Two months after the Slate Group folded its business news site The Big Money, its former editor-in-chief James Ledbetter is heading to Reuters (NYSE: TRI) to run the company’s website, paidContent has learned. Both Reuters and Ledbetter confirmed the hiring. Ledbetter had stayed on to write for Slate.com following the discontinuation of The Big Money, but his departure was not unexpected.
A very well-liked and widely respected financial journalist, Ledbetter’s hiring is a pretty big coup for Reuters, which has been trying to build a more general business audience for its website for the past year. As part of his role as editor of Reuters.com, Ledbetter will oversee the homepage and work with Reuters’ 2,800 journalists around the globe on original content for the site. He will report to Richard Baum, global editor, consumer media.
Before coming to Slate and helping create The Big Money, Ledbetter served as deputy managing editor of CNNMoney.com and Fortune.com. He has authored or edited five books. His latest, on Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Military-Industrial Complex, will be published by Yale University Press in January.
In addition to bringing on Ledbetter, Reuters is also preparing to announce another hire this afternoon. Arlene Getz, formerly editorial director of Worldwide Special Editions at Newsweek, has joined to chart Reuters’ strategy as the company looks to boost its news presence in the U.S. Getz will help tailor the Reuters news offering for its media clients and take advantage of shifts in the media industry. She will report to Eddie Evans, top news editor.
Updated: Ledbetter will move over to Reuters in October and will continue to write for Slate up to that point. In the middle of working on a Slate piece this afternoon, Ledbetter took a few minutes to offer his thoughts on his priorities as he prepares for his new role. “Reuters has done a great job of redesigning its website for a general business audience, but to date, they haven’t had a lot of resources at their disposal in terms of organizing its news in a compelling way,” Ledbetter said. “Aside from getting a quick understanding of the logistics of a very large place, I want to focus on answering the question of how can you bring more voices, more excitement to the site, without stepping on the integrity of Reuters. And how you can work with the amazing group of journalists to create a more compelling web experience.”
One thing he does not expect to do is recreate The Big Money for Reuters. “They’re pretty different beasts,” Ledbetter said of his last job and his new one. “The audience is different, for one thing. The emphasis on breaking news at Reuters was not the mandate at The Big Money. Having said that, I did learn a lot about presenting financial journalism on the web and obviously, that sensibility will carry over.”