Newspapers are said to be culturally inclined to fail on the Web. But people make exceptions when Rob Curley or Adrian Holovaty is involved.
Curley transformed Morris Communications' Topeka Capital-Journal into a highly interactive platform from 1997 to 2002 (with additional work throughout the Morris chain). Then together with Holovaty, a journalist with a computer programming background, transformed World Online, a TV and newspaper news and sports operation in Lawrence, Kansas, into what The New York Times called "The Newspaper of the Future" — complete with annual tours for interactive editors from around the country.
Serving as a judge on E&P and NAA panels for several years, it was always tempting to vote against the Curley team and get some new blood on the podium. But it would have been irresponsible. Curley's sites were always the best in (small) category.
In 2005, the duo went separate ways. Curley joined Scripps' Naples Daily News in Florida, proving he could be equally innovative outside a broadband, youthful college market. Holovaty, meanwhile, moved back home to Chicago, where he started chicagocrime.org as a side project, demonstrating new ways to map statistics that have been copied all over the country. At the same time, Holovaty began commuting (and usually, telecommuting) to Washington to work with the WashingtonPost.com as editor of editorial innovations. One of his projects there has been a dynamic mapping of congressional voting trends, district by district.
Today, it was announced (via Paid Content) that Curley is coming to WashingtonPost.com, his first big city platform. Theoretically, Holovaty will once again be working in Curley's shop (unless Holovaty has had it with the commute and/or The Post). Curley's title is VP of Product Development.
The rub on Curley, fair or not (and I think not) was that he spent his way to interactive success. That never made sense to me. Probably, he simply fought for budgets in his small towns. But here he will get his chance to shine in a major way.
It was also announced that Newsweek Editor Mark Whitaker has been named VP and Editor in Chief of New Ventures at Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. It is hard to say whether it is a substantive position, since The Post has a tradition of kicking executives upstairs until they find new jobs.