Editor’s diary: the great loss of one of the most respected, and highly paid, journalists in the news industry

But the past few weeks saw a stark reversal: the editor’s diary saw the departures of one of the most respected, and highly paid, journalists in the newspaper business.

Ronell Bennett is leaving The Times and the Sunday Times to join the Business and Investment section of the Wall Street Journal as a freelancer.

In a brief memo to staff on Wednesday, George Enthoven, Times News Editor, said: “It’s been a privilege to work with Ronell at both the Times and the Sunday Times. He’s a brilliant journalist and has served the company with distinction.

“We wish him all the best.”

Bennett was the Sunday Times political editor until he left the News UK titles for The New York Times Magazine in June 2017, and in April 2018 moved to join The Times and become political editor of its Britain page.

Bennett was described as “the great political reporter of his generation” in the New York Times by one reporter who knew him at the Times.

He was also named the British Press Award’s political editor of the year for a second time in a row in 2018, his second time winning the prize for the second time in a row after winning the same award in 2016.

The award ceremony is presented by the Society of Editors.

One of Bennett’s last major speeches at the Sunday Times was about political journalism and it hit a chord, with readers voting him British Journalist of the Year.

He also visited his wife and three-year-old daughter in Hong Kong after taking the job at the New York Times Magazine, but returned to the UK last month to prepare for the job as business and investment editor at the Wall Street Journal.

Today’s Business and Investment Section on WSJ.com will be led by Paul Sonne, who was previously business editor at the New York Times, and will be published four times a week, with Bennett contributing frequently.

Bennett’s last day at the Times will be 24 December, and his first day at the WSJ will be 4 January 2019.

On Wednesday, he posted his boss Enthoven’s memo on his Twitter account @ronellbennett.

In it, he said: “As I reflect on my time at the Times, I am grateful for the opportunity to try out a different kind of journalism – and to have worked alongside some very able and talented colleagues.

“There is much to be proud of – not least the legacy of journalism I’ve helped build here and the unique privilege I’ve had to report from some of the world’s most famous and important places.”

The short memo was sent to journalists at both the Times and Sunday Times – home to Bennett’s close friend Sarah Gristwood – and the business desk.

Enthoven told staff the business and investment page would be “stepping up its output” as a result of Bennett’s arrival.

Bennett replaced Gavin Millar when he left the Times for the Financial Times earlier this year.

In the past couple of years, the Times has lost several journalists to Big Data journalism sites – including Sophie Smith, whatherface.com, and Antony Baynes, Gary Carr, and Kevin Makers, after they resigned to start their own ventures.

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