Reuters accelerates news pictures/video merger
Sunday 18 November 2018
Reuters is hastening the merger of news pictures and video news into a single team of visual journalists, with an unspecified implication that jobs across the combined operation will be cut.
The accelerated changes follow last month's spin-off of a majority stake in Thomson Reuters financial and risk business, now controlled by private equity investors and rebranded Refinitiv.
Reuters remains part of Thomson Reuters but is being re-organised as a stand-alone business. Its largest client is Refinitiv, which has agreed to pay Reuters at least $325 million a year for news coverage over the next 30 years.
Redundancies in Reuters reporting bureaus around the world have already begun and local language services are being cut back.
“In Visuals we will accelerate the moves already underway to create a single unified team of visual journalists,” John Pullman (photo), global head of visuals, wrote in a message to staff.
“Many of our photographers already shoot video - and videographers produce pictures. This mode of working is becoming normal throughout the industry as video and photo technologies grow closer. We will be taking a structured approach to merge our pictures and video teams. We will look at technology, training and workflow - and introduce single leadership where appropriate.
“We aim to align our teams with the needs of our customers by extending our footprint, improving our efficiency and increasing our flexibility.”
Some staff affected by the changes were notified last week, but the whole process will unfold over the coming months, Pullman said. He added: “We remain fully committed to producing pictures and video of the highest standard.”
A news pictures staff member, who asked not to be identified, told The Baron: “This is essentially the end of Reuters Pictures, going down the tubes in a very sad way. Pix has won a score of Pulitzers and other prestigious awards under Reuters but it seems that is not enough to save it from what appears to be the terrible end of what was a great run over more than 30 years which brought the world some of the best photojournalism it has ever seen.” ■