How to Pitch the Washington Post Editor Chet Rhodes


This is an exclusive, unedited interview with Washington Post editor of breaking news Chet Rhodes about pitching stories to the Washington Post, his daily video podcast and the challenges facing the news print publishing business. 

Chet Rhodes has been working at Washington Post for eight years. Prior to becoming the deputy multimedia editor, Rhodes was a producer in the Nation Science sections of the site.

Rhodes taught broadcast journalism at the University of Maryland for approximately 10 years, and has worked as a local radio news director at UPI radio.


3:26 – Chet Rhodes on his work before becoming the deputy multimedia editor for The Washington Post.

4:16 – Rhodes on the organizational structure of The Washington Post.

5:23 – Rhodes talks about deriving content for

6:57 – Rhodes discusses the influence of visuals on editorial decisions: “…the image itself is news…”

7:57 – Rhodes on the relationship between the news coverage of The Washington Post’s newspaper and The Post’s website and how that cycle changes throughout the course of the day.

11:53 – Rhodes talks about the reporting structure of the newsroom.

13:08 – Rhodes discusses the development of The Washington Post’s website.

14:01 – Rhodes on the future of newspapers in the new media age: “…this digital revolution is really just starting to take hold at all levels, and I think the computer, and certainly the internet, are going to have far reaching impacts on lots of industries.”

15:32 – Rhodes on whether online news can financially support MSM journalism.

17:39 – Rhodes talks about The Washington Post’s newsprint division using feeds to transfer content to the newspaper’s online division.

18:34 – Rhodes on The Post’s use of a content management system to increase efficiency.

18:58 – Rhodes talks about using information from corporate websites.

20:43 – Rhodes talks about building a business case for video and audio podcasts at The Washington Post.

23:55 – Rhodes discusses the need for a content management system: “We have a very deep rich site that people find useful…it’s just not practical for a group of people to do that [create the site] without some sort of automation.”

25:28 – Rhodes explains how the content management system works.

27:06 – Rhodes talks about the differences between podcasts and other forms of news media.

29:23 – Rhodes on the number of downloads The Washington Post receives on its podcasts: “…our video podcast has been far and away the most popular thing we’ve done…”

30:42 – Rhodes talks about the challenges associated with promoting video podcasts.

32:35 – Rhodes on the possibility of The Washington Post breaking feature news with a podcast: “…I don’t think we would rule that out, because we’ve certainly broken things just on the web…”

33:57 – Rhodes on the conversations that occur at The Washington Post before breaking a story.

35:21 – End.

By Daniel X. O'Neil from USA – Washington, DC, June 2011: The Washington Post, CC BY 2.0,

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