MediaFile

Deck shuffling at The Wall Street Journal

June 19, 2008

wall-street-journal.jpgThe rap on The Wall Street Journal, especially among those who get edited for a living there, is that the editing process could use a little streamlining. It looks like that’s about to happen, judging by Thursday’s memo from top editor Robert Thomson. This is part of a series of personnel changes taking place at the Journal since News Corp bought Dow Jones last year, including the resignations of top editor Marcus Brauchli and top U.S. editor Bill Grueskin:

I am pleased to announce significant changes to the editorial leadership of The Wall Street Journal, changes which will expedite decision-making and give increased authority and responsibility to reporters and bureau chiefs. These changes will take place in tandem with the creation of a central news desk that will allow significantly enhanced co-operation between print, web and Newswires journalists, in New York and around the world. At the heart of our new structure will be a National, International and Enterprise Team, a triumvirate which will report directly to me and to whom the bureau chiefs will report.

Here are the moves among the most senior editors, effective next month:

- Matt Murray, general news editor, becomes national editor.

- Nikhil Deogun, Money & Investing section editor, becomes international editor.

- Mike Williams, page one editor, broadens duties to include investigative reporting, “A-heds” and “leders.”

Those three, Thomson wrote, will streamline commissioning and editing decisions get a central role in the production and presentation of copy for the paper and the website.

Other changes:

- Mike Miller, deputy managing editor, also becomes senior deputy managing editor and runs the paper in Thomson’s place if he is “otherwise engaged.”

- Cathy Panagoulias, assistant managing editor, becomes a deputy managing editor and gets more say in administrative support for bureau chiefs and hires.

- Jim Pensiero, vice president for special projects, becomes deputy managing editor for operations, and oversees the upcoming new publishing system (we heard it’s Methode), and runs the Journal’s move next year to News Corp headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

- Alix Freedman gets expanded authority over the paper’s ethical and journalistic standards.

- Alan Murray remains as executive editor of the online Journal.

- Dan Hertzberg, deputy managing editor, oversees the European and Asian editions

- Reg Chua becomes senior assistant managing editor and oversees the design team.

We’re not sure how this all will translate into streamlining and how this will give reporters and bureau chiefs more authority, but in all fairness, this hasn’t even gone into effect yet. We’re also curious about names not mentioned in the memo, like page one editor Laurie Hays. She didn’t return a phone call, but we’ll find out soon enough. She’s leaving, according to a second memo — going to Bloomberg as executive editor for company news. Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

The appointment of Hays, who during a 23-year career at the newspaper was a Moscow-based correspondent, bureau chief in Atlanta and New York, National News Editor and, most recently, Deputy Managing Editor for Investigative Reporting, “brings exceptional experience in managing beat reporting to our 2,300 journalists in 65 countries,” said Matthew Winkler, Editor-in-Chief of Bloomberg News. 

On a separate note, catch Rupert Murdoch’s comments in Cannes about making the Journal the best paper in the world. Article on the Guardian’s website.

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