This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Reuters Embraces the Net
Feb 09 2000 12:00 AM PST

Yesterday, Reuters got with the program. The company announced an investment of nearly $800 million, or some 500 million pounds, over four years, along with "a host" (BBC) or "a clutch" (Guardian-Observer) of technology deals, all aimed at moving its businesses onto the Internet.

The company will turn into a financial portal, through which retail investors can access financial information products. And Reuters plans an IPO for its Greenhouse Fund, whose investments in Internet startups and new technology companies grew by 644 percent in the last half of 1999.

Curiously, MSNBC ran Reuters' own copy of the announcement, which weighed in at more than 30 paragraphs. All the other outlets posted stories of 10 to 15 grafs. Most stuck closely to the press release. Few reporters even included an outside opinion from a financial analyst, as one could find in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Reuters said it would take a reorganization charge of 300 million pounds ($483 million) over the next two years while it implements the Net strategy. But is that in addition to, or included in, the 500-million-pound investment? Reporters' interpretations differed. Reuters' own copy, and that of The Times [U.K.], implied that the answer was 500 + 300. The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal read it as 500, including 300.

Whatever. Reuters' share price, after dropping initially, finished the trading session up a record 23 percent on the day. - Keith Dawson

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