She also frets about the way the reorganization has severed enterprise from beat reporting—a move Klibanoff says was made, in part, to ensure that enterprise stories didn’t wither away undone. “I know that this model is working beautifully for online,” Albritton says. “But I worry that we have to find our equilibrium here for print.”

But Albritton can also grow emotional in defense of the Journal-Constitution. “This is a very friendly and very caring, hard-working, work-together, play-together newsroom,” she says, “and everyone is determined that we’re going to make it work. They love this newspaper and they love each other, and I think that’s going to trump a lot of the trouble that they’ve had.”

It’s mid-afternoon, and Chris Stanfield, a senior editor for photography in N&I, interrupts our conversation, ready to leave but wanting to talk. He has been working since about 6 a.m. in the slot—a position akin to a day managing editor, presiding over news assignments. It’s an unusual, perhaps daunting task for a photo editor—but his is just the sort of adaptability the AJC is banking on.

When I ask pointedly if he’s drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid, Stanfield insists that he is “just as much a skeptic as anyone” about the reorganization. But he goes on: “We’re changing the way we do something entirely—and it’s not just a little change.” For some, he says, it’s “cumbersome; for some, intimidating; for others, not possible.” But having worked at eight newspapers in thirteen years, Stanfield says: “I like living in a little turmoil and change.” 

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Julia M. Klein is a cultural reporter and critic in Philadelphia and a CJR contributing editor.