OLD Media Moves

Reuters restructures desk operations

December 1, 2011

Posted by Chris Roush


Reuters editor in chief Steve Adler sent out the following announcement to the staff on Thursday:

As many of you know, we recently embarked on a review of our desk operations with the goal of continuing to strengthen this crucial part of the editorial organization.

A strong desk has always been central to upholding and improving Reuters’ standards and quality, and it’s important that we staff and organize the desk to draw the most from its deep well of specialist knowledge and to ensure that the file is edited clearly and quickly.  We asked Reg Chua to dig into this over the last two months; his insights have been informed by extensive discussions with deskers, EiCs and other senior editors, as well as an in-depth analysis of the desk that was done in 2010.

We’ve decided that we should move to a unified desk in each region – Asia, EMEA, Americas.  The specialist “tracks” within each desk will remain, but they will report to a single strong desk head, who in turn reports to the Regional Editor. This structure will allow the desk head the flexibility to manage the staff more efficiently and adjust to the flow of stories while at the same time bringing to bear deep knowledge of asset classes and issues.  It should also provide better career opportunities for desk editors, who can move across specialist areas more easily.

And critically, it will ensure that desk operations have strong advocates in the new chiefs, who will also play key roles in upholding Reuters’ standards.

We’re fortunate that we have three strong journalists to take on these key positions:

In Asia, Jean Yoon will lead the desk, based in Singapore. Jean has had a number of senior roles that ranged from running the editorial operation in Southeast Asia and the Pacific to overseeing the Asian company news file. She’s currently General Manager for SE Asia and the Pacific.  Jean joined Reuters in 1995 in Seoul as a correspondent, then moved to London in 2000 to become a UK equities correspondent.  She was later appointed the UK Technology and Media Correspondent and was first to break the news of the collapse of British pay TV firm ITV Digital.  As deputy editor and then editor for company news in Asia, Jean led regional coverage of the global financial crisis in 2008 and the recovery from the meltdown. She also launched the well-received Reuters Asia Corporate Sentiment survey.

Matthew Tostevin will move to London to run the EMEA desk operation.  After reporting for BBC radio from a series of African war zones, Matthew joined Reuters in Congo in 1995. Subsequent postings included Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Israel and Palestinian Territories, where he was Bureau Chief. Matthew has worked on London editing desks several times during his career, both as a sub-editor and as news editor responsible for African coverage. He returned to Africa as Johannesburg-based Regional Editor in 2009 to cover a rapidly changing continent, one where fast-growing financial markets and soaring investment were ever more the theme rather than the old images of suffering and despair. He is currently General Manager for Africa, responsible for news operations south of the Sahara.

In the Americas, Ciro Scotti, former Managing Editor of BusinessWeek, before and after its acquisition by Bloomberg, will be joining us as desk head.  Ciro spent many years at BusinessWeek, where he also oversaw political and government coverage, directed the sports business department, wrote an online column, and closed more than 1,500 issues of the magazine.  After leaving Bloomberg Businessweek in October 2010, he helped manage the merger of Newsweek and The Daily Beast.  Since April 2011, he has been the Executive Editor of The Fiscal Times, a website devoted to analysis of and commentary on the major issues confronting America and the global economy.

Ciro will start next Monday, and we expect that Jean and Matthew will transition into their new roles by the end of the year.  They’ll be spending the next few months working through the details of the new desk structure, which we expect to implement in phases by the first quarter of next year. We’ll announce more details once the desk heads have settled into their new roles.

As part of the desk review, we also looked over the role that Top News plays in leading and managing the most important stories of the day.  We need to ensure that those stories – which cross asset classes and regions and are of interest to the broadest range of our readers – are among the most insightful, sharpest and best-written on the file.

So we’ve decided to build on a successful pilot project in Asia and increase the staffing of Top News in all the regions, including adding several lead writers to each team to handle the top stories. This will ensure more continuity of editing and more attention to those stories. We’ll also rotate top editors from the desk through the Top News teams, both to bring more specialist knowledge to bear and to hone editing skills on the desk. We’ll announce more details about these changes in the coming weeks and months.

With these changes, we will have a clear leadership structure in each region – the Regional Editor and two Deputy Editors, one charged with handling Top News and the other managing desk operations.

It promises to be an exciting time for the desk – and for the newsroom.  Please join us in congratulating Jean and Matthew on their new roles and welcoming Ciro to Reuters.

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