Adler of Reuters lays out the “Newsroom of the Future”
Reuters editor in chief Steve Adler sent out the following announcement on Thursday:
I have become increasingly excited about the Newsroom of the Future initiative as the team gets working on the specifics. Tiffany Wu has been to London since my last memo and has had great discussions with many colleagues about the most effective design for a global editing desk. It’s clearer than ever that having a single real-time editing operation, rather than three regional ones, will make our processes simpler for our journalists, faster for our news consumers, and easier to organize around the precise needs of our separate customer groups.
We are also making progress on devising the right pathways between spot news and enterprise editing, working on how to infuse Mike Williams’s Enterprise team with a fast-turnaround group and bolstering the global desk with editors from Top News. Tiffany, Mike and the team will keep you informed as all these efforts take shape.
Meanwhile, we’re ready to provide more detail on the broader organization of the newsroom along workflow lines, as mentioned last time. In order to focus our efforts and to build excellence in each stage of our news process, we are organizing into two teams: one to plan and create our news file, and another to edit, curate and publish it. This way, we should end up with clearer roles and a more defined workflow, with fewer overlapping responsibilities and therefore less confusion, clogged channels, or bureaucracy. These changes, which will ultimately extend across the newsroom, will begin principally in the text, multimedia and graphics file.
Here’s how it will work.
News Planning and Creation, which will be overseen by Alessandra Galloni, will include the assigning editors and reporters around the world who determine what we cover each day and then create and file it. Alessandra will have two deputies to help with her global remit – one to oversee business coverage, including our companies and industry beats, and one to ensure that we are planning and creating news with all the elements, and in all the formats, required by media customers and consumers. As previously announced, Amy Stevens will oversee business coverage, with global industry editors reporting to her, and Leela de Kretser will take on the media/consumer role. (See partial org chart, here, for reporting lines.)
The development of the new workflow design, with desking and ops managed globally rather than regionally, enables us to have just one news editor running each region. The regional news editors will focus specifically on news planning and creation and report to Alessandra, while bureau chiefs will report to the regional news editors. The new design also may enable us to operate in more, smaller regions, so that news direction can be targeted more closely to where the news actually happens. I’ll report back soon on how we are envisioning those regions.
The other new team in our workflow edits, curates and publishes our work – so our news flows from the News Planning and Creation group to the Editing, Curation and Publishing group. Working closely together within the latter group are the global news desk that Tiffany is building, the online and social media news desk, pictures curation and graphics. The idea is to focus more coherently than ever before on preparing our work for different distribution platforms, whether our own or those of our traditional customers in Refinitiv and Agency, or those of newer partners such as the FAANG companies. As Tiffany has dived into the development of the global desk, it’s become clear that she is also the right person to lead the overall Editing, Curation and Publishing group, and she will do so, working in close partnership with Alessandra on the planning and creation side. The Global Enterprise Desk, which produces our investigative, data and long-form journalism, remains a separate editing operation, with a new spot-enterprise editing capability.
Here is one way to think about why we are creating this structure: Under our current system, there are times when we look like a kids’ soccer team – everyone swarms to the ball (read: too many editors with vague, overlapping roles providing input on a given story) rather than playing clear positions and passing the ball as we move up the field. The new structure should help us know, and play, our positions better so we can pass and score more effectively.
Both Alessandra’s and Tiffany’s roles will report to me and carry the Global Managing Editor title.
Another vital new role, also reporting to me, infuses all the teams with stronger, deeper attention to the people who make the whole thing tick. This role, to be called Managing Editor, Newsroom, and filled by Simon Robinson, will oversee all journalist recruitment and hiring, training and mentoring, and career development, in collaboration with the HR team. It has a specific mandate to ensure that we have the best possible talent in all positions at every level. As a result, all regional news editors will report with a dotted-line to Simon. He will also have a full-time deputy – in a role to be posted – to ensure that we build a newsroom that reflects the diversity of the people about whom we report.
This structure is a little different from the one described in my last memo. But I think it better reflects our needs for a position focused broadly on strengthening the newsroom, including ensuring that we build skills that crisscross traditional silos of technology, video, pictures, text, graphics and data journalism – with diversity so essential as to merit its own leader within this group.
Among my other direct reports, Reg Chua remains in charge of operations, budget, and security, including the newly constituted global ops team, and will continue to coordinate initiatives across Editorial; John Pullman continues to head visuals, with an added remit that includes John Hyland’s packaged video group; Rob Cox continues to run Breakingviews; Mike Williams continues to lead Enterprise, with the addition of a spot enterprise team; Alix Freedman remains in charge of Ethics and Standards; and Jane Barrett and Jonathan Leff continue to manage media and financial news strategy, respectively.
We haven’t lost sight of the important goal of creating a more integrated service for media customers. One solution will be to look at further integrating text and visuals news management in our bureaus. This is complex, will not work everywhere, and requires a step-by-step approach. We will begin moving to an integrated structure in those bureaus where it is likely to be most effective and where we have people with the right skills in place.
To summarize, Newsroom of the Future is designed to address the big issues that you have flagged over the last few years – the need to clarify roles and simplify how we manage the news flow, to be clearer about what our customers need from us and more targeted in how we meet those needs, and to build a more contemporary culture that embraces multiple career paths, fosters innovation, and embraces diversity and inclusion. These remain our paramount goals.
Thanks again for all your help in shaping this project and your continuing feedback as we move forward. Please keep your questions and comments coming. Please also visit the Newsroom of the Future Hub site where you can find some FAQs and an updated organizational chart detailing the new structure.