Earlier today we published a story from the Carolina Business News Initiative’s blog Talking News Biz regarding Reuters killing an investigative piece about hedge-funder Steven Cohen.
In response to flurry of coverage and subsequent internal backlash, Reuters employees were all forwarded this pithy little transcript written by News Editor Jack Reerink which imagined the conversation between himself, Cohen, Reuters’ editor in chief David Schlesinger, and company executive Devin Wenig.
Full memo below.
Read More: Reuters global company news editor mocks furor over killed story –Talking Biz News
Previously: Reuters Editor Responds To Complaints
Tip of the week – Ethics 101
Psst.. Did you hear that we killed a bombshell story about hedge fund king Stevie Cohen the other week? It happened right after a conference call between Stevie, Devin Wenig, David Schlesinger and myself. Here’s a recording I secretly made (I know you’re not supposed to do that without asking permission, but I figured it was important. I’m not very ethical.)
Me: We’ve got a bombshell here, Stevie. I’m about to push the button.
David: It’s going to rock your world.
Me: Rock it.
Stevie: You canâ€™t do that. I’m worth $6 billion!
David: You got any insider tips? My UK apartment is under water.
Me: Yeah! I wanna buy some calls.
Me: I still can;t believe it. I was an expat in Singapore. Now I’m back in Jersey. My wife makes me do all this work on the house. We sanded another floor this Sunday. And the value is dropping like a… Whatever. The bottomline is, Stevie: I need MONEY.
David: Lemmie spell that out for you, Stevie.
David: It’s M O N E Y. That spells MONEY That’s what we need.
Devin: Guys, please. Forget this money talk.
Devin: Stevie, you’re a nice guy. Weâ€™re nice guys. If you don’t like the story, just ask David and Jack not to run it. Itâ€™s their call. I’ve got nothing to do with Editorial.
Stevie: OK, I would really appreciate it if you guys don’t put out a story thatâ€™s supposedly going to rock my world
Me: Say ‘Please.’
Me: Well, what do you think, David? I’d say: Kill it.
David: I wanna hear ‘please’ one more time.
David: Louder, please.
Me: OK, that settles it. It’s a kill. We’re gonna get some flak. But that’s OK. Stevieâ€™s a nice guy.
Me: By the way, Stevie, my TDAmeritrade account is 39…
Devin: Guys, don’t you have some sort of an ethics code in news? We’re gonna have to take this offline. Bye Stevie.
Stevie: Bye guys.
You figure David and I would know better, right?
There conference call never happened.
But it describes perfectly what transpired if you believe some blogs and journalist talk.
Don’t. It’s a fantasy.
In the real world, we live by the trust principles. In the real world, we kick back stories for more reporting, balance or insight. In the real world, we donâ€™t run every story just because we wrote it.
Are we going to be right all the time? No. But we’ll try very hard. And we’ll learn from our mistakes. (and this was not a mistake, by the way).