News Corp Australia winds back national news desk

News CorpNews Corp Australia is set to wind back its national news desk and return key reporters in areas such as politics to their former mastheads, Mumbrella can reveal.

The publisher will move a number of high profile reporters away from the centralised news hub, run by executive editor John McGourty, and return them to their original newspapers from Monday.

News Corp Australia declined to comment on the moves, but Mumbrella understands among those leaving the desk are political reporters Gemma Jones and Patrick Lion, who will return to the Daily Telegraph, and Jessica Marsalek, who will go back to Melbourne’s Herald Sun.

Centralisation was a key initiative of former News CEO Kim Williams and the national news hub cut costs by having a central group of reporters reporting national stories for News Corp’s mastheads across the country rather than several journalists at various newspapers covering the same news story.

“It was always a Kim Williams project, I’m surprised its taken them this long to wind it back,” one News Corp insider told Mumbrella.

Another speculated about what the changes might mean for McGourty’s team in the long term, saying: “John’s team began as national features and it may well eventually go back to that.”

Sources said the national news desk was frustrating for several reporters and editors and it meant their sources were unclear about which publications they were dealing with. There are also suggestions that some reporters frustrated that they could not get their story published under the national model would quietly pitch their stories to their old editors.

“The argument was that there was no paper loyalty in the network format,” an insider said.

“If you were a journalist operating on behalf of the group people didn’t know where you were from when they said they were with News, the power comes from being a reporter for the Tele or Herald Sun.”

Nic Christensen and Megan Reynolds 


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