vice president of The Times, said the newspaper’s focus is “also responding to what readers say they want.”

“They come to The Times for deep news and commentary,” said Mr. Culligan, who assumed his position after having been The Times’ chief revenue and marketing officer.

“Readers all across the country are looking to us to provide sound information,” Mr. Culligan said. “They want to know who’s accountable.”

Starting with this edition, The Times’ local print edition will consist of an A section providing exclusive coverage from the nation’s capital and a hard-hitting B section featuring opinion, editorials and cultural coverage.

Commentary will be expanded, and the second section will include daily book reviews and a two-page book review section on Fridays. The daily crossword puzzle, Sudoku and comics page will continue.

Mr. Gertz has written several best-selling books, and his intelligence and defense exclusives have made him well-known among top-level defense and intelligence officials in China, Russia and the United States. China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency in 2006 identified him as the No. 1 “anti-China expert” in the world, though Mr. Gertz insists he is pro-China because he supports the Chinese people’s efforts to have a democratic system there.

“The Times is known widely for its aggressive news reporting on national and international security affairs and I plan to uphold that tradition under our new formats,” Mr. Gertz said.

Mr. Sanders has written several books on international business and security issues and served as deputy mission chief at the World Bank’s Tokyo regional office.

According to Mr. Slevin, Mr. Morton’s new job is broad and includes specific responsibilities for online editions. He has also been editor in chief of the New York City Tribune, and editor or publisher of an international news service, a quarterly journal on geopolitics, and subscription-based e-letters covering geostrategic issues. Joe Schaefer was promoted from assistant editor to managing editor of the National Weekly.

Karyn Gruenberg, marketing director for The Times, said market research indicates that “focused” publications fare better in a highly competitive media environment. “The paper remains a general-interest newspaper,” Ms. Gruenberg added.

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