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, making up the media division. Reuters transmits news in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Urdu, and Chinese
The Reuter agency was established in 1851 by Paul Julius Reuter in
The first newspaper client to subscribe was the
Over the years Reuter's agency has built a reputation in
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.
Reuters has a policy of taking a "value-neutral approach," which extends to not using the word "terrorist" in its stories, a practice which has attracted criticism following the September 11 attacks. Reuters' editorial policy states: "We are committed to reporting the facts and in all situations avoid the use of emotive terms. The only exception is when we are quoting someone directly or in indirect speech. (The Associated Press, by contrast, does use the term "terrorist" in reference to non-governmental organizations who carry out attacks on civilian populations.)
Following the September 11 attacks, Reuters global head of news Stephen Jukes reiterated the policy in an internal memo and later explained to media columnist Howard Kurtz (who criticized the policy): "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...We're trying to treat everyone on a level playing field, however tragic it's been and however awful and cataclysmic for the American people and people around the world. We're there to tell the story. We're not there to evaluate the moral case."
In early October 2001, CEO Tom Glocer and editor-in-chief Geert Linnebank and Jukes later released a statement acknowledging that Jukes' memo "had caused deep offence among members of our staff, our readers, and the public at large" and wrote: "Our policy is to avoid the use of emotional terms and not make value judgments concerning the facts we attempt to report accurately and fairly. We apologize for the insensitive manner in which we characterized this policy and extend our sympathy to all those who have been effected by these tragic events."
In September 2004, the New York Times reported that Reuters global managing editor, David A. Schlesinger objected to Canadian newspapers' editing of Reuters articles to insert the word terrorist. Schlesinger said: "my goal is to protect our reporters and protect our editorial integrity."
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." Ingrassia, currently Reuters' managing editor, formerly worked for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones for 31 years. Reuters 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."
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 "[s]imply, 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 sceptics 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."