After lying to staff and saying that Melinda Henneberger was on vacation last week, Chief Content Officer David Ellis finally came clean: Henneberger and the publication have parted ways.
The staff was still scrambling. After Henneberger sent an email saying she left because she disagreed with inevitable staff cuts, reporters didn’t have a clue what was happening. Were their jobs intact? Are they now?
And now they’re installing a new editor: Kris Viesselman.
Management announced the news in a press release Thursday.
The gist: “CQ Roll Call, an Economist Group business, has named Kris Viesselman Vice President and Editor in Chief of Roll Call, the original authority on Capitol Hill, Chief Content Officer David Ellis announced today.”
So who is Viesselman?
She was “previously Senior Director of Digital Content, joined CQ Roll Call last December and was a key member of the team that introduced a new look and platform for the publication’s premier content. With more than two decades of newsroom leadership experience, she has held senior editorial and creative roles at National Geographic, the Los Angeles Times and The San Diego Union-Tribune.”
In her role as editor-in-chief, she will “be charged with expanding Roll Call’s journalism into a robust, highly visual multimedia report that meets the needs of its audience and allows them to consume it in its most convenient forms.”
“Roll Call is a precious Washington institution and it’s an honor to be leading it,” Viesselman said. “I look forward to honoring Roll Call’s tradition, while leading the team to even greater achievements, as we evolve our report during this critical time in U.S. politics.”
A longtime Roll Caller got a promotion:
On Thursday they named David Hawkings Senior Congressional Editor. Hawkings is “a 22-year veteran of the company and former editor of CQ magazine, will help Roll Call strengthen its mission of covering Congress for a core audience of Washington insiders and an expanding set of readers beyond the Beltway.”
Three more promotions or shifts:
“Two other editors with deep Capitol Hill knowledge will support the cross-product effort. Adriel Bettelheim, who has worked at CQ Roll Call for 15 years over two stints at the company, will serve as Managing Editor for Enterprise. David Meyers, a 20-year veteran of Roll Call, takes on the role of Vice President of Business Operations with responsibility for aligning events and special projects with the core mission of the publication.”
“Additionally, Gillian Roberts will take on the new role of CQ Roll Call Visual Reporting Editor, coordinating data reporting, photography and video teams to aggressively report the news with a full suite of storytelling and analysis tools.”
Ellis is, of course, proud of all these changes:
“Roll Call has made great strides in pushing its content to multiple platforms, driven by our new website introduced in March,” Ellis noted in the statement. “Kris is an innovator, change agent and team builder, and I’m excited about the work this new group of Capitol Hill veterans will produce as we head into the most important presidential election campaign of our lifetimes.”
As for whether those deep cuts that Henneberger spoke of in her email are happening, management isn’t talking.