The good news for Alessandra Galloni, the new editor-in-chief of the Reuters news agency, the first woman to take the post in its 170-year history, is that she enjoys an excellent reputation.
“She is very charismatic and her writing conferences are of a very good standard”, believes one of the executives of Reuters, who knows her well. “She’s an Italian, who started in the Italian-speaking service of Reuters before moving up the ranks, she also speaks French, she has a real international perspective”, welcomes a journalist. “Engaging, brilliant”, describes a third, who recently left the agency and describes himself as a friend.
The bad news is that the task of the new boss of the British press agency, in office since April 12, promises to be extremely delicate. Mme Galloni, who did not wish to speak for this article, takes the reins of a structure where there is great unease. “We’re going to end up with suicides”, warns an executive who has three decades of home. The psychological support service is overwhelmed by requests for help.
Journalists denounce repeated reductions in staff, a direction that imposes quantified management that does not correspond to the reality of journalism, and an editorial line that seems to abandon the historic work of the agency. “We’re starting to touch the bone”, worries a reporter.
Relocation of journalism
Since 2010, the editorial staff has grown from 3,000 to 2,500 journalists. In Paris, the workforce has almost halved, now down to around 80 people (all departments combined). In Spain, where there are only a handful of reporters left, the editor now also covers Portugal.
Symbol of these cuts, Reuters invented the offshoring of journalism. It opened information processing offices in Gdansk, Poland, and Bangalore, India. Small, poorly paid hands are responsible for carrying out many of the news agency’s basic tasks. Is there a press release from a large Silicon Valley company? An Indian journalist, 14,000 kilometers away, takes care of it. Do you need to technically refine a video? A Polish specialist does it.
“The strategy was to relocate the French service to Poland, where they hired a dozen people”, explains Patrick Vignal, SNJ delegate in Paris.
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