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The Baron, essential reading for Reuters people past and present, is changing. The look and feel will be different yet at the same time familiar. There will be enhancements, especially for visitors on mobile devices. Watch this space for news of The Baron in a new suit of clothes.
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When Reuters killed off a multi-million dollar next-generation web project last year for exceeding budgets and missing deadlines, blogger Felix Salmon lost his reason to stay.
Terminating work on Reuters Next, a news operation aimed at the consumer market, was one of the first actions of Andrew Rashbass, who had only recently joined as Reuters chief executive from The Economist group, where he had led a successful print-to-online strategy.

It was one reason why Salmon left Reuters after five years, he said in an interview on Wednesday, two days after announcing his departure “to do exciting things on the Internet”.

Salmon, 42, told
The New York Times that, though he still believes Reuters does impeccable journalism, “when Reuters Next died, my opportunity to do fun Internet stuff died with it”.

Salmon said he will join the cable network Fusion as senior editor on Monday in a web-based role that runs across multiple media. Fusion is aimed at a younger audience, with “animations, videos, data visualization stuff, ways of using other platforms to convey information and tell stories”.

“The reason why I am going to Fusion is that they have the ability to help me communicate in the ways that people are going to consume information in the future. Which is not 1,500-word blocks of text.”

Freed from the constraints of having to attract people directly to a website, he said, “you can have a lot of fun”.
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Reuters has pledged to stand by a story on Rohingya refugees from Burma which is at the centre of a complaint by the Thai Navy.
David Crundwell, pictured, Reuters corporate affairs vice-president, said in an e-mail that “we’re aware that a captain in the navy filed a criminal complaint against Reuters and two Reuters journalists, Stuart Grudgings and Jason Szep, arising out of the Rohingya coverage, and that the complaint alleges violations of the Computer Crimes Act”.

Crundwell told the
Bangkok Post that, if necessary, Reuters would vigorously defend its story, along with its right to publish. “Based on our understanding, the complaint is under review by the authorities, but we have not been charged. If necessary we will defend our story, along with our right to publish, vigorously (when charged),” he said.

The Thai Navy filed complaints against two online media journalists in the resort town of Phuket – Alan Morison, an Australian, and Chutima Sidasthien, who is Thai – last October. They have been charged with defaming the Thai Navy after publishing on the Phuketwan news website a paragraph from a story that was part of Reuters’ Pulitzer Prize-winning series on human trafficking of refugees from Burma. The Reuters story was part of a series that won journalists Szep and
Andrew R C Marshall a Pulitzer last week. It accused naval officers of involvement in the smuggling of Rohingya migrants into Thailand.

“We stand by the fairness and accuracy of our Rohingya coverage,” Crundwell said. He told the
Bangkok Post: “To be very clear, although we are not involved in the case against Phuketwan, Reuters wholeheartedly supports a free press, and the rights of journalists across the world to publish news and information without fear or hindrance in reporting the truth.”
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Debra Sherman, who covered healthcare in the United States for Reuters and worked in London bureau in the mid-1990s, died in Chicago on Tuesday after battling lung cancer for more than a year. She was 51.
Editor-in-chief Stephen Adler, announcing her passing, described her as a much beloved and admired colleague and said: “Deb’s signature mix of humor and moxie made her a fierce reporter and wonderful friend to so many of her colleagues around the world. She covered healthcare for more than a decade, breaking news on the medical device industry and writing considered pieces on such subjects as the rising financial toll posed by a cancer diagnosis.

“After learning of her own illness, she employed that expertise in fighting the disease and imparting to readers honest accounts of her experience. Her ‘Cancer in Context’ blog attracted a wide following among oncologists, cancer patients and their loved ones.”

Her posts blended a critical look at new studies on cancer and suggestions on how to navigate treatment. She also talked about how her disease affected her relationships with friends and family, including her two children, Alex and Stella. It also attracted the notice of an Irish documentary filmmaker, who interviewed her for a work in progress.

“It is hard for all of us to imagine the passing of a woman who was the personification of life and good spirits. Deb, who was 51, remained ‘loving and strong to the end,’ her husband Mark said. Deb is survived by her two children. The family is planning no memorial service or funeral, but would like to throw a party after a period of time. Anyone who knew Deb knows that she’d agree with that approach.”

