Reuters editorial reorganization to begin

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TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

New Reuters editor in chief Stephen Adler is expected to announce a reorganization of its editorial operations as soon as Monday, an overhaul that will include the departure of global managing editor Betty Wong, sources at the news operation confirmed Friday.

Wong’s last day will be May 27. She is one of the highest ranking women in business journalism and the highest ranking Asian woman in journalism. Wong deferred comment to the Reuters PR staff.

However, on her Facebook page, Wong wrote that starting in June she plans to start work on a book about her great grandfather — a four-star general in Chiang Kai-shek’s army who was killed by Mao’s people.

Adler, a former editor in chief of BusinessWeek, was named editor in chief at Reuters in February, replacing David Schelsinger. At that time, Adler said he would spend the next 60 days evaluating the news operations to determine what changes needed to be made to improve its performance. According to three current employees, those changes will largely focus on editing positions and are seen as Adler putting his stamp on the organization.

“When you look at the organizational 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,” said one editor.

Adler has apparently been advised by Stuart Karle, the former general counsel for The Wall Street Journal, on his reorganization at Reuters. Some expect Karle to fill a high-level management position within the news organization as part of the changes.

Canadian publisher Thomson Corp. purchased Reuters in 2007 for $17.2 billion.

One Reuters editor noted that the company has three editor hierarchies — specialist editors, such as those overseeing company coverage, stock market coverage, Treasuries, commodities and other specializations; bureau chiefs, who oversee regional coverage; and a team of managing editors. There’s also a group of editors called “Top News.”

One of those levels is likely to get cut, said two staffers, with the reorganized editing team grouped under Top News editors.

On Friday, an e-mail was sent to the staff by Amy Stevens, the executive editor of the Thomson Reuters Professional News operation, and Tiffany Wu, editor of company news in the Americas, foreshadowing the overhaul of editorial operations.

In the announcement, Stevens and Wu wrote, “As Steve indicated in his memo of March 22, the news operation that has reported to him in the Professional Division is being fully integrated into Reuters. Today, this group will begin moving to the 19th floor of 3 Times Square. The expanded Legal team in Reuters will include new reporters and editors, and will be responsible for law-related coverage for both Markets and Professional customers. Eric Effron, who since last year has served as Legal Editor in Professional, will lead the team, which will no longer be part of Company News.

“Editor Martha Graybow, who has overseen legal news as part of Company News, will assume additional responsibilities as she moves to the Legal team and reports to Eric. Reporters Tom Hals, Caroline Humer, Dan Levine, Grant McCool and Jonathan Stempel will be moving as well. They’ll continue to focus on legal news that affects public companies and moves markets, in addition to reporting more intensively on news of interest to the legal profession. The new reporters and editors will help us enrich our coverage of law globally. They initially will focus on the business of law, New York courts, and major litigation in the U.S.”

Wong is a graduate of New York University, where she majored in journalism. She began her professional career at The Journal in 1985. She joined the Reuters editorial staff in 1989. She become managing editor and head of editorial operations in 2004 after a stint as global equities editor.

Adler spent 16 years at The Journal, including posts as legal editor, investigative editor, and deputy managing editor. At The Journal, Adler led reporting teams that won three Pulitzer Prizes between 1995 and 1999. Previously, he was editor of The American Lawyer magazine.

He joined Reuters at the beginning of 2010 to create a news operation for the professional division, leaving BusinessWeek after McGraw-Hill sold it to Bloomberg LP.