Guardian News & Media will dispatch part of its existing Guardian.co.uk team from London to reboot its U.S. editorial foray from New York.
Guardian.co.uk’s current editor Janine Gibson will lead the editorial team and news editor Stuart Miller will be deputy editor. Blogs and networks editor Matt Wells, senior reporter Karen McVeigh and sports blogs editor Steve Busfield will relocate in their existing posts. The site will second more staff in the next few weeks, and also advertise for new posts. Replacements for New York-bound team members will be filled “in time”.
Gibson says in the announcement: “We’ve learned a lot about what digital journalism can do, and now we want to build on that to cover America better and cover the world better for our American users. To do that, we’ll be mixing the journalistic ambition, trust and long history of the Guardian with the energy and innovation that comes from being a start-up in the world capital of digital media.”
GNM has also added former WSJ and Financial Times advertising executive Steve Howe to lead the U.S. sales effort. GNM’s international and business development director Stella Beaumont is leading the project at exec level.
The Guardian, originally from Manchester, England, has found itself with a large U.S. audience – 60 percent of its 39.4 million monthly visitors come from outside the UK (source: *ABC*, Feb 2011), 8.6 million from the U.S. (source: comScore:, Feb 2011).
In 2007, GNM launched GuardianAmerica.com, a homepage to its stories curated for the U.S. audience. It hired about 10 reporters and producers, and recruited Michael Tomasky, the former editor of the American Prospect, to oversee the team in Washington, D.C. (Some staff was in New York.) The site’s mandate was to cover the U.S. for a U.S. audience; Reuters (NYSE: TRI) handled ad sales for the site.
But starting in late 2009, GNM began to phase out that U.S. homepage. It got rid of most of the staff it had hired, saying having a distinct site was confusing to readers. The decision coincided with a broader restructuring at the company. Ad sales were taken in-house.
Since then, GNM has been drawing up new plans for its U.S. business. This version of the strategy appears to favour continuity with the existing Guardian.co.uk rather than a new U.S. brand.
Despite introducing low-cost subscriptions to its iPhone app recently, it remains free in the States while Guardian.co.uk tries to build its audience there. An iPad edition is due shortly.
Howe was appointed after Caroline Little left as GNM’s U.S. CEO. Little, the former head of the Washington Post’s digital business, stepped down from that job last fall. In March, Little also stepped down from her post as CEO of ContentNext Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of GNM and the publisher of this site.
UK newspapers have been courting American audiences for a couple of years now. Mail Online, the country’s most popular newspaper website, recently appointed editorial and sales staff in the States.
Disclosure: Our publisher ContentNext is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian News & Media.