Some sports journalists fear that next year's Olympic Games will mark the termination of the Reuters' sporting operation in London.
They point to two indicators: the departure of three senior London staff, and an advert for a global sports editor that offers the option of a New York posting.
I can't say I share this belief on the basis of the "evidence" in a posting on the Sports Journalists' Association (SJA) website. But perhaps they know something that isn't clear from what they have published. Anyway, here are the indicators:
The current global sports editor, Paul Radford, is to stand down in 2012 and will manage a transition to his successor while supervising the agency's coverage of the London Olympics.
Sports production editor Kevin Fylan and deputy sports editor Jon Bramley are going off to work on the Volvo round-the-world yacht race.
Then there is the sports editor job advertisement, which was posted here two days ago. It states:
"The successful candidate will lead a global team of specialist sports correspondents and editors and work with our wider bureau network to guarantee the scope and quality of our internationally recognised sports news-gathering team. According to the SJA writer "such a move [to New York]... would comprehensively shift the focus of Reuters' internationally regarded sports coverage, with a New York office operating in a time zone five hours or more behind Europe."
The editor will be expected to contribute directly to the file through reporting, editing and analysing major sports stories and themes…
Based in London; we will consider New York for an exceptional candidate. Local terms, no relocation."
Reuters, which was founded in London in 1851, was merged with the US-owned Thomson Corporation in 2008. But its headquarters remain in Canary Wharf.
It is renowned for its sporting coverage. Some 300 reporters, editors, photographers and support staff are expected to cover the coming Olympics.
The SJA posting says: "The Reuters sports editor has always carried massive influence in sports media matters."
It points out that Radford has served on the International Olympic Commission's press commission for more than 10 years and was chairman of its working group at the Beijing and Vancouver games.
It adds: "Reuters has also carried much weight in negotiations between media operators and other sports events, such as the football, rugby and cricket World Cups.
"Whether that would change, and Reuters' sports coverage alter to focus more on NFL, NHL, Nascar and the like if they were run from New York is difficult to assess."
All interesting speculation, of course, but it's hardly conclusive proof of a transAtlantic switch. And Reuters, incidentally, is keeping its counsel.
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