Confirmed: News Int. Picks Lewis To Integrate Workflow

Fifty minutes after reported the former Telegraph editor’s imminent appointment at News International, the News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). division promptly issued a press release confirming it (below).

The new role of general manager re-unites Will Lewis with former Telegraph Media Group chief technology officer Paul Cheesbrough, who is joining News Int. in the same role.

Though Lewis is being given management oversight to “coordinate editorial spending” across all four of News Corp’s UK news titles generally, the post also makes him one of their most senior executives for digital technology strategy (though no one person leads “digital” in its entirety nowadays)…

— News Group MD Mike Anderson had been named digital and development director in 2008 but had not been replaced after leaving for personal reasons in 2009.

— Katie Vanneck Smith, as MD for the group’s Customer Direct initiative, heads how News Int. learns about and engages with its readers.

— Andrew Hickey is currently group chief information officer but is leaving, hence Cheesbrough’s appointment.

— The technology practicalities of The Times titles’ recent paywall development specifically were led by digital director Gurtej Sandhu.

In group-wide digital, News International is now tasking Lewis with “implementing a next generation of editorial technology that will support the production of content across a range of digital distribution platforms“. Sounds like code for some degree of newsroom “integration”…

So wait for Lewis and Cheesbrough to announce which platforms they will use to accomplish this and how many, if any, jobs will go as a result…

We’re already seeing 200 Trinity Mirror journalists being made redundant along with the adoption of ContentWatch production software; Johnston Press staff are angry that adopting Atex software will remove subeditors and place their duties in reporters’ hands. Staff from both companies have balloted on strike action in response.

News International had already announced integration of production across its titles, and resulting loss of mostly subbing jobs, last year following James Murdoch’s big Boston Consulting Group review. It appears there’s room for further integration.

Notably, Lewis brought a renamed Telegraph Media Group in to the 21st Century by integrated its newsroom at a new, cross-media Victoria headquarters. He exited the editorship to head a kind of incubator-cum-digital experiments house at Euston, but left recently with no concrete outcomes known of.

London, 08 July 2010