By Steve Outing
For a long time now, I’ve wondered why Rob Curley reserved his considerable talents as a new media guru and visionary for small newspapers. He led the new media operations at the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World for many years, then moved to a bigger company (Scripps) but worked for one of its small papers, the Naples Daily News.
Well, Curley has finally been lured to the “big time.” He’s accepted a position as vice president of product development for Washington Post/Newsweek Interactive. The press release about the appointment says, “He will lead a team dedicated to the rapid development and deployment of new tools for journalists and viewers.”
Curley joins former colleague Adrian Holovaty, a brilliant technologist/journalist who joined the company last year.
It’ll be interesting to see if Curley is able to move this big ship as quickly as he was able to with the smaller ones in Kansas and Florida. I’ve long thought that the stuff he’s done over the years — always pushing the envelope — should be implemented at bigger papers. It was a mystery to me why Scripps didn’t put him in charge of a flagship like the Rocky Mountain News but instead deployed him to a small Florida property.
Curley has told me in the past that there were advantages to working at a small paper and he thought he could influence the industry better by demonstrating his ideas in smaller markets. I don’t really buy that; I think Scripps was being conservative and should have put him to work on a big metro paper as soon as they hired him.