Thomson Reuters would like its employees to stop blogging, socializing

Thomson Reuters would like its employees to stop blogging, socializing

In case you’d forgotten or ever cared, 40 per cent of The Globe and Mail is owned by the Thomson family through their holding company Woodbridge. Woodbridge also owns, as the result of last year’s multibillion-dollar merger of Thomson Corporation and Reuters, 53 per cent of the new (and aptly named) entity Thomson Reuters. Lately, this new enterprise has started rolling out its new brand, including a near bottomless, fancy-pants Web site and a full-page ad on A6 of Monday’s Globe. Here’s an excerpt from the Web site:

The end of think.The beginning of know.

As information continues to democratize, even the smartest algorithms aren’t smart enough. Thomson Reuters offers a more human intelligence. Every day, thousands of experts evaluate and refine our data. Lawyers, doctors, scientists, accountants—people who know what you need because they do what you do. So when our information reaches you, it’s not just conjecture.

It’s knowledge you can act on.

Now maybe I’m reading a little too much into this, but if I were a journalist at either Reuters or the Globe, that bit about “conjecture” might give me pause (to say nothing of the creepy implication of the headline and the not-so-subtle put-down of democracy). And my worries would no doubt grow as I looked deeper into the Reuters Thomson Web site, where I’d notice that journalism isn’t exactly front and centre in the new company’s mandate. It seems more about business to business than all the news that’s fit to print.

Moreover, several media outlets have picked up on the new company’s code of ethics, which discourages blogging as a means of interoffice communication and strongly recommends against fraternization between Reuters Thomson employees and their colleagues in competing enterprises.

The code includes…a section devoted to fair competition. It states that employees who attend a conference, trade show, association event, or meeting should ‘limit informal contact to the extent possible and keep a written summary of any discussions that may have taken place.’

Among thirsty journos, this could put a wee bit of a crimp in their usual style.

Thomson ReutersThomson Reuters: Internal blogging ban for staff [Journalism]• Thomson Reuters’ Ethics Code: Blogging’s OK, Just Don’t Talk To Competitors [Washington Post]• Thomson Reuters’ new code of ethics on blogging and talking with competitors [Editors’ Weblog]