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Type Division
Industry News agency
Founded October 1851
Headquarters Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom[1]
Owner(s) Thomson Reuters

Reuters /ˈrɔɪtərz/ is an international news agency headquartered in Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom and a division of Thomson Reuters. Until 2008, the Reuters news agency formed part of an independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data. Since the acquisition of Reuters Group by The Thomson Corporation in 2008, the Reuters news agency has been a part of Thomson Reuters, forming part of its financial and risk division. It transmits news in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese.


The Reuter agency was established in 1851 by Paul Julius Reuter in Britain at the London Royal Exchange. Paul Reuter worked at a book-publishing firm in Berlin and was involved in distributing radical pamphlets at the beginning of the Revolutions in 1848. These publications brought much attention to Reuter. He later developed a prototype news service in 1849 in which he used electric telegraphy and carrier pigeons. The Reuter's Telegram Company was later launched. The company initially covered commercial news, serving banks, brokerage houses, and business firms.[2]

The first newspaper client to subscribe was the London Morning Advertiser in 1858.[3] Newspaper subscriptions subsequently expanded.

Over the years Reuter's agency has built a reputation in Europe and the rest of the world as the first to report news scoops from abroad. Reuters was the first to report Abraham Lincoln’s assassination among other major stories. Almost every major news outlet in the world currently subscribes to Reuters. Reuters operates in more than 200 cities in 94 countries in about 20 languages.

The last surviving member of the Reuters family founders, Marguerite, Baroness de Reuter, died at age 96 on 25 January 2009, after having suffered a series of strokes.[4]


Reuters employs several thousand journalists, sometimes at the cost of 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 killed in separate incidents by U.S. troops in Iraq. In July 2007, Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh were killed when they were fired upon by a U.S. military Apache helicopter in Baghdad[5] after having been mistakenly identified as carrying weapons.[6] During 2004, cameramen Adlan Khasanov in Chechnya and Dhia Najim in Iraq were also killed. In April 2008, cameraman Fadel Shana was killed in the Gaza Strip after being hit by an Israeli tank using flechettes.[7]

The first Reuters journalist to be taken hostage in action was Anthony Grey. Detained while covering China's Cultural Revolution in Peking in the late 1960s, it was said to be in response to the jailing of several Chinese journalists by the colonial British government of Hong Kong.[8] He was considered to be the first political hostage of the modern age and was released after almost 2 years of solitary confinement. Awarded an OBE by the British Government in recognition of this, he went on to become a best-selling author.


Name Nationality Location Date
Kurt Schork American Sierra Leone 24 May 2000
Taras Protsyuk Ukrainian Iraq 8 April 2003
Mazen Dana Palestinian Iraq 17 August 2003
Adlan Khasanov Russian Chechnya 9 May 2004
Dhia Najim Iraqi Iraq 1 November 2004
Waleed Khaled Iraqi Iraq 28 August 2005
Namir Noor-Eldeen Iraqi Iraq 12 July 2007[9]
Saeed Chmagh Iraqi Iraq 12 July 2007[9]
Fadel Shana'a Palestinian Gaza Strip 16 April 2008
Hiro Muramoto Japanese Thailand 10 April 2010
Sabah al-Bazee Iraqi Iraq 29 March 2011
Molhem Baraka Syrian Syria 20 December 2013

Criticism and controversy[edit]

Policy of objective language[edit]

Reuters building entrance in NYC

Reuters has a strict policy toward upholding journalistic objectivity.[citation needed] This policy has caused comment on the possible insensitivity of its non-use of the word terrorist in reports, including the 11 September attacks. Reuters has been careful to use the word terrorist only in quotes, whether quotations or scare quotes. Reuters global news editor Stephen Jukes wrote, "We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist." The Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz responded, “After the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and again after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Reuters allowed the events to be described as acts of terror. But as of last week, even that terminology is banned.” Reuters later apologised for this characterization of their policy,[10] although they maintained the policy itself.

The 20 September 2004 edition of The New York Times reported that the Reuters global managing editor, David A. Schlesinger, objected to Canadian newspapers' editing of Reuters articles by inserting the word terrorist, stating that "my goal is to protect our reporters and protect our editorial integrity."[11]

However, when reporting the 7 July 2005 London bombings, the service reported, "Police said they suspected terrorists were behind the bombings." This line appeared to break with their previous policy and was also criticized.[12] Reuters later clarified by pointing out they include the word "when we are quoting someone directly or in indirect speech," and the headline was an example of the latter.[13] The news organisation has subsequently used "terrorist" without quotations when the article clarifies that it is someone else's words.

