Reuters considers moving sports operation to NY

Three senior sports journalists are leaving Reuters in the coming months, with the international news agency that was founded in London 160 year ago now considering shifting the hub of its sports editing operation to New York.

Paul Radford, Reuters’ global sports editor for the past five years, is to stand down 2012 and manage a transition to his ultimate successor while supervising the agency’s coverage of the London Olympics. It will be Radford’s sixth Olympic Games in charge of Reuters’ award-winning sports coverage, in which he will oversee the work of 300 reporters, editors, photographers and support staff.

The Reuters sports desk’s No3, sports production editor Kevin Fylan, had his leaving party last week, as he and Jon Bramley, the deputy sports editor, are going to work on the Volvo Round the World yacht race.

Reuters, which for decades had its world HQ at the heart of Fleet Street, was merged with the US-owned financial data supplier Thomson Corporation in 2008. Now, the American management is considering shifting its sports operation to the other side of the Atlantic.

In the job advertisement for global sports editor which was posted this week, they say, “The successful candidate will lead a global team of specialist sports correspondents and editors and work with our wider bureau network to guarantee the scope and quality of our internationally recognized sports newsgathering team. The editor will be expected to contribute directly to the file through reporting, editing and analyzing major sports stories and themes…

“Based in London; we will consider New York for an exceptional candidate. Local terms, no relocation.”

Such a move, were it to go ahead, would comprehensively shift the focus of Reuters’ internationally regarded sports coverage, with a New York office operating in a time zone five hours or more behind Europe.

The Reuters sports editor has always carried massive influence in sports media matters. The late Steve Parry, Radford’s close colleague and predecessor as Reuters sports editor, served for many years on the International Olympic Commission’s press commission. Likewise, Radford has been on the IOC press commission for more than 10 years and was chairman of its working group at the Beijing and Vancouver Games, as well as working closely with LOCOG.

Reuters has also carried much weight in negotiations between media operators and other sports events, such as the football, rugby and cricket World Cups. Whether that would change, and Reuters’ sports coverage alter to focus more on NFL, NHL, Nascar and the like if they were run from New York is difficult to assess.

Radford was unavailable for comment.


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