The memo from executive editor Bill Keller and Martin Nisenholtz, SVP of digital operations, cited a desire to grow the digital news operation.
"This will enable us to fully tap the creative energy of this organization and, thus, raise digital journalism to the next level," the memo stated.
The physical merging of the newsrooms will not take place until 2007, when the new Times headquarters is scheduled to be complete. In the meantime, the website and newspaper will share a managing editor and foreign report editor.
Andy Plesser, partner and founder of Plesser Holland Associates, said the change could impact how quickly articles from the print edition arrive on the site. Currently, he said, exclusives do not appear on the site until the night before the print edition comes out.
"If the Times becomes more akin to a wire service, where articles go up with greater immediacy, it can become a more effective tool for PR pros," he noted.
Michael Schiferl, SVP and director of media relations at Weber Shandwick, said that while the concept of merging platforms is not new, the fact that the Times is making such a move is significant.
"It's a domino-effect outlet," he said. "It has a lot of effect on other media."
Plesser added that the change illustrates the paper's role in the evolving media landscape.
"Newspaper publishing is fundamentally changing," he said. "The New York Times has definitely been a leader in transforming print into a multimedia platform. I think it has been very smart."
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