Credit: By James Cridland on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
The Washington Post has announced plans to launch a "new digital opinion and analysis venture" powered by a community of external contributors.

The aim of the new "venture", which does not yet have a name, is to deliver comment and analysis with at speed where possible, Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor, told, describing it as "something that would have "a somewhat faster metabolism".

The new section will be edited by Adam Kushner, current executive editor of National Journal, a press release confirmed on Monday (27 January).

As well as responding at speed, another reason behind the new section was to offer "something that would make better use of a network of outside contributors", said Hiatt.

"There's a lot of smart people and smart things to be said and we weren't capturing as much of it as we could".

However, when asked whether those contributors would be given the ability to self-publish, in a similar way to Forbes Media's contributor set-up, Hiatt said the publishing model is one thing which is yet to be firmed up, and will take more shape once Kushner joins the news outlet in February.

"Certainly if we're going to be fast and responsive, that suggests there shouldn't be a lot of layers of editing," he added, "and that you have to be prepared to take some risks in that regard".

"But whether it means contributors are posting directly, or [after] one read, that's the kind of thing we're going to have to talk about when Adam gets here."

Similarly, he said the question of payment to contributors will also be a subject for discussion.

"There is a budget that Adam can use," Hiatt explained. "In general my philosophy has been, on the op-ed page, is try to pay people who do this for a living", he said, compared to contributors who are sharing their opinion in addition to their day-to-day job, such as a political figure or "thinktank", he explained.

"I feel less need to pay those folks than people who are writers and journalists," he added.

"Again how that will translate into this different format, where people may be writing shorter, or more often, or less often, is something we have to figure out."

With the majority of the content likely to be produced by non-Washington Post writers, he added that the idea is it will attract "a new crop of writers", and bring "some new voices" to the Post's output.

The new section is likely to launch in "a few weeks", he added, but an exact date is not yet available.

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