In Sherman’s memory, Reuters re-published an excerpt from her inaugural post that Adler said spoke to her bravery and spirit. It said:

“If there has been an upside to this dreaded disease it is that people are so kind when they find out I have cancer, even nicer than when I was pregnant with my two children. Loved ones seem to love me more, or tell me so more often. Everyone wants to do things for me and offer help. The love has come from some unexpected people and warms my heart in indescribable ways. At times, the outpouring feels as if it could actually cure me.”
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Felix Salmon, a finance and news media blogger who became one of the first opinion writers to join Reuters five years ago, is leaving “to do exciting things on the Internet”.
The New York Times said he gave the news in an e-mail to colleagues. Reached by phone on Monday, Salmon declined to release details of his new job, it said.

Salmon, 42, began his career with the first wave of web journalists, in 1999, and joined Reuters in 2009 from Condé Nast’s short-lived financial publication Portfolio, according to a biography he posted on his Reuters blog.

The Times said he was seen as a key player in Reuters’ strategy, known as Reuters Next, to build a consumer-directed news operation to go with its news wires and financial terminals. “That plan was scuttled last year after the company’s chief executive [Andrew Rashbass] said it had missed deadlines and exceeded budgets.”

The move prompted several executives to leave, including
Jim Roberts, then executive editor of Reuters Digital.
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Two journalists who republished a paragraph from a story that was part of Reuters’ Pulitzer Prize-winning series on human trafficking of Rohingya refugees from Burma have been charged with defaming the Thai Navy.
If convicted, Alan Morison (pictured left), editor, and Chutima Sidasathian (right), reporter, of Phuket-based Phuketwan news website face seven years in prison and a $3,000 fine. The charges were brought by a Thai Navy captain on Thursday.

The Reuters story was part of a series that won journalists
Jason Szep and Andrew R C Marshall a Pulitzer this week.

Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch Asia director, said in a statement: “The trial of these two journalists is unjustified and constitutes a dark stain on Thailand’s record for respecting media freedom. The Thai Navy should have debated these journalists publicly if they had concerns with the story rather than insisting on their prosecution under the draconian Computer Crimes Act and criminal libel statutes. It’s now time for Thailand’s leaders to step in and order prosecutors to drop this case, and end this blatant violation of media freedoms once and for all.”

Asian Correspondent website said Morison, an Australian, expressed disappointment that Reuters had not been in contact with either him or Sidasathian, who is Thai, and had not taken a stronger stand on their case. “Chutima is surprised and shocked that nothing has been said in defence of media freedom and Phuketwan by the organisation she helped, with her usual generosity, to win the Pulitzer. I am deeply disappointed, and I expect many others will be, too,” he said.

It said a Reuters spokesperson asked for comment reiterated the organisation’s statement that, “We oppose the use of criminal laws to sanction the press – large or small, local or international – for publication on matters of public interest, like the Rohingya.”

The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand congratulated Szep and Marshall for a series that exposed “the systematic abuse of Rohingyas in Myanmar [Burma] and in Thailand.” It added that “while a large media organization is being feted for its reporting, two poorly-funded local journalists are facing prosecution for their reporting of the same issue – and indeed for publishing material from a Thomson Reuters report.”

“These two journalists have done more than most to report accurately from Thailand the plight of Rohingyas,” the statement read. “They have also rendered invaluable assistance to journalists at Thomson Reuters and other local and foreign media organizations attempting to report this humanitarian crisis.”

Asian Correspondent said that a Reuters spokesperson, asked about Chutima’s contribution to the reporting effort on the winning stories, responded: “We retained Khun Chutima, a Phuketwan local journalist, in a very limited role to help us make appointments. She was not a member of the team of Reuters journalists who reported and investigated on these stories, nor did we report any information that should have been credited or otherwise attributed to Ms. Chutima.”

“Taking Phuketwan’s journalists to court is absurd,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk. “If the navy want to dispute the Reuters special report, which has just won a Pulitzer Prize, it can publicly give its version of events and demand the right of reply.” Ismaïl emphasised that Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act urgently needs reform, as it “is responsible for frequent violations of freedom of information by the authorities”.

He added that it is “essential that the international media operating in Thailand should give this trial extensive coverage despite government pressure to ignore it.”
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Reuters still does impeccable journalism

Fun Internet stuff died with Reuters Next - Felix Salmon

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