OLD Media Moves

Longtime Reuters staffer questions order to pick up competitor scoops

September 17, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

One of Reuters’ most experienced and longest-serving correspondents has challenged an editor’s order to pick up scoops scored by the opposition, reports The Baron, a site that tracks Reuters.

The Baron writes, “Jim Gaines, the news agency’s editor for The Americas, recently issued the following instruction on The Hub, its internal communications system: ‘When a legitimate rival (anyone from our big-media competitors to authoritative blogs) gets a solid scoop that will either move a stock or be likely to influence traders and investors in your patch, you must pick it up immediately, with snaps if it’s a possible stock-mover. Then you should put out calls to sources and otherwise reach out for help.’

“He acknowledged that ‘Our financial clients pay us to give them news no one else has, of course, but they also count on us to tell them quickly about hot news from our rivals that will either move a stock – or even the market – or drive the conversation. When we delay news on a big story because we want to match it first or for whatever reason, we have denied our clients the best information available and so failed them and ourselves.

“‘Even in cases where a rival builds on one of our biggest scoops and takes it forward only incrementally, we should pick it up, then showcase our own earlier reporting with a link,’ he said.

“‘The temptation to dismiss a scoop out of pride, in other words, should be a warning sign that we’re about to make a major mistake. Our customers come first, even when it hurts.’

“Gaines is a former editor of US magazines Time, Life and People. Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen Adler hired him in April 2011 as global editor for ethics, standards and innovation.

Bob Evans, a 50-year veteran correspondent and bureau chief now working as a consultant to Reuters, questioned the instruction as a major departure from long-established Reuters news practice and ‘ethically dubious.'”

Read more here.

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