Media Moves

Reuteman: H-P broke the rules

September 9, 2006

Rocky Mountain News business editor Rob Reuteman wrote in his Saturday column that computer company Hewlett-Packard broke the rules when it obtained phone records of business journalists that cover the company an in attempt to find out which board member was leaking information.

Reuteman emphasized that business journalists don’t use the same tactics.

Rob ReutemanHe wrote, “We play fair. At the Rocky Mountain News, it’s a firing offense for a reporter to misrepresent himself or herself to anyone during the performance of newspaper duties. Indeed, it is our practice to identify ourselves as newspaper reporters immediately whenever we communicate with anyone while working. It is such a strong part of what we do that I have never encountered a single instance of misrepresentation in 23 years as an editor here.

“That’s why I find the actions taken by H-P so offensive. However low your opinion of newspaper reporters may be, we don’t lie or cheat to get the news.

“I spoke about this with several of our reporters today. We agreed that we rarely contact a corporation’s board members. For the most part, it hasn’t been fruitful. When we’ve done it in the past, it’s usually because we conclude that a company is trying to hide something that shareholders or the public would want to know. And we pull out all the stops to try to find out what it might be, to let you know.”

Read more here.

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