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Reuters' Shift to Paying for Claimed Exclusives Led UN Bureau to Predation

By Matthew Russell Lee, Media Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, May 27 -- As corporate media gets squeezed, now does it react? At Reuters, the response was to tell reporters that analysis was no longer important, only stories labeled as exclusives, whether accurately or not.

  Some Reuters reporters complained; others left the company. Some in both categories have spoken to Inner City Press. At the UN, bureau chief Patrick Worsnip used to give credit to others, for example to Inner City Press on the North Korea UN Development Program whistleblower story it was first to report, here.

  But along with the change in Reuters' compensation scheme, now tied to the number of claimed exclusives, at the UN it changed bureau chief, to Louis Charbonneau.

  Ultimately when challenged about his uncredited use of Press exclusives, Charbonneau would use his position as First Vice President of the old UN Correspondents' Association to seek censorship of Inner City Press stories and photographs, then to seek expulsion from the UNCA Executive Committee to which Inner City Press had been elected, then expulsion from the UN.

  The actual request for expulsion, which Voice of America said was pushed (with reference to UNDP Watch, see above) and supported by Reuters, was exposed under the US Freedom of Information Act. But when the documents and issues were shown to Reuters executives Stephen J. Adler, Greg McCune, Paul Ingrassia and Walden Siew, the pattern did not cease.

  Rather it became more vicious, anonymous social media trolling falsely accusing Inner City Press of being funded by terrorists, more false complaints filed with UN Security, involving Charbonneau's subordinate Michelle Nichols and, rather desperately, Charbonneau himself.

   Third time's the charm? Their anonymous social media trolling has continued online, even into Memorial Day weekend.

At the UN, Charbonneau even went so far as to tell an accreditation official that if the UN didn't throw out Inner City Press, he might well leave the UN. While the FOIA exposures stalled the open part of the campaign, Charbonneau has not left.

Lou "I'm still here" Charbonneau reaches out to SG Ban, (c) Luiz Rampelotto

  The wider comparison might be between this "new' Reuters and the Congolese army. You change the mode of compensation and tell underlings they must "live off the land."

  Get claimed exclusives how ever you can, and do whatever you deem necessary to try to maintain this predatory turf. When there is trouble, invoke wider bodies like UNCA, or the UN itself. The analogy could be extended. Watch this site.

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