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Reuters Group plc

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Founded London (October 1851)
Headquarters Canary Wharf, London, England

<tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Industry</th><td>News agency</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Website</th><td></td></tr>

Reuters Group plc (LSE: RTR and NASDAQ: RTRSY); pron. [ɹɔɪtəɹz] is best known as a news service that provides reports from around the world to newspapers and broadcasters. However, news reporting accounts for less than 10% of the company's income. Its main focus is on supplying the financial markets with information and trading products. These include market data, such as share prices and currency rates, research and analytics, as well as trading systems that allow dealers to buy and sell such things as currencies and shares on a computer screen instead of by telephone or on a trading floor like that of the New York Stock Exchange. Competitors include Bloomberg L.P. and Dow Jones Newswires.


[edit] History

Paul Julius Reuter, born to a rabbi in Kassel, Germany noticed that news need no longer take days or weeks to travel from one country to another using electric telegraph. In 1850, the 34-year-old Reuter was based in Aachen, Germany (close to the Dutch and Belgian border) and began to use the newly opened Berlin-Aachen telegraph to send news back to Berlin. But there was a 76-mile gap in the telegraph between Aachen and Brussels. Reuter spotted the opportunity to speed up news between Brussels and Berlin by using homing pigeons to bridge the gap in the telegraph.
Reuters Data Centre, London.

In 1851, Reuter moved to London as attempts to lay a submarine telegraph cable from Dover to Calais looked like succeeding, after failures in 1847 and 1850. He set up his "Submarine Telegraph" office in October 1851 just before the opening of the cable in November, and agreed a contract with the London Stock Exchange to provide stock prices from the continental exchanges in return for access to the London prices, which he supplied to Paris brokers.

In 1865, Reuter's private firm was restructured and became a limited company called Reuter's Telegram Company. Reuter had been naturalised as a British subject in 1857.

Reuter's agency built a reputation in Europe for being the first to report scoops from abroad, like the news of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Today, almost every major news outlet in the world subscribes to Reuters. It operates in 200 cities in 94 countries, supplying text in 19 languages.

Reuters was floated as a public company in 1984 on the London Stock Exchange and on NASDAQ in the US. However, there were concerns that the company's tradition for objective reporting might be jeopardised if control of the company later fell into the hands of a single shareholder. To counter this possibility, the constitution of the company at the time of flotation included a rule that no individual was allowed to hold more than 15% of the company. If this limit is exceeded the directors can order the shareholder to reduce the holding to less than 15%. This rule was applied in the late 1980s when Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which already held around 15% of Reuters, bought an Australian news company which also had a holding in Reuters. The acquisition meant that Murdoch then held more than 15% and he was obliged to reduce the holding to less than 15% in line with the rules.

At the same time, as a further measure to protect the independence of Reuters news reporting, The Reuters Founders Share Company was set up. This is a company whose sole task is to protect the integrity of the company's news output. It holds one "Founders Share" which can outvote all other shares in the event that an attempt is made to alter any of the rules relating to the Reuters Trust Principles. These principles set out the company's aim to preserve its independence, integrity and freedom from bias in its news reporting. [1]

Reuters began to grow rapidly in the 1980s, widening the range of its business products and expanding its global reporting network for media, financial and economic services. Recent key product launches include Equities 2000 (1987), Dealing 2000-2 (1992), Business Briefing (1994), Reuters Television for the financial markets (1994), 3000 Series (1996) and the Reuters 3000 Xtra service (1999).

In the mid-1990s the company had a brief foray into the radio sector with London Radio's two stations, London News 97.3 FM and London News Talk 1152 AM, which replaced LBC in 1994. A Reuters Radio News service was also set up to compete with Independent Radio News.

In 1995, Reuters established its "Greenhouse Fund" to take minority investments in a range of start-up technology companies, initially in the United States.

Edward G. Robinson starred in a Hollywood film about the company called A Dispatch from Reuters in 1940.

[edit] Journalists

Reuters has a committed team of several thousand journalists, who, over the years, have covered every big news event, sometimes at the cost of losing their lives. In May 2000 Kurt Schork, an American reporter, was killed in an ambush while on assignment in Sierra Leone. In April and August 2003, news cameramen Taras Protsyuk and Mazen Dana were lost at the hands of the US forces in Iraq. During 2004, the company lost cameramen Adlan Khasanov in Chechnya and Dhia Najim in Iraq.

[edit] Investments

Notable investments include:

  • Factiva:

In May 1999, Reuters entered a joint venture with long-time rival, Dow Jones & Company, to form Factiva [2], a business news and information provider.

  • TIBCO Software:

In July 1999 TIBCO completed an IPO on NASDAQ; Reuters retains a substantial proportion of the shares. Reuters announced in early 2000 a range of major initiatives designed to accelerate its use of internet technologies, open new markets and migrate its core business to an internet-based model.

