Sigrid Kirk to head News Ltd’s digital product development

Sigrid Kirk mumbrellaA year after News Ltd’s group editorial director declared that he was “very uncomfortable” with his journalists using Twitter, the company has appointed a senior member of staff whose duties will include developing the company’s social media capabilities.

Sigrid Kirk – previously News Digital Media’s group publisher – has been appointed to the newly created role of News Ltd’s chief product officer – digital. Her move has also seen Gloria Poulakis move across from into Kirk’s old role.

According to the announcement:

“In this newly created role, Ms Kirk will lead the development of all new digital products and applications by the company, working closely with the company’s divisional management and individual mastheads. Ms Kirk will also be responsible for developing search, social media and video capabilities for News Limited’s online network.”

Kirk will also become a member of a new management group that has been established to oversee News Ltd’s paid content strategy which is likely to see paywalls on many of its online titles within months. The group will also drive strategy for development of the company’s iPad apps. The Australian launched its app late last month.

She joined News Digital Media in 2004 (then News Interactive) as editor-in-chief before being promoted to group publisher in 2006. Prior to joining News she was group manager of online content and media with Telstra Bigpond, director of content and programming at Excite@Home, chief-of-staff at The Sydney Morning Herald and head of network content at nineMSN.

Back in June last year, group editorial director Campbell Reid was sceptical about the role of social media for the company, telling The Australian:

“It’s our belief that journalists who work for us who have news to tell should do so through the vehicles they are employed to supply material for. We’re very uncomfortable with staff tweeting in a professional sense under their own names, for a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of which is legal protection and concern about what is published.

“Like so many things that burn so brightly on the internet, we’re watching to see how it goes. We don’t want to spend a lot of time developing policies … and in three months’ time everyone’s realised it’s another way of having fairly boring conversations.”

Meanwhile, Gloria Poulakis, currently general manager of, has been promoted into the group publisher role vacated by Kirk. She will be responsible for, along with the company’s digtial vertical sections – Business, Money, Entertainment, Travel and Technology – which are syndicated across the company’s news websites.

Prior to News Digital Media, Poulakis spent eight years at Fairfax Digital’s as product director.


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