Dean Wright Stepping Down
Dean Wright, Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards for Reuters, is leaving the company. Wright’s profile on the Reuters website reads:
In his final “regular” column for Reuters (six months after his last column),Wright writes:
He leads the process of reviewing, establishing and encouraging adherence to standards in Thomson Reuters journalism and works with editors to promote innovation. He writes a regular column and works with Editor in Chief David Schlesinger in maintaining the editorial relationship with the Reuters trustees and upholding and promoting the Reuters Trust Principles
After six of the most rewarding years in my career, this is my final week at Reuters as global editor for ethics and standards. In this role, it’s been my job to make sure Reuters journalists have the guidance, tools and oversight to help them practice journalism in a way that is consistent with the highest ethics and standards […]
“Occasional inconsistencies”? Our 500+ posts over the last 19 months documenting systematic bias, the liberal use of propaganda, deep dishonesty, and outright racism demonstrated by Reuters correspondents reporting on the Middle East conflict puts lie to any notion that journalism is being practiced “consistent with the highest ethics and standards”. Although Reuters does provide its staff with guidance and tools to comply with ethical journalism standards, in the form of the much-vaunted Thomson Reuters Trust Principles and Handbook of Journalism, the oversight function Wright refers to has clearly and utterly failed.We also heard from people who pointed out occasional inconsistencies between the handbook guidance and the way we actually reported stories. And that’s great–because we believe in transparency.
If Reuters believes in transparency, why doesn’t the agency always correct errors openly, as promised by The 10 Absolutes of Reuters Journalism? Why didn’t the agency formally acknowledge and apologize to readers for the publication of doctored photographs in violation of its commitment to “never alter a still or moving image beyond the requirements of normal image enhancement”? Why does Reuters regularly publish pieces that clearly fall into the category of op-eds while refusing to identify them as such?
Interesting that Wright should point specifically to claims of bias in Reuters Middle East reporting. There are hundreds of other military conflicts and political contests ongoing in the world with partisan and passionate observers. Why, we wonder, do Wright and Reuters feel the heat so intensely in this area of reporting? Could it be in fact, that Reuters journalists writing on the Middle East consistently fail to put aside their own viewpoints and report a story fairly and completely?Not all interactions have been so pleasant. Partisans on all sides of Middle East issues are particularly prone to alleging bias in our reporting—and I’ve long since lost hope of convincing them that journalists can indeed put aside their own viewpoints and even ethnic backgrounds and report a story fairly and completely. That’s what our journalists do every day.
Not according to Wright:
Which only goes to show that denial is not just a river in Egypt.And judging from my contacts with the Reuters journalists who do the hard work of daily journalism, they’re less cynical and more idealistic than ever. So many have told me that they see themselves as evangelists of truth, of independent reporting and the free flow of information. For most, this is much more than a job. They believe, as do I, that the world would be a poorer, meaner place without their efforts.