SCMP's Most Disliked Employee?

Posted by Ed 50 days ago
Nine current and former SCMP employees told me that the lines were often far less clear.
Nearly all pointed to Yonden Lhatoo, the SCMP’s chief news editor—and among those responsible for editing the subway story—as an example. Lhatoo, a former TV journalist who was described by current and former colleagues as an abrasive and mercurial presence prone to angry outbursts and frequent shouting, is part of a trio of senior editors seen as contributing to a sometimes caustic newsroom environment.
Lhatoo also writes a regular opinion column and news stories as well. His editing of various articles that recapped days of protest grated on some journalists, particularly those reporting from the street. The tone was not missed by close readers of the newspaper.
“There are choices of language and vocabulary that are in themselves a reflection of bias,” said Louisa Lim, a former Beijing correspondent for NPR who is now a senior lecturer at the Center for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne, pointing to the use of terms like riot and rampage that often made it into the final versions of stories recounting protests. 
Members of the newsroom were particularly unhappy with a story Lhatoo wrote in October that ran in the news section of the paper, pushing a theory popular among pro-Beijing figures that there was a “silent majority” in Hong Kong that was against the protests but had been scared into silence. They were concerned enough to request a meeting with senior editors after the story’s publication to discuss their concerns over Lhatoo and editing more broadly.
Chow Chung Yan, the executive editor, and Zuraidah Ibrahim, the deputy executive editor, met with disgruntled staff, but “there was no attempt to try and reconcile anybody,” one person present at the meeting told me. “It was just, ‘This is the situation; if you don’t like it, there is the door.’” 
Over the course of the protests and in the months that followed, a number of journalists central to coverage did leave the newspaper, and at least one other editor is expected to depart shortly, according to people familiar with the matter. More recently, Lhatoo, in a May 16 column, urged Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, to take a page from Donald Trump’s book and strike back at “malicious journalists” by labeling them “fake news” and a “disgrace.”
One former reporter likened it to “asking for an attack on press freedom itself.” 

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