Andrew Beaujon now covers the press for the Poynter Foundation. Photo courtesy Ewa Beaujon
I love stories that start with "I knew him when." And this is a good one. Richmonders may remember Andrew Beaujon from the award-winning "Save Richmond" blog he founded in 2003 with wife Ewa Beaujon and local writer and editor Don Harrison.
The blog stopped operations in 2009, and Beaujon, who moved to Alexandria a few years ago, went on to work as managing editor for the Washington City Paper, an alternative weekly, and as arts editor of TBD.com, a merger of two D.C. television newsdesks and their respective websites.
In Beaujon's new job as the Poynter Foundation's media reporter at MediaWire ( poynter.org/mediawire ), he keeps tabs on enterprising bloggers, papers, magazines and TV networks, as well as the companies that own them.
Media junkies are familiar with Jim Romenesko, who held a slightly different version of Beaujon's job and made the site — run by Florida's Poynter Institute, a community-minded journalism school that also owns the Tampa Bay Times — a daily stop for many journalists.
Beaujon, who started with Poynter in February after leaving the now-defunct TBD, writes longer posts with more voice and opinion than Romenesko's, and he has help from Poynter.org managing editor Steve Myers and digital media fellow Jeff Sonderman. "It definitely was scary to move into the job," says Beaujon, professing his admiration for Romenesko's work. "So far, I'm pretty happy."
His goals are to "inform and, to a lesser extent, delight Poynter's audience." Oh, and "not get fired." Beaujon laughs, but Romenesko, who now has his own site ( jimromenesko.com ), left Poynter after mutual disputes.
Beaujon posts newsier items in the morning and think pieces (journalists love to navel-gaze) as the day wears on. "It's a fascinating time to be covering media," he says. Layoffs, print reductions and slow ad sales are still a big part of the landscape, but it's not all bad news. Circulation revenue is up at the New York Times, and more news organizations are pairing with nonprofits to conduct investigations.
As for Richmond, Beaujon keeps up via RVANews and media outlets' Twitter feeds. He tweaked the Times-Dispatch for tweeting only two Virginia stories in a day, while paying more attention to national news.
"Things are going to continue to get harder for dailies that face competition in the same city," he says. "Warren Buffett's ‘white-knightery' might point to a possible future. I do worry about what's going to happen in New Orleans or New Jersey without journalists to keep digging into stories that may not seem fruitful at once."