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This article is about the Reuters news agency. For the current parent company, see Thomson Reuters. For the former parent company prior to its 2008 acquisition by The Thomson Corporation, see Reuters Group.

Reuters
Division
Industry News agency
Founded October 1851
Headquarters Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom[1]
Owner(s) Thomson Reuters
Website

Reuters /ˈrɔɪtərz/ is an international news agency headquartered in Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom and a division of Thomson Reuters. Until 2008, the Reuters news agency formed part of an independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data. Since the acquisition of Reuters Group by The Thomson Corporation in 2008, the Reuters news agency has been a part of Thomson Reuters, forming part of its financial and risk division. It transmits news in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese.

History

The Reuter agency was established in 1851 by Paul Julius Reuter in Britain at the London Royal Exchange. Paul Reuter worked at a book-publishing firm in Berlin and was involved in distributing radical pamphlets at the beginning of the Revolutions in 1848. These publications brought much attention to Reuter. He later developed a prototype news service in 1849 in which he used electric telegraphy and carrier pigeons. The Reuter's Telegram Company was later launched. The company initially covered commercial news, serving banks, brokerage houses, and business firms.[2]

The first newspaper client to subscribe was the London Morning Advertiser in 1858.[3] Newspaper subscriptions subsequently expanded.

Over the years Reuter's agency has built a reputation in Europe and the rest of the world as the first to report news scoops from abroad. Reuters was the first to report Abraham Lincoln’s assassination among other major stories. Almost every major news outlet in the world currently subscribes to Reuters. Reuters operates in more than 200 cities in 94 countries in about 20 languages.

The last surviving member of the Reuters family founders, Marguerite, Baroness de Reuter, died at age 96 on 25 January 2009, after having suffered a series of strokes.[4]

Journalists

Reuters employs several thousand journalists, sometimes at the cost of their lives. In May 2000, Kurt Schork, an American reporter, was killed in an ambush while on assignment in Sierra Leone. In April and August 2003, news cameramen Taras Protsyuk and Mazen Dana were killed in separate incidents by U.S. troops in Iraq. In July 2007, Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh were killed when they were fired upon by a U.S. military Apache helicopter in Baghdad[5] after having been mistakenly identified as carrying weapons.[6] During 2004, cameramen Adlan Khasanov in Chechnya and Dhia Najim in Iraq were also killed. In April 2008, cameraman Fadel Shana was killed in the Gaza Strip after being hit by an Israeli tank using flechettes.[7]

The first Reuters journalist to be taken hostage in action was Anthony Grey. Detained while covering China's Cultural Revolution in Peking in the late 1960s, it was said to be in response to the jailing of several Chinese journalists by the colonial British government of Hong Kong.[8] He was considered to be the first political hostage of the modern age and was released after almost 2 years of solitary confinement. Awarded an OBE by the British Government in recognition of this, he went on to become a best-selling author.

Fatalities

Name Nationality Location Date
Kurt Schork American Sierra Leone 24 May 2000
Taras Protsyuk Ukrainian Iraq 8 April 2003
Mazen Dana Palestinian Iraq 17 August 2003
Adlan Khasanov Russian Chechnya 9 May 2004
Dhia Najim Iraqi Iraq 1 November 2004
Waleed Khaled Iraqi Iraq 28 August 2005
Namir Noor-Eldeen Iraqi Iraq 12 July 2007[9]
Saeed Chmagh Iraqi Iraq 12 July 2007[9]
Fadel Shana'a Palestinian Gaza Strip 16 April 2008
Hiro Muramoto Japanese Thailand 10 April 2010
Sabah al-Bazee Iraqi Iraq 29 March 2011

Criticism and controversy

Policy of objective language

Reuters has a strict policy toward upholding journalistic objectivity. This policy has caused comment on the possible insensitivity of its non-use of the word terrorist in reports, including the 11 September attacks. Reuters has been careful to use the word terrorist only in quotes, whether quotations or scare quotes. Reuters global news editor Stephen Jukes wrote, "We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist." The Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz responded, “After the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and again after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Reuters allowed the events to be described as acts of terror. But as of last week, even that terminology is banned.” Reuters later apologised for this characterization of their policy,[10] although they maintained the policy itself.

