Shepard Smith leaves Fox News Channel

Fox News Channel chief news anchor Shepard Smith appears on the set of "Shepard Smith Reporting" in New York in this 2017 file photo. (AP file photo)
Updated 12 October 2019

Shepard Smith leaves Fox News Channel

NEW YORK: Shepard Smith, whose newscast on Fox News Channel seemed increasingly an outlier on a network dominated by supporters of President Donald Trump, abruptly quit after signing off his final newscast on Friday.
Smith, who had signed a contract extension last spring, said that he had asked the network to let him out of his deal and it had agreed.
“Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive,” he said.
His departure comes one day after Attorney General William Barr met privately with media mogul Rupert Murdoch, founder of Fox News, although Smith’s representatives cautioned against conflating the two events.
Trump has been increasingly critical of personalities on Fox News that he views as disloyal. On Thursday, the president cited Smith and Fox analysts Andrew Napolitano and Donna Brazile in a tweet that said, “Fox News doesn’t deliver for US anymore. It is so different than it used to be.”
Asked about it later, Trump said, “Is he leaving? Oh, that’s a shame. Is he leaving because he had bad ratings?“
Smith’s show averaged nearly 1.3 million viewers the last three months, the Nielsen company said. That beats CNN and MSNBC. Fox’s prime-time lineup, with more viewers available, generally gets around 3 million viewers.
Neil Cavuto, who anchors the broadcast following Smith’s, looked shocked after his colleague made the announcement.
“Whoa,” Cavuto said. “Like you, I’m a little stunned.”
Smith was one of Fox News Channel’s original hires in 1996, and was a particular favorite of Roger Ailes, the former Fox chairman who was ousted in 2016 following misconduct charges and died the following spring. While he often angered many of Fox’s conservative viewers, Smith’s work was most prominently cited by the network when it received criticism for being too partisan.
On his afternoon newscast, Smith had frequently given tough reports debunking statements made by Trump and his supporters — even the Fox News opinion hosts that rule the network’s prime-time lineup.
Two weeks ago, Smith clashed with Tucker Carlson that started when Napolitano, speaking on Smith’s program, said that it was a crime for Trump to solicit aid for his campaign from a foreign government, in this case Ukraine. Later that night, Carlson asked his own analyst, Joseph diGenova, about that and he called Napolitano a fool.
The next day, Smith said that “attacking our colleague who is here to offer legal assessments, on our air, in our work home, is repugnant.”
In an interview with Time magazine in March 2018, Smith said that “they don’t really have any rules on the opinion side.
“They can say whatever they want,” he said. “Some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining. I get that. I don’t work there. I wouldn’t work there.”
On a broadcast in July, Smith called out Trump over his “misleading and xenophobic eruption” of criticism aimed at a group of Democratic congresswoman who are minorities, saying the president’s remarks were part of a pattern of distraction and division.
“The news department (at Fox) has just taken a huge hit with the loss of Shep,” said Carl Cameron, a longtime former reporter at Fox. “For journalists like Chris Wallace and Bret Baier, it’s going to get even harder.”
Smith, 55, said he is not retiring, although his agreement with Fox will forbid him from working elsewhere “at least in the near future.”
Fox said that a news broadcast would continue in its 3 p.m. ET hour with rotating substitute anchors.


Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

Updated 12 November 2019

Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

  • Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at FT
  • Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain

LONDON: Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf will become the first woman to edit the Financial Times in its 131-year history after Lionel Barber, Britain’s most senior financial journalist, said he would step down.
Barber said on Tuesday he would leave in January after 14 years as editor and 34 years at the Nikkei-owned newspaper, which had one million paying readers in 2019, with digital subscribers accounting for more than 75% of total circulation.
Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at the salmon-pink FT and in recent years has sought to increase diversity in the newsroom and attract more female readers, while also becoming the publication’s first Arab editor.
“It’s a great honor to be appointed editor of the FT, the greatest news organization in the world.
“I look forward to building on Lionel Barber’s extraordinary achievements,” said Khalaf, whose earlier writing for Forbes magazine had earned her a small role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
Her article described the leading character Jordan Belfort as sounding like a twisted version of Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives to himself and his merry band of brokers.
Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain and one of few leading female editors in the world after Jill Abramson left the New York Times.
Before joining the FT in 1995, Khalaf worked at Forbes in New York and earned a master’s at Columbia University and graduated from Syracuse University.
Tsuneo Kita, chairman of Japan’s Nikkei which bought the FT from Pearson in 2015, said in a statement Khalaf was chosen for her sound judgment and integrity.
“We look forward to working closely with her to deepen our global media alliance.”
Nikkei’s Kita described Barber as a strategic thinker and true internationalist, adding he was very sad to see him leave.
“However, both of us agree it is time to open a new chapter,” he said.
During his time as editor, Barber engineered a successful push into online subscription that protected the title as others battled an unprecedented collapse in advertising revenue, as well as managing the move to a new owner.