Matthew Zeitlin of BuzzFeed examines why Reuters decided to dump its next generation web operation, which was called Reuters Next.
Zeitlin writes, “Reuters insiders said Rashbass began asking skeptical questions about Next — which had at one point been slated to launch on the first of this year, and was nowhere near ready — as soon as he started. And many of the questions focused how to make money off venture that many inside saw — like a splashy new magazine and an investment in opinion writing — as more about turning Reuters into a prestigious news brand than about generating cash flow.
“Part of that push was also an investment in high-profile talent: Chrystia Freeland, who was U.S. Managing Editor at the Financial Times before she landed at Reuters and ascended to Managing Director and Editor, Consumer News; Roberts, a former assistant managing editor at the New York TImes, Felix Salmon; a finance blogger who runs Counterparties, an aggregation site for financial and economic news who came from Conde Nast Portfolio; and Jack Shafer, former Slate media critic is now writing for Reuters’ opinion site.
“Freeland had made the focus on the brand clear in a memo in January. ‘The new website and apps are an essential element of Reuters’ drive to create a consumer news platform which is a valued and effective showcase for all of our journalism,’ she wrote, describing Reuters Next as ‘the public face of Thomson Reuters as a whole’ while noting that it would be ‘organically connected with our paid-for subscription products.’
“One Reuters insider Wednesday described the decision to shutter Reuters Next as ‘very much a singular decision,’ a second Reuters source said that ‘it all came down to money — it was decided by Rashbass that he didn’t want to throw money at this.’
“‘There were some very cool things we wanted to happen but it was going to involve a lot of cash and there was no clear way how we would recoup that cash,’ said another.”
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