The 20 September 2004 edition of The New York Times reported that the Reuters global managing editor, David A. Schlesinger, objected to Canadian newspapers' editing of Reuters articles by inserting the word terrorist, stating that "my goal is to protect our reporters and protect our editorial integrity."[11]

However, when reporting the 7 July 2005 London bombings, the service reported, "Police said they suspected terrorists were behind the bombings." This line appeared to break with their previous policy and was also criticized.[12] Reuters later clarified by pointing out they include the word "when we are quoting someone directly or in indirect speech," and the headline was an example of the latter.[13] The news organisation has subsequently used "terrorist" without quotations when the article clarifies that it is someone else's words.

In 2011 the Journal of Applied Business Research published research by Henry I. Silverman, of Roosevelt University that concluded that "Reuters engages in systematically biased storytelling in favor of the Arabs/Palestinians."[14] Reuters denied the allegations.[15]

Climate change reporting

In July 2013, David Fogarty, former Reuters climate change correspondent in Asia, resigned after a career of almost 20 years with the company and wrote about a "climate of fear" which resulted in "progressively, getting any climate change-themed story published got harder" following comments from then deputy editor-in-chief Paul Ingrassia that he was a "climate change sceptic." In his comments, Fogarty stated that "Some desk editors happily subbed and pushed the button. Others agonised and asked a million questions. Debate on some story ideas generated endless bureaucracy by editors frightened to take a decision, reflecting a different type of climate within Reuters—the climate of fear," and that "by mid-October, I was informed that climate change just wasn't a big story for the present. ... Very soon after that conversation I was told my climate change role was abolished."[16][17] Ingrassia, currently Reuters' managing editor, formerly worked for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones for 31 years.[18] Reuter's responded to Fogarty's piece by stating that "Reuters has a number of staff dedicated to covering this story, including a team of specialist reporters at Point Carbon and a columnist. There has been no change in our editorial policy."[19]

Subsequently climate blogger Joe Romm cited a Reuters article on climate as employing "false balance," and quoted Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf, Co-Chair of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute that "simply, a lot of unrelated climate skeptics nonsense has been added to this Reuters piece. In the words of the late Steve Schneider, this is like adding some nonsense from the Flat Earth Society to a report about the latest generation of telecommunication satellites. It is absurd." Romm opined that "We can't know for certain who insisted on cramming this absurd and non-germane 'climate skeptics nonsense' into the piece, but we have a strong clue. If it had been part of the reporter's original reporting, you would have expected direct quotes from actual skeptics, because that is journalism 101. The fact that the blather was all inserted without attribution [without citing source] suggests it was added at the insistence of an editor."[20]

Photograph controversies / Accusations of anti-Israel bias

Reuters was accused of bias against Israel in its coverage of the 2006 Israel–Lebanon conflict, in which the company used two doctored photos by a Lebanese freelance photographer Adnan Hajj.[21] On 7 August 2006, Reuters announced[22] it had severed all ties with Hajj and said his photographs would be removed from its database.

In 2010 Reuters was criticised again for "anti-Israeli" bias when it cropped the edges of photos, removing commandos' knives held by activists and a naval commando's blood from photographs taken aboard the Mavi Marmara during the Gaza flotilla raid, a raid that left nine Turkish activists dead. It has been alleged that in two separate photographs, knives held by the activists were cropped out of the versions of the pictures published by Reuters.[23] Reuters said it is standard operating procedure to crop photos at the margins, and replaced the cropped images with the original ones after it was brought to the agency’s attention.[23]

See also

Notes

References

Further reading

  • Reuters Interactive launches on BTX Enterprise as Reuters Interactive community site
  • Editorials on Reuters' use of 'terrorist': Norman Solomon, Institute for Public Accuracy/U.S. columnist
  • Criticism of references to the Holocaust
  • Reuters photo caption of New York City's World Trade Center site after 11 September causes controversy
  • Reuters Investigation Leads To Dismissal Of Editor

External links

  • Times of Crisis—multimedia interactive charting the year of global change
  • Bearing Witness award-winning multimedia reflecting on war in Iraq
  • Reuters – The State of the World—News imagery of the 21st century
  • Thomson Reuters Foundation—philanthropic foundation
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