More layoffs are coming to Reuters, editor in chief Steve Adler said in a memo to staff today.
Adler said that the news organization’s budget would be 1% larger in 2015, “It’s not big enough, however, both to cover inflation and to fund the growth initiatives that are vital to our future success,” Adler said.
Adler said that the tight budget will mean further reorganization of the newsroom. “Staff members in areas that we are reducing will find opportunities in services that we are launching or expanding,” Adler said. “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.”
An October draft of a Thomson Reuters cost-cutting plan, obtained by BuzzFeed News, said 111 positions would be eliminated. A source familiar with the plan said there would be no more than 55 job losses in the editorial side of the company.
There will be a shift from Reuters Insider, which produces videos on finance and markets, to Reuters TV, a new mobile video service that will be launched next year. Reuters will also reduce staff in chatrooms that it had set up for financial industry professionals that were moderated by Reuters staff.
The third shift will be in reducing the number of regular opinion columns run in the online Reuters Opinion operation, Adler said, citing the lower traffic these pieces get. “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,” Adler said in the memo. “We are shifting resources from a fixed set of columns to news-pegged commentaries from a broad array of outside experts.”
The Reuters Opinion operation was one of the signature efforts of Chrystia Freeland, who ran Reuters Digital before suddenly resigning in July of last year to run for parliament in Canada. By deemphasizing the columnists, Reuters’ online operations are moving further away from Freeland’s vision, which was never fully implemented.
Jack Shafer, who was one of Reuters Opinion’s signature hires, tweeted Wednesday night he was leaving the company. Shafer confirmed in an interview with BuzzFeed News that he had been laid off. “I’m part of a belt-tightening,” he said. When asked about his plans for life after Reuters, he said he wanted to keep writing and “continue to live the life of a king.”
A Reuters spokesperson said in a statement that the company is “shifting resources to new and existing operations where we see promising growth opportunities, and away from slower-growth initiatives or areas we think we can run more efficiently.” This shift, the spokesperson said, “will lead to a slight decline in overall staffing.”
Reuters’ parent company, Thomson Reuters, said at the end of last month in its quarterly earnings release that the news division’s revenues were $79 million, down 3% from the year before.
“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,” Adler wrote.
This piece has been updated with the number of planned layoffs and Jack Shafer’s departure.
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