News Ltd appoints Shane Rodgers to head secret project

News Ltd has moved one of its most senior managers to a mysterious new role geared around preparing the company’s newspapers for the future.  

Shane Rodgers, currently general manager of the company’s Queensland Newspapers, has been named as group project director.

In a guarded press release, News Ltd CEO John Hartigan said that the move represented “significant investment in journalism with the aim of improving the quality and reach of our mastheads.”

Rodgers will report in directly to News Ltd’s chief operating officer Peter Macourt.

According to the release: “In his new role, Rodgers will be responsible for a number of new national projects involving the company’s publishing operations.”

It also quoted Rodgers as saying: “Newspapers are vibrant and resilient and have enormous capacity to adapt in the digital age as a contemporary and compelling mass market medium.”

As well as being chief-of-staff at News Ltd’s Canberra press gallery, Rodgers held a string of senior editorial roles in Queensland at the Courier-Mail.

According to Hartigan: “Shane gets our business, he understands journalism and he has outstanding project management skills.”

Greg Baxter, News Ltd’s director of corporate affairs, refused to be drawn on the nature of the role, except to say that it involved “more than one” project. He told Mumbrella it was unrelated to News Ltd’s imminent launch of ThePunch, the David Penberthy-led comment and blog aggregation site. But the role will involve both print and online, said Baxter.

Rodgers’ move has triggered a series of other changes. Dennis Watt, currently general manager of Quest Community Newspapers will replace Rodgers at Queensland Newspapers. In turn, Watt will be replaced by Mark Elgood, who is currently managing director of News Ltd Community Newspapers.


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