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June 11, 2012

Beauty & the Geek Enters Phase III

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CQ Roll Call has entered another phase of merging. At the upcoming Republican and Democratic Conventions, the publications will be joined at the hip. Well, sort of. It’s more like one of CQ‘s legs is being temporarily lobbed off and will be reattached back in Washington. Roll Call will produce a convention edition Monday through Thursday. CQ reporters covering the convention will write for Roll Call. As CQ and Roll Call merge their newsroom operations for the convention, welcome to Phase III of the publications inching closer to a full editorial merger.

Back in March news of the merger was heating up and internal meetings were happening in full force. Not with reporters, mind you. But with brass and the business end of things. A large blockbuster meeting with newsroom staff came later. At the time, the Roll Call mentality was that they are the hipper, cooler publication and CQ was the wonkier of the two. The current sentiment is most everyone just wants to make the best of it — whatever happens. So if the beauty was heavily flirting with the geek back in March, now he’s getting to third base.

Come convention time, Roll Call will appear in every delegate hotel in partnership with the NYT. In addition, a special CQ Weekly will be inside the delegate welcome bags on Sunday. The parties, however, sponsored by RIAA and Auto Alliance, will be hosted by both CQ and Roll Call.

“CQ Roll Call will publish a special edition of CQ Weekly, as well as a convention-edition Roll Call, distributed Monday through Thursday at both the Republican and Democratic conventions,” said CQ Roll Call Publicist Rebecca Gale. “The convention-edition of Roll Call will be a product of both the CQ and Roll Call newsrooms. David Hawkings‘ CQ Roll Call’s Daily Briefing newsletter will publish each afternoon.”

It is still unclear how the two pubs will fully merge in terms of day-to-day operation and editorial decisions. We’re told anyone who tells us they know for certain is being disingenuous as details are still under discussion and under wraps. Hence the high sensitivities. We are being told that editorial layoffs are unlikely.

The history of the merger is well cemented… In 2009, The Economist Group purchased CQ. In 2010, Hawkings launched the co-branded CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing. In 2011, CQ and Roll Call moved into the same physical space, and began producing CQ Roll Call Outlook, which is a special edition publication that comes out every six-eight weeks.

Another change as of late is a new face to advertising and advocacy since Mark Walters up and left for Politico. His replacement is Peter Anthony. Anthony is worked at at Illumen, which CQRC bought in 2011.

These days more and more bylines are appearing in different publications. Roll Call reporters write for CQ Weekly, CQ reporters contribute to Roll Call and even the gossip column, HOH. Perhaps this is the idea — blend them gradually as much as possible. Then when the gauntlet drops it won’t seem so jarring. Stay tuned…

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