In 2011 the Journal of Applied Business Research published research by Henry I. Silverman, an associate professor at Roosevelt University, specialising in Finance, Information Systems, Real Estate and Accounting, that concluded that "Reuters engages in systematically biased storytelling in favor of the Arabs/Palestinians."[14] Reuters denied the allegations.[15]

Climate change reporting[edit]

In July 2013, David Fogarty, former Reuters climate change correspondent in Asia, resigned after a career of almost 20 years with the company and wrote about a "climate of fear" which resulted in "progressively, getting any climate change-themed story published got harder" following comments from then deputy editor-in-chief Paul Ingrassia that he was a "climate change sceptic." In his comments, Fogarty stated that "Some desk editors happily subbed and pushed the button. Others agonised and asked a million questions. Debate on some story ideas generated endless bureaucracy by editors frightened to take a decision, reflecting a different type of climate within Reuters—the climate of fear," and that "by mid-October, I was informed that climate change just wasn't a big story for the present. ... Very soon after that conversation I was told my climate change role was abolished."[16][17] Ingrassia, currently Reuters' managing editor, formerly worked for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones for 31 years.[18] Reuter's responded to Fogarty's piece by stating that "Reuters has a number of staff dedicated to covering this story, including a team of specialist reporters at Point Carbon and a columnist. There has been no change in our editorial policy."[19]

Subsequently climate blogger Joe Romm cited a Reuters article on climate as employing "false balance," and quoted Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf, Co-Chair of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute that "simply, a lot of unrelated climate skeptics nonsense has been added to this Reuters piece. In the words of the late Steve Schneider, this is like adding some nonsense from the Flat Earth Society to a report about the latest generation of telecommunication satellites. It is absurd." Romm opined that "We can't know for certain who insisted on cramming this absurd and non-germane 'climate skeptics nonsense' into the piece, but we have a strong clue. If it had been part of the reporter's original reporting, you would have expected direct quotes from actual skeptics, because that is journalism 101. The fact that the blather was all inserted without attribution [without citing source] suggests it was added at the insistence of an editor."[20]

Photograph controversies / Accusations of anti-Israel bias[edit]

Reuters was accused of bias against Israel in its coverage of the 2006 Israel–Lebanon conflict, in which the company used two doctored photos by a Lebanese freelance photographer Adnan Hajj.[21] On 7 August 2006, Reuters announced[22] it had severed all ties with Hajj and said his photographs would be removed from its database.

In 2010 Reuters was criticised again for "anti-Israeli" bias when it cropped the edges of photos, removing commandos' knives held by activists and a naval commando's blood from photographs taken aboard the Mavi Marmara during the Gaza flotilla raid, a raid that left nine Turkish activists dead. It has been alleged that in two separate photographs, knives held by the activists were cropped out of the versions of the pictures published by Reuters.[23] Reuters said it is standard operating procedure to crop photos at the margins, and replaced the cropped images with the original ones after it was brought to the agency’s attention.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Reuters (news agency)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Mark A. Stevens (2001). Merriam Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia. Merriam-Webster. pp. 1,366. ISBN 978-0877790174. 
  4. ^ "Baroness de Reuter, last link to news dynasty, dies". ABC News (Australia). Reuters. 26 January 2009. Retrieved 21 February 2009. 
  5. ^ (YouTube) "Collateral Murder - Wikileaks - Iraq"—"Wikileaks has obtained and decrypted this previously unreleased video footage from a US Apache helicopter in 2007. It shows Reuters journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen, driver Saeed Chmagh, and several others as the Apache shoots and kills them in a public square in Eastern Baghdad."
  6. ^ "Profiles: Iraq journalists killed by US gunships", Times, 6 April 2010 Retrieved on 25-07-2011.
  7. ^ Yahoo! News[dead link]
  8. ^ "Foreign Correspondents:The Tiny World of Anthony Grey". Time. 20 December 1968. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Tyson, Ann Scott, "Military's Killing Of 2 Journalists In Iraq Detailed In New Book", The Washington Post, 15 September 2009, p. 7.
  10. ^ "Reuters Terrorist Explanation". Retrieved 3 October 2010. [dead link]
  11. ^ Austen, Ian (20 September 2004). "Reuters Asks a Chain to Remove Its Bylines". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  12. ^ "The Wall Street Journal Online – Best of the Web Today". Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  13. ^ "Reuters – About Reuters – About us". Market Update & News Provided by 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Study says Reuters biased in favour of Palestinians | The Jewish Chronicle. The Jewish Chronicle (2011-12-22). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  16. ^ Reuters Exposed: Publication Openly Hostile To Climate Coverage, Top Editor Doubts Climate Science By Kiley Kroh on Jul 16, 2013, ClimateProgress
  17. ^ Climate Change 'Climate of Fear': Reporter Blows Whistle on Reuters
  18. ^ Reuters Sends Paul Ingrassia to London
  19. ^ Ex-Reuters journalist: Wire service not interested in climate change stories
  20. ^ False Balance Lives At Reuters: Climatologist Slams 'Absurd' Use Of 'Unrelated Climate Skeptics Nonsense'
  21. ^ Reuters admits altering Beirut photo, Ynetnews, Retrieved on 3 June 2008
  22. ^ "Reuters toughens rules after altered photo affair Photos". Retrieved Jan 2007. 
  23. ^ a b Mozgovaya, Natasha (8 June 2010). "Reuters under fire for removing weapons, blood from images of Gaza flotilla". Haaretz. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]