Index, Hungary’s leading news outlet, has announced those chosen to head the site’s new editorial board. According to expectations, Pál Szombathy will be the new editor-in-chief. Meanwhile, it seems that the leadership has yet to find employees for several positions, and the new editorial staff seems to be a lot smaller as the new number of journalists will be around 50-60 instead of the former 90-100.
Pál Szombathy, member of Index’s director’s board, and the former editor-in-chief of Magyar Hírlap, will become Index’s new editor-in-chief.
Other members include András Sztankóczy, former news director of public broadcaster Magyar Rádió, former senior staff member of pro-government Magyar Hírlap and Heti Válasz, who will be the strategic director and chief editor. Szonja Kitzinger, who previously worked for Magyar Rádió, pro-government Figyelő and Marquard Media company. Gergely Balogh, former professor and former director of communications at Corvinus University, and former founding editor-in-chief of pro-gov’t Mandiner, will be the Deputy Editor-in-Chief responsible for organizational development. Zoltán Szalóky, former editor-in-chief of Inforádió, will perform the duties of news director.
In addition to the portal’s management team, nearly thirty new staff members will be starting work in the upcoming days, including columnists, senior editors, and a number of journalists.
Although László Bodolai, Chairman of the Board of Index.hu Zrt., said earlier that there are so many applicants for the jobs at Index that there is no need for recruitment, according to news site Media1, they are still desperately looking for journalists and news editors for the paper.
Also the total number of the editorial staff is planned to be about a third smaller than the former 90-100 people, about 55-60.
The scandal surrounding Index began at the end of June when editor-in-chief Szabolcs Dull announced that the portal’s editorial independence was in danger. The decision came after Miklós Vaszily, a media manager close to the government, had purchased a 50% stake in Indamedia Group, the company which controls the revenue streams and advertising of the site. Following this, a new restructuring plan was put on the table, suggesting some of the portal’s content and columns should be outsourced to external providers. Although the plan was not implemented, the staff felt that all this was nothing more than an attempt from pro-government circles to influence the editorial policy and content of the online media outlet.
After Szabolcs Dull was fired by the management board of the media company for allegedly leaking information regarding internal affairs, most of the staff at Index announced their resignation as they saw Dull’s dismissal as a clear sign that their editorial indepence was no longer guaranteed.
Opinions are still divided as to what exactly happened in the background- whether political forces were really trying to snatch the portal, or something completely different happened.
Featured image via Index