  • Instinet:

In May 2001 Instinet completed an IPO on NASDAQ; Reuters sold its majority stake in Instinet to The Nasdaq Stock Market in 2005.

  • Bridge Information Systems:

On September 28 2001, completed the largest acquisition in its history acquired certain businesses and assets of Bridge Information Systems Inc. Also during the year, the Group acquired 100% of Diagram fip SA and 92% of ProTrader Group LP. In October 2001, the Group disposed of its majority stake in VentureOne Corp.

  • Inc.:

In March 2003, Reuters acquired, Inc., a provider of global financial information.

  • EcoWin AB:

In November 2005, Reuters acquired also EcoWin AB, Inc., a provider of global fianancial, equities, and economic data.

  • Application Networks:

In June 2006, Reuters acquired Application Networks, Inc., a provider of trade and risk management software based on JRisk.

[edit] Main corporate locations

The Reuters Building in Canary Wharf

From 1939, the Reuters corporate headquarters was in London's famous Fleet Street, but in 2005 Reuters moved to a larger building in the more modern Canary Wharf. The Reuters Building is near the One Canada Square tower, Jubilee Park and Canary Wharf tube station. The open space below the Reuters building has since been renamed Reuters Plaza.

The company's North American headquarters is the Reuters Building at 3 Times Square, New York. It is on 7th Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets, and was constructed from 1998 to 2001.[3]

[edit] Allegations of bias

The news organization has been accused of showing liberal bias, especially in its media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, by sources such as the National Review and the Wall Street Journal's editorial division. Some allegations stem from photos doctored by a freelance photographer to worsen Israel's image. Reuters severed all ties with this photographer when his deceit was discovered.[4] Other accusations are prompted by the use of words such as "militants" or "guerrillas" instead of "terrorists" for groups that deliberately kill civilians in pursuit of political objectives. This is a policy which Reuters has applied for decades, including in the Northern Ireland conflict. The September 20, 2004 edition of the The New York Times reported that Reuters Global Managing Editor, David A. Schlesinger, objected to Canadian newspapers editing Reuters articles through inclusion of the word "terrorist", stating that "my goal is to protect our reporters and protect our editorial integrity", [5] and Reuters says that the use of "militants" and "guerrillas" is part of a long-standard policy against bias.

On August 7, 2006 Reuters pulled from circulation the 920 photographs taken by Lebanese freelance photographer Adnan Hajj, of Beirut, Lebanon, during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, of which at least two were shown to be significantly altered prior to publication.[6] Head of PR Moira Whittle said, "Reuters takes such matters extremely seriously as it is strictly against company editorial policy to alter pictures." Critics maintain that use of local freelance photographers increases the risk that a wire service news desk will inadvertently transmit altered and staged photographs, created either by those trying to make money through the sale of dramatic photographs or by those trying to deceive the media for political gain, e.g., Hezbollah.

See also: 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict photographs controversies.

One of Adnan Haj's photographs appeared to have been altered to exaggerate the size of an Israeli bomb explosion in Beirut, although he said the alteration was an inadvertent result of an effort to remove dust marks from the image. Reuters said it would no longer employ him as a freelancer, although critics (such as the bloggers cited below) alleged that removing Hajj dealt with only a symptom of a much deeper problem at the news organization.

See also: Adnan Hajj photographs controversy

On May 29, 2006 Reuters Global Head of Communication Ed Williams stated that the company had suspended an employee who used a Reuters Internet connection to send an offensive and possibly threatening email to American blogger Charles Johnson of the weblog Little Green Footballs. Johnson, who regularly claimed that Reuters was a biased organization, quoted the message as: "I look forward to the day when you pigs get your throats cut." [7]

Defenders of Reuters' terminology say it is the agency's policy to use the most balanced language possible. In the 1982 war between Britain and Argentina over control of islands in the South Atlantic, Reuters ordered its correspondents not to take sides even on the islands' name, which the British called the Falklands and the Argentines called the Malvinas. Reuters' rule was to use both names and alter which came first -- "Falklands (Malvinas)" would be followed on the next reference by "Malvinas (Falklands.)"

Critics say that Reuters' avoidance of certain words is selective [8], reflecting a larger bias against the United States [9], Israel [10], Jews [11], or Western values in general [12]. Others, however, say that such arguments tend to be weakened by the fact that Reuters generates more than 90% of its income from financial products that help support the western economic system rather than undermine it. The world's foreign exchange market, for example, with a daily volume of $1.5 trillion (around 60 times greater than daily volume on the New York Stock Exchange) has been underpinned since the 1970s by Reuters price and trading systems.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Further reading

[edit] References

  • Read, Donald (1992). The Power of News. The History of Reuters 1849-1989. Oxford, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-821776-5


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