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23/10/2005

Reuters: "telling the world what news they should pay attention to is obsolete"

With echoes of the Richard Sambrook of the BBC's comments earlier this month, Reuters' Managing Editor for Consumer News, Dean Wright, said this week that the global news agency was developing a strategy for building a community of news users who are partners and contributors as much as they are consumers of the service.

He made the comments in an interview with the World Editors Forum's Editors Weblog.

  • As for the Internet natives such as Google and Yahoo, Wright does not view them as competitors.  On the contrary, he said, “the more successful search engines are, the more successful we’ll all be because it will be easier to find news.”
  • Wright also praised the BBC’s use of citizen material during the London bombings and said that if traditional media ignore the citizen journalism trend, “We do so at our own peril.” 
  • He continued, “Citizen journalism is having a fundamental impact on the way we do our jobs. Trust in the media is being tested and bloggers are holding traditional media to account.  We’ve become somewhat elitist.  The old broadcast model of telling the world what news they should pay attention to is obsolete.”
  • He said that Reuters is currently strategizing as to how to build “a community of news users where the news user can become your partner.”  He believes that involving citizens is “a great opportunity for our journalism in terms of transparency.”

When Reuters produces its strategy it will be fascinating to see how a commercial organisation expresses its approach to consumer/connected media.

Richard Sambrook's view of a news organisation's role in the connected media world (1. Connecting audiences, 2. Verification of news, 3.Analysis, explanation and context addition) will doubtless be a big influence for Reuters and other forward thinking news agencies.

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