OLD Media Moves

News vs. opinion debate at Reuters

September 9, 2012

Posted by Chris Roush

The Baron, a website devoted to discussing issues involving the Reuters newsroom, notes that there’s been a heated discussion in the wake of the news wire hiring a conservative columnist.

The Baron writes, “No other item on The Baron has excited such a response, some of it quite agitated. The reasoning covers many points of view. Readers who are members of LinkedIn, where more than 1,200 Reuters people past and present have joined The Baron group, can see the full discussion for themselves by clicking here.

“For those who are not on LinkedIn the following, drawn from many posts, is a brief summary of points made in the argument:

■ The appointment is a token move against liberal media bias and towards the goal of objectivity
■ Columnists are allowed to express their opinions in their work, other journalists should not
■ Thomson Reuters’ acquisition of Breakingviews created a distinction inside the organisation between news reporters and columnists
■ The best firewall between news and commentary requires dispensing with the latter and investing in the former. Reuters has chosen to go in the direction of least resistance, piling into the social media game where opinion trumps news.

“This is not the first time the relationship between news, in which Reuters’ prized reputation for excellence has been honed over a century and a half of reporting, and opinion, in which Reuters now seeks to broaden its reach and increase its influence through regular contributions by high profile columnists, has been addressed in this space.”

Read more here.

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