OLD Media Moves

Reuters editor: Job cuts coming as we shift priorities

November 19, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

Stephen AdlerReuters editor in chief Stephen Adler sent out the following email to the staff on Wednesday detailing job cuts in 2015:

Recently, many of you have asked me about our 2015 budget plans – and, in particular, whether we will be growing or shrinking next year. With planning nearly final, I now can tell you that next year’s budget will probably be about 1 percent larger than this year’s. That’s big enough to maintain our standing as the world’s largest independent news organization and to pay for a year’s worth of outstanding journalism. It’s not big enough, however, both to cover inflation and to fund the growth initiatives that are vital to our future success.

Therefore, we are working to shift resources within the organization: from some areas where we see weaker commercial prospects or have identified ways to work more efficiently, and to new or existing operations where we see promising growth opportunities. These decisions are being informed by how customer needs and market conditions are changing – and both are changing dizzyingly fast in our industry.

In many instances, staff members in areas that we are reducing will find opportunities in services that we are launching or expanding. In some other instances, though, the moves will result in job cuts, a course of action that I know will be extremely difficult for those involved.

VIDEO: One big shift is in our video operations. The Insider team has performed well these past few years and has been a great pleasure to work with. But creating original financial video is costly and, even while viewership has grown solidly, the service hasn’t delivered sufficient revenue to justify the editorial expense. Therefore, we are ceasing most in-house production of Insider videos and instead relying primarily on partnerships to provide this service to financial customers. In contrast, we have been hiring – in many cases from Insider – to staff Reuters TV, our new mobile, on-demand news service for consumers, where we see exciting opportunities to be a leader in the next generation of television news. Crucially, this service relies on news footage we are already shooting for agency customers and leverages the existing reporting staff on the ground all over the world – so incremental costs are comparatively modest.

COMMUNITIES: Another change is in the editorial resources devoted to moderating financial communities. I have been pleased with the work of our moderators, and we have learned a great deal and developed important news leads from the project. But, after reviewing the business, we believe the funds devoted to some of these chat-rooms can be better used elsewhere in our organization. So we are reducing the number of communities that will be moderated by our editorial staff.

OPINION: A third change is in our Reuters.com Opinion service. Customer research and usage data make clear to us that we are most effective when we pair breaking news coverage with smart commentary on the same topic by someone with particular expertise or a provocative perspective. Stand-alone Opinion columns that run at regular intervals do considerably less well on our site. Therefore, we are shifting resources from a fixed set of columns to news-pegged commentaries from a broad array of outside experts.

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES: In addition to Reuters TV, we will be investing in several areas. For our financial customers, we will build on the successful launch of Reuters Stocks Buzz and will continue developing our Gdynia operation as a center of excellence for English-language coverage of European companies. We see growth potential in our Reuters America operation, where we improved coverage in 2014 and will continue to do so in 2015. We’re also confident that, through content marketing, we can help companies connect with their own customers, and we are adding resources to this effort – with due care to maintain independence and comply with the Trust Principles.

It is always difficult to part with valued colleagues, and I wish all the best to those who will be leaving as a result of these moves. We’ll do all we can to conduct the process with transparency and respect, and to provide outplacement services as needed.

Reuters is an extraordinary news organization filled with talented and passionate journalists – all deeply committed to providing fast, accurate, unbiased, and insightful journalism to our billion-plus customers. I’m confident that, taken together, the changes we are making will help us deliver an even more compelling news file while strengthening our business. We need to grow to remain successful, and we are committed to doing so. We are also fully committed to serving existing customers better than ever, as we build the capabilities to reach new ones.

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