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As Feltman Scoop Stolen by Reuters, HQ Silent, UN Reporter Says It's Policy

By Matthew Russell Lee, Media Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, May 23 -- On March 28, Inner City Press exclusively reported that US official Jeffrey Feltman would replaced Lynn Pascoe as the head of the UN Department of Political Affairs. Click here to see that story.

   After Reuters stole the story on May 21, unlike for example Foreign Policy which gave credit, Inner City Press e-mailed that wire service's UN reporter Louis Charbonneau and then, receiving no response, sought to post a comment on the story on the website. While other non-substantive comments were allowed by Reuters, this one was not.

  So Inner City Press for two days sought to reach Reuters editors or officials. The links to the two editors on the triple-bylined story led only to their "blogs." (The three bylined reporters were "Arshad Mohammed, Warren Strobel and Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Vicki Allen and Eric Beech.)

  Reuters' "Director of Global Communications" Barb Burg was reachable only through a secretary, who a day later said to e-mail the two editors. One was "out of the office;" the other has yet to respond.

  Meanwhile it is understood that Reuter's UN Correspondent Lou Charbonneau has adopted a policy of NOT crediting Inner City Press, allegedly based on another report more than a year ago in which after Reuters' Charbonneau reported he has "seen" a report, Inner City Press posted the whole report on line.

  Now to remove any pretext, Inner City Press has immediately after Charbonneau's belated complaint removed from the Internet both the story and the report.

  Charbonneau earlier this month, after Inner City Press asked Kosovo's Enver Hoxhaj about his country's support of Syria, took the answers as a stand-alone story with no credit. (Charbonneau has asked about Kosovo's Brussels office, a non-story). Compare UN video to Charbonneau's Reuters "story."

  It should be noted that other exclusives have been stolen at the UN. Earlier this year Inner City Press reported that 14 kilograms of cocaine were found in the UN mail room and covered up.

  After writing the story, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky about it at the next noon briefing. He had no answer, but later in the day organized a 6 pm stakeout by UN Security chief Gregory Starr to "rebut" the charges.

The UN correspondents of Reuters, Bloomberg (changing 14 kilos to "35 pounds"), AFP (changing to "35.5 pounds") Agence France Presse (whose Tim Witcher was previously used to harass Inner City Press by the French Mission to the UN, after Inner City Press published an expose on France's use of the UN in Cote d'Ivoire, and the last minute switch from Jerome Bonnafont to Herve "The Drone" Ladsous for DPKO), Mexican media and others showed up, many complaining, then wrote stories which other than the Mexican media gave no credit to Inner City Press' underlying exclusive.

  The defense appears to be that once a press availability is scheduled, even if clear in response to anther media's exclusive, no credit need be given. Is this journalism? Or a club of corporate insiders? Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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