Three Reuters editors reprimanded for not disclosing FBI visit

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Three Reuters editors have been reprimanded for failing to tell their superiors that the home of a now-terminated social media employee had been raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Talking Biz News has confirmed from multiple sources.

Kenneth Li is no longer global editor of Reuters.com, while social media editor Anthony De Rosa and editor Robert MacMillan were given letters of reprimand. All three are still working at the company.

The actions were related to deputy social media editor Matthew Keys, who was fired by Reuters last month after he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Sacramento, Calif., on three criminal counts alleging that he helped members of the Anonymous collective hack into computer systems of the Tribune Co. The alleged events occurred before he joined Reuters, the indictment indicated. He has maintained his innocence and claimed that his firing from Reuters was not related to the indictment.

Keys told Li and De Rosa in October that his home had been searched by the FBI, but they believed he was not being investigated. MacMillan then found out about it as well. MacMillan was told about the FBI search when Li asked him for advice on how to handle the situation. His managers did not know he was a target of the investigation until the indictment.

Keys, who was hired in early 2012, was indicted in March and then shortly thereafter in a meeting told a group of other news service managers — including chief operating officer Stuart Karle, global editor for ethics and standards Alix Freedman and digital executive editor Jim Roberts – that he had told Li and De Rosa about the FBI search.

However, apparently Jim Impoco, who was executive editor of Reuters digital, was told about the raid by either Li or DeRosa in 2012. Impoco is no longer with the company. Keys was told that superiors had been informed.

“I am surprised to learn the company disciplined three of my former colleagues,” said Keys to Talking Biz News on Sunday. “If true, the company’s assertion that my colleagues failed to notify anyone at Thomson Reuters about the incident is inconsistent with what I was told in October 2012.”

Talking Biz News asked Reuters this weekend about the reprimands and the meeting where Keys told management. A Reuters spokeswoman referred questions to Barb Burg, vice president and global head of communications  for Reuters, who told Talking Biz News she could not comment one way or another about the facts.

Li referred a message from Talking Biz News to Burg, while MacMillan said he did not want to talk. De Rosa and Impoco did not respond to a message.

Li is now working on a project for Reuters News, according to Burg. The project is examining how news gets distributed and how to make it easier and more logical.

The reprimands are not well known within the Reuters news operation.