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Reuters Does Not Get It

Posted May 25, 2016
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It's one of the bigest newsgathering agencies in the world - maybe the biggest, with more than 2500 jouranlista and 600 photographers in 200 locations, it is the place that news starts.

News starts because generally Reuters is there first.  Everyone else, newspapers, TV, radio and the web follow.

I don't get my news directly from Reuters.  I get it through one of the secondary sources that pays for their content feed.  

This is how the business has worked since Reuters was founded in London in 1851. Reuters as the first to report Lincoln's assasination. 

Yesterday, on my Facebook Feed, (only the latest iteration of how we all inform ourselves), I caught a video explaining Reuters TV.

It seems that Reuters now wants to bypass its clients (that in itself is an intersting business decision) and take the news right to you - on your smart phone in video.

Well, this makes sense in some ways.  Smart phones are now the domainant platform for news and information and video is now the dominant medium.

Here is what does not make sense to me:

Reuters is in the business of collecting the news.

Their job is to be there first.

The smart phone is probably the best newsgathering tool invented since the pencil.  It records video, audio, photos and text (well, it doesn't record text, you have to write that bit).  It also allows you to Live Stream.

Reuters may have 2500 journalists around the world, but there are (by some estimates) 6 billion smart phones in use around the world. (Lisa informed me yesterday that there are more smart phones in the world than tooth brushes!)

Each of those smart phones could become a node for newsgathering for Reuters, everywhere in the world, all the time.

Think about that.

Take Reuters from 2500 reporters to 6 billion.

Pretty good, no?

I think so.

Now, Reuters might say (in fact, I am sure they would say), but those people are not 'journalists'.

What is a journalist anyway?

Aren't we all journalists today?

You don't have to be professional journalist to add stuff to the Twitter feed? You don't have to be a professional journalist to add stuff to Instagram.  

Imagine if the content in Facebook was limited to 'professional journalists!"


Today, we are all journalists.

Reuters has a remarkable oppotuntity before it.  Recognize and embrace the fact that the news and opinions of the people who actually live in Syria or Mali or Brazil are just as valuable, if not moreso, than the 'professional journalist', (who in my opinion is a remanant of 19th Century colonialism - ie, we can't trust the 'natives' - except maybe the good ones who are our stringers...)

There is a revoution going on in information and the 'people' are starting to take control of what goes into the matrix as well as watching it.

Here's a chance for Reuters to get on the winning side of the information revolution.




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