What do Will Lewis (The Telegraph), James Harding (The Times), Patience Wheatcroft (ex-Sunday Telegraph), David Yelland (The Sun) and Andreas Whittam Smith (The Independent) have in common? All rose from the ranks of the city desk to the top of the tree at their newspaper – business journalists who became editors. Peter Wilby, former editor of the New Statesman and the Independent On Sunday, observes in today’s Guardian: “Business journalists have become stars … journalism’s nerds (have) become masters of the universe“.
“The business pages used to be regarded as backwaters. As for them becoming editors, most would have said the gardening or ballet correspondents had a better chance.” Why the change? Wilby credits the growing impact business people have on folks’ lives; as well: “The conglomerates who now run newspapers see them as just another business proposition. They like editors who understand marketing, cash flow and shareholder value.”
It’s clear to see the admiration proprietors have for their business reporters. At The Telegraph and The Guardian, the city desks are the first to be integrated across the daily and Sunday titles and online, creating rolling, integrated operations. With those who understand the cost imperatives behind newsroom integration leading the charge, it’s likely such folk will continue to control all newspapers’ levers.