The Washington Post establishes a three-pronged international news hub

Sara Sorcher. Photo (cc) 2016 by New America.

The Washington Post has established breaking-news hubs in London and Seoul, South Korea, which gives the growing news operation 24-hour worldwide coverage.

The Press Gazette, which tracks media developments in the U.K., interviewed Sara Sorcher, the London hub editor, who says she hopes the move can help the Post expand its digital subscription base. Already, she said, about 10% of the paper’s 3 million or so digital subscribers are outside the U.S. Sorcher has also worked for USA Today and for the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor.

The hubs come as the Post is in the midst of hiring another 150 or so journalists, which will bring the number of full-timers to more than 1,000, the most in the paper’s history.

Here’s how Sorcher says the three-city breaking-news team will work:

The idea is for a fast and seamless, round-the-clock operation.

Breaking news responsibilities will be handed off every night from the Washington newsroom to Seoul and then to London and then back to Washington in their morning.

I call it a news relay. That’s the vision for it. As part of the newsroom’s 24-hour workflow, a London editor will take a turn each day as point for those global coverage decisions, and the hub will operate seven days a week.

This strikes me as a pretty smart strategy, and it suggests that the Post, which for a while seemed to have stalled in its rivalry with The New York Times (which has 7.5 million digital and print subscriptions), is intent on catching up again.

When you add The Wall Street Journal, we have three great daily newspapers in the U.S. All of them grew during the Trump era, and all of them now need to pivot to what’s next. A renewed focus on serious international news seems like a good direction to try — as long as the notoriously parochial American audience can be persuaded to engage.