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Major Reuters editorial shake-up to be unveiled

A major re-organisation of Reuters' editorial operations that will streamline layers of editors and involve the departure of global managing editor Betty Wong, pictured, is about to be unveiled.

The new editor-in-chief, Stephen Adler, is expected to announce the changes as soon as Monday. A former editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek magazine, now owned by Bloomberg, he replaced David Schlesinger as editor-in-chief in February. Adler said then he would spend the next 60 days evaluating news operations to determine what changes needed to be made to improve performance.

Talking Biz News, a website run by the Carolina Business News Initiative, said that according to three current employees, “those changes will largely focus on editing positions and are seen as Adler putting his stamp on the organisation”.

“When you look at the organisational chart, you see some editors with titles like managing editor of news research strategy for people you’ve never heard of and who are doing jobs similar to other positions at the company,” it quoted one editor as saying.

Talking Biz News said Adler has apparently been advised on the re-organisation by Stuart Karle, former general counsel for The Wall Street Journal.

It said one Reuters editor noted the company has three editor hierarchies – specialist editors such as those overseeing company coverage, stock market coverage, treasuries, commodities and other specialisations; bureau chiefs who oversee regional coverage; and a team of managing editors. There is also a group of editors called Top News. One of those levels is likely to be cut, said two staffers, with the reorganised editing team grouped under Top News editors.

Talking Biz News said the changes were foreshadowed in an e-mail sent to staff on Friday in which Amy Stevens, executive editor of the Thomson Reuters professional news operation, and Tiffany Wu, editor of company news in the Americas, referred to organisational and physical moves at Thomson Reuters’ headquarters in Times Square, New York.

Wong, one of the highest-ranking women in business journalism and the most prominent Asian woman in journalism, will formally leave the company at the end of May but is understood to have already gone. She deferred comment to Reuters PR staff but on her Facebook page wrote that, starting in June, she plans to begin work on a book about her great grandfather, a four-star general in Chiang Kai-shek’s army who was killed during the regime of Mao Tse-tung. A journalism graduate of New York University, she began her career at The Wall Street Journal in 1985 and joined Reuters in 1989, becoming managing editor and head of editorial operations in 2004 after a stint as global equities editor.

Adler spent 16 years at the Journal. He joined Reuters at the beginning of 2010 after Bloomberg acquired BusinessWeek. ■

Talking Biz News