Reuters’ Adler sends memo addressing wire service’s objectives
Jeff Bercovici of Forbes.com writes Wednesday that Reuters editor in chief Stephen Adler sent a memo to the staff that addressed the news operation’s goals in the wake of criticism about a Reuters story last week that loosely tied investor George Soros to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
In the memo, Adler writes, “Someone asked Mike Williams on a recent staff call how we could maintain our journalistic standards while embarking on investigative reporting. Mike was a little dumbstruck and responded that high journalistic standards and investigative journalism aren’t just compatible, they are inextricably connected. I entirely agree: We uncover hard-to-get facts through meticulous, dogged reporting, and we report what we learn fairly and dispassionately –with no other agenda than informing our readers. The story’s heat emanates from the depth of reporting and understanding it reflects, not from loose logic, innuendo, or what some internally call ‘banalysis.’
“A great virtue of our cherished reputation for accuracy is that readers actually rely on what we write, and they feel betrayed when we fall short of our high standards. We therefore have a responsibility to be worthy of their trust every day. This doesn’t mean every subject of every story has to be pleased with what we have reported. Indeed, if we are reporting deeply and well, we will uncover wrongdoing and other circumstances that reflect poorly on individuals or institutions. People will complain. That’s ok. But even when a story is critical, it must be accurate and fair. And when we do make a mistake, we must correct it fully, openly, and as quickly as possible. I know this ethically demanding approach to journalism runs deep in the culture of Reuters. It remains core to our belief system and our behavior even as we pursue more in-depth modes of coverage.”
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