Single news, business and sport team set to work across Guardian and Observer - Press Gazette

Single news, business and sport team set to work across Guardian and Observer

Guardian News and Media has today released plans of how it will merge staff into a single team working across The Guardian, The Observer and in a 24/7 newsroom.

A single news, business and sport team will produce text, audio and video across all three platforms, headed by Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson, when the company moves to its new headquarters in London’s King’s Cross in November or December.

The Observer will retain its own newsdesk, some dedicated writers, features staff, commentators and editors.

Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian and also editor-in-chief of GNM, said in a statement today: ‘The move to a new building is the obvious moment to rearrange the way we work… The Guardian, The Observer and the website will all be distinctive in their own ways – each with its own voice and identity.

‘Our model for integrated working has been designed through a long period of collaboration and consultation. More than two dozen editors from across the three platforms have worked together to design the ways in which they want to collaborate in the future. It’s very important that desk editors themselves have taken the lead: The last thing we wanted to do was impose a model from above.

Rusbridger said the overall headcount will not drop, despite a voluntary redundancy scheme across GNM which will run until next year.

Four new job roles will be created to work across the three platforms, reporting to Johnson: Head of national news, head of business, head of sport and head of international news. Each of the ‘platform-neutral’roles will be advertised on 9 May after being posted on GNM’s internal jobs board.

The paper has introduced the concept of ‘pods’– teams of specialists with responsibility for specific areas such as certain international news patches.

In an email to staff today from Rusbridger, Observer editor John Mulholland and digital director Emily Bell, seen by Press Gazette, they are told each platform will retain its management structure and will have specific new section heads for national news, international news, sport and business, answering to Johnson..

Staff from all platforms are to have a company briefing in London on Tuesday, and workshops on the new set-up will continue for the coming weeks.

The email acknowledged worries among staff at the radical changes. It said: ‘We realise people are anxious to know what is going on, but we are changing a way of working that has been in place for a long time; it will take time and effort to get it right.”