Biggest News Agencies Reuters Part 2

About one of the biggest news organizations Reuters of Great Britain, who is in charge and some of the biggest scoops.



Name of Agency and Country: Reuters, Great Britain.

Who's behind It: Like other powerful multinationals, Reuters operates under the aegis of a board of directors, headed, in this case, by Lord Barnetson, who is chairman and managing director of United Newspapers, Ltd. But the shirt-sleeve leadership falls to onetime news correspondent Gerald Long, managing director of the agency since 1963. Under his stewardship, Reuters has acquired increasing influence in West Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Malaysia. Readerships in third-world nations where Reuters operates often learn of events in their own countries only after the dispatch has been relayed from London.

In North America, two developments have highlighted Long's tenure: the 1967 break with AP and Dow Jones; and the agency's growing use of computer technology, TV, and data-retrieval systems for split-second transmission of both general and financial news. Since the late 1960s, Reuters' impact and visibility in the U.S. have expanded dramatically, and the Reuters tagline has been seen on domestic news stories with greater and greater frequency.

Biggest Beats: Julius Reuter's wire service was barely eight years old in 1859 when it scored its first scoop by releasing to London papers details of Napoleon III's address to the French legislature foreshadowing French involvement in the mushrooming Austro-Italian hostilities. Since then, Reuters has scored these scoops as well:

Apr. 15, 1865: Reuters scooped all Europe by more than a week with news of Lincoln's assassination;

Nov. 11, 1918: The agency's reports of the Armistice reached Melbourne a full hour before the official announcement was made in London;

June, 1953: Reuters was first and UP second with the news that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay had conquered Everest;

Dec. 3, 1967: Reuters nosed out AP by 13 minutes with bulletins of history's first heart-transplant operation, in Cape Town;

Dec. 24, 1968: Reuters was first with reports of U.S. plans to put a manned satellite in orbit around the moon;

September, 1971: In London, the agency scooped all competition with the news that Japan had decided to float the yen;

Oct. 26, 1971: Reuters was six minutes ahead of rival agencies in London, Bonn, and Paris with reports of China's admission to the U.N.

Quirks and Prejudices: About the worst that can be said of Reuters is that its style occasionally wants for flair and punch--and even that has changed for the better in the last decade. In January, 1976, unsubstantiated rumors flew that the CIA had planted bogus stories among Reuters' offerings to the U.S. press, but they were roundly denied both by Reuters chief Gerald Long and by the CIA itself.

In point of fact, the agency's dispatches are widely hailed for their accuracy and impartiality, although the service has been accused of occasional political bias in Britain. In the 1960s the Reuters news wire periodically carried stories with a Vietnam dateline that were either lost in the shuffle or deliberately suppressed--no one knows for certain--by such press stalwarts as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Typical was a State Dept.-suppressed report of a six-hour conversation between Henry Cabot Lodge and a Canadian physician who claimed that he had often witnessed American soldiers carry out mass murders during the four years he spent in Vietnam.

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