The Reuters you know is changing. There has been a slow but noticeable march away from a wire news service to a more complete website over the past year. In July, Reuters’ website was revamped to appeal to a wider audience. In May, the site hired its first Op-Ed Editor, James Ledbetter, and then just last week they grabbed the great Jack Shafer to pen opinion columns.
Today, Adweek caught up with Ledbetter, and he confirmed the move. “We really want to be a leader in the space of opinion and commentary, which has never really been an explicit goal for Reuters in the past,” said Ledbetter. He also stated that the hiring spree isn’t over either, and that the opinion section should mesh perfectly with the other content:
You don’t have to look very hard at the staffing levels of American newspapers to realize that places where you might have had local columnists or a local opinion staff commissioning pieces—in many places those jobs no longer exist. We think that there is a role within the traditional Reuters marketplace for opinion and commentary.
The shift to a more complete site is a good idea, but will it work? Reuters is certainly not the first place most people mention when discussing columnists or moving think pieces. Ledbetter thinks otherwise, and wisely will be leaning on the site’s ace in the hole. “If, six months from now, you haven’t read a Jack Shafer column, call me,” he added.