Kim Williams outlines structure for 'super' newsroom

By Duncan Craig | 6 September 2012
News Limited chief executive Kim Williams.

News Limited chief Kim Williams has confirmed a new super editorial desk has been launched across the country, in a bid to stem costs and create a lean news gathering operation.

He said the Superdesk, launched last month, consisted of seven sub-desks covering news, sports, lifestyle, business, vision, digital, and a network editor. The strategy was part of News Limited's plan to streamline operations and distribute content to a multitude of devices.

“Each specialist division has an editor who is responsible for directing journalists and managing the content mix and quality control in their individual areas of expertise,” Williams said. “The role of network editor is responsible for ensuring all content from the News Limited's national network is fed into the Superdesk and that content from the state is uplifted to the national network.”

The head of news determines the publication channel, and the publication times across print, online, tablet, and mobile. The Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance estimated that News Limited has shed 300 editorial staff since the restructure of News was announced in June.

Williams also said its regional and community newspaper group were increasingly promoting the NewsLocal brand and introducing changes that have resulted in arresting the decline in readership.

“We have developed a 25 point editorial philosophy called 'Rejuvenation' which is applied to the stories we generate,” Williams said. “It includes simple ideas such as 'use our web and social media comments as story breakouts or follow-ups' and a direction to cover crime 'with a strong focus on prevention.”

News had undertaken a research project eighteen months ago into its community paper audience, and the findings prompted the company to refresh its suburban reporting.

“They told us that in community papers if there were negative stories to be told then they also wanted to read about possible solutions,” he said.

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