OLD Media Moves

How Reuters reporter Dastin scored his Amazon exclusive

May 20, 2019

Posted by Chris Roush

Jeffrey Dastin

Reuters tech reporter Jeffrey Dastin talked about how he obtained his exclusive report that Amazon.com Inc. had rolled out machines to automate a job held by thousands of its workers: boxing up customer orders.

Here is an excerpt:

Q: How did you score this exclusive?

A: Good stories are often unexpected. I was asking a source detailed questions about Amazon’s interest in robotic hands for grasping customer orders, when the person stopped me and said, ‘That’s not the real story here.’ I asked what was. The source explained that the technology I had focused my attention on was too experimental for Amazon to roll out widely, unlike, say, box-packing machines. That gave me a news tip to pursue.

Q: What types of reporting were involved?

A: I looked for anyone who could elaborate on the news tip. I went to events where I could introduce myself to sources. Lots of digging and luck eventually led me to the right people. I then had to earn their trust over time to ensure Reuters got the full, factual story.

Q: What was the hardest part of the reporting?

A: Learning how many roles the machines would replace was not an easy number to uncover.

Read more here.

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