International round-up: Lewis appointed Dow Jones CEO

News Corp executive Will Lewis has been appointed CEO of Dow Jones, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, after acting in an interim capacity since the departure of former chief executive Lex Fenwick in January.

Mr Lewis was recruited to lead News Corp’s management and standards committee after the News of The World phone hacking scandal from 2011 to 2012. He was named chief creative officer of News Corp last year when the company demerged, placing its cable, TV and movie properties under 21st Century Fox banner

News Corp chief Robert Thomson said the former London Daily Telegraph editor and News International general manager brought “focus and energy” to Dow Jones and reconnected with core clients.

“He has also brought extra vigour to The Wall Street Journal franchise, which is developing its digital strategy, an area in which Will has particular expertise,” Mr Thomson said.

French photojournalist killed in Africa

A 26-year-old photojournalist, Camille Lepage, was found dead by French troops patrolling the Bouar region of the Central African Republic, the French government announced on Tuesday.

Lepage, whose work has been published in the The Guardian, Le Monde, The Washington Post, The Sunday Times and the Wall Street Journal, is suspected to have been targeted deliberately after being discovered in a vehicle driven by militia from the anti-balaka (“anti-machete”) group, according to The Guardian.

Her work has captured violence in South Sudan, where she lived and was planning to return after spending several months on a project in the CAR.

“Since I was very little, I’ve always wanted to go and live in a place where no one else wants to go, and cover in-depth conflict related stories,” she said in an interview last year. “I can’t accept that people’s tragedies are silenced simply because no one can make money out of them.”

US media speaks out against drone ban

The US government’s ban on journalists’ use of drones is a breach of the First Amendment, according to a group of more than a dozen news organisations who have challenged the ban this week.

Groups ranging from The New York Times Co, The National Press Club and the National Press Photographers Association to the Cox Media Group and Tribune Co have spoken out in support of aerial photographer Raphael Pirker, who was fined $10,000 by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Pirker appealed the fine, which was handed down for flying a small drone near the University of Virginia whilst shooting a commercial video in 2011. The FAA currently does not issue media permits for drones.

“The FAA’s position is untenable as it rests on a fundamental misunderstanding about journalism,” the brief from the media groups read.

“News gathering is not a ‘business purpose’.  It is a First Amendment right.”

Guardian to speed up online

Speed is the second highest-rated product driver for news websites, behind the ease of locating content, a finding that has prompted The Guardian to speed up its online offering.

Web developer Patrick Hamman talked about the masthead’s strategy last week at the FrontTrends conference in Warsaw, explaining that how fast the page loads – and the order in which its assets appear – is a huge influence on user experience.

The Guardian’s fully loaded median page time was clocked at 8.5 seconds, ahead of the New York Times at 20.6 seconds.

Washington Post hires 50 under Bezos

After announcing key goals of “growth and digital transformation” at the start of this year, Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron has taken his tally of new staff since then to 50.

The expansion, under the investment of billionaire Jeff Bezos, has run contrary to rumours following departures of a number of staff to Vox media, including Ezra Klein. While the Post closed its New York bureau in 2009, it opened a design and development office there this year, and has also signalled it will hire a reporter based in Silicon Valley.

“We’ve talked a lot about the need to grow,” Baron said in an interview with the Huffington Post.

“We’ve said that in order to grow, we have to look outside our own immediate region and the only opportunity for growth is digital. We are looking at growth opportunities around the country.”

The Post won two Pulitzer Prizes last month, including for its coverage of the NSA story.

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