Tag Archives: Thomson Reuters

Ellen Freilich

Treasuries reporter leaving Reuters

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Ellen Freilich, who covers the U.S. Treasury market, including developments in monetary policy and the economy for Reuters out of New York, is leaving the news agency.

She sent the following message to her colleagues on Tuesday:

First, a little known fact: in the first lavatory on the left in a cafe called Cup o’ Joe in Kfar Saba, Israel, you can find a photo of Times Square with the vertical Reuters sign at 3 Times Square prominently in the foreground. Talk about global reach! But oddities aside, here are a few parting thoughts to join the many – too many – we have already experienced. First, I thank Rudi Saks for hiring me in 1987. Second, I thank President Obama and his Affordable Care Act which I hope will really be hitting its stride by the time I need to sign up for it. Third, I’m grateful to live in the great State of New York where the governor and public health officials got busy and created the New York State of Health website to ease entry into the new – and long overdue – health insurance system.

I want to note some of the memorable veterans who populated Reuters when I arrived: Rudi Saks, the late Art Spiegelman, the voluble and well-traveled Michael Arkus, Alan Barker and the man with the rapier wit, Peter Knight-Barnard.

Some Reuters correspondents have memories from far-flung places, but those of us who serve by staying home are much affected by where and with whom we sit in the newsroom. Just a few of my neighbors through the years – whose intelligence and wit kept the atmosphere challenging and lively – include Arshad Mohammed, Pedro da Costa, Toby Zakaria and Burton Frierson.

My most recent neighborhood of friends and colleagues on the Treasury, foreign exchange and municipal bond desks was also felicitous. (Greetings from Jerusalem to Gertrude, Ed, Dan, Richard, Karen, Caryn, Pam, Hilary and Wanfeng!) We had great cooperation on matters of substance — the news occurring outside the newsroom. Unfortunately, there seemed to be even more news happening inside the newsroom as we witnessed a constant stream of mostly regrettable conversations – and ensuing speculation – going on in glass rooms and behind opaque closed doors. The editorial discussions in New York gave daily evidence of the paucity of women in these conversations — and certainly the absence of women who had had the temerity to have children.

My career at Reuters included covering stocks, retailers, aerospace and defense companies during the first Gulf War, and finally the Treasury market. Covering markets that more or less open and close at reliable times was easier to juggle with the responsibilities of raising children. In between, I managed to teach a writing class at Barnard in the fall of 2001 when the events of 9-11 up-ended a semester’s worth of lesson plans. I wrote periodic columns on children’s books for six or seven years at Reuters which enabled me to donate hundreds and hundreds of books to classroom and school libraries. I managed to write about quite a few exhibits – on art, architecture and photography, as well as a too rare piece on classical music or opera. And for about six years I managed to shuttle my sons back and forth to The Metropolitan Opera where they worked as members of the Children’s Chorus – essentially a full-time job for at least one of them and at least a part-time one for me, the chauffeur. Getting home from “Carmen” at midnight — or even later from Benjamin Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and getting in for the early market shift the next day — this was my life as a working mother and well worth the effort.

I want to say one word about cultural coverage. Although it’s great for people like me to have an opportunity to write about our passions, as a recent memo put it, serious cultural coverage — and many of our banking clients are patrons of the world’s major arts organizations — is not a patchwork quilt of people’s hobbies or even interests. We’re a global news organization and theater, opera and music are global communities. It’s a natural fit.

Finally, from early on, I was involved with the union, the Newspaper Guild of America, now part of the Communications Workers of America and founded by Algonquin Roundtable member Heywood Broun (that one is for you, Jim Gaines.) Many of us who have an innate understanding of the role of a union learned it at our mother’s (in this case father’s) knee. My father was an orchestra musician, a violinist in The Cleveland Orchestra, and I learned first-hand how each new contract could improve the economic life of our family. Of course those were the days when unions could make meaningful strides. Now, often, unions are exercising damage control, trying to limit losses for workers and eking out incremental gains. Still, we learned in school that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Unions – to some extent – temper the power of management and this is, as some readers will recognize, A Good Thing.

Doris Frankel

Frankel leaving Reuters after 35 years

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Doris Frankel, one of the longest-serving Reuters reporters on the staff, said goodbye to her colleagues on Tuesday.

In an email, Frankel wrote:

Today is my last day at Reuters. It has been a great privilege working with so many talented and dedicated journalists during my long career in New York and Chicago. What a journey it has been for the past 35 years. I have made so many good friends. All the best and happy new year, Doris Frankel

Based in Chicago, Frankel wrote daily stories and frequent analysis of the fast-moving options market, often breaking news or tidbits about mergers and acquisitions activity and stocks in the news. She previously covered commodities futures markets in New York and in Chicago.

Tabassum Zakaria

Zakaria will no longer yell at the president

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Tabassum Zakaria, the national security reporter for Reuters, sent out the following email to her colleagues on Tuesday morning:

So I was in the middle of buying a condo four blocks from the office when I decided to leave the company… Today is my last day after almost 25 years and it was not an easy decision.

It has been wonderful working with the finest journalists in the world and I still like my job, but sometimes in life you need to shake things up, and that time has come for me.

I grew up at Reuters. I was in my 20s when Rudi Saks told me I had a strong handshake and hired me as a financial markets reporter in New York – chasing rumors, trying to figure out what was behind market movements (aside from “more sellers than buyers”) and covering the New York Fed.

That was when it took three reporters to cover a Fed or Treasury official – one to hold onto the nearest public phone and fend off any passerby wanting to make a call, and two to run relay in and out of the room with snaps from the speech. There were no mobiles, no televised speeches, no webcasts.

I told Rudi I was taking Spanish lessons because I wanted to go to Miami (sun, beach, palm trees). So he sent me to Dallas – a one-person bureau responsible for Texas north of Austin, and Oklahoma, Arkansas and New Mexico.

Two weeks after arriving I was at a gas station asking for directions to Waco where I stayed for weeks covering the Branch Davidian stand-off with federal agents. (Years later I couldn’t believe I was back in Waco – this time for the summer and Christmas holidays of President Bush.)

Then came Washington where I arrived as a six-month maternity leave fill-in and stayed for two decades.

I covered Congress during the turmoil of Clinton’s impeachment, Gingrich stepping down, then Bob Livingston stepping down.

Writing about spy agencies before and after 9/11 is the beat that has stuck with me the most.

I will remember trips to Afghanistan and Iraq with U.S. officials to see how the wars were progressing – going with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to Iraq just months after the invasion when the U.S. military was setting up work cubicles inside marble palaces and believed it would be over sooner rather than later.

Breaking the story that the American coordinator of the hunt for WMD in Iraq had determined that no such stockpiles existed was a highlight that was mentioned in books by former CIA Director George Tenet, Bob Woodward, and others.

One of the best things about being a White House correspondent was asking the President of the United States questions, whether it was in a formal Rose Garden press conference or shouted at a photo op.

The following Oval Office encounter was chronicled in a pool report: “As the pool was being led out, the president turned to Reuters correspondent Toby Zakaria and the following exchange occurred:

The president: ‘Will you stop yelling at me?’ Zakaria: ‘I never yell at you.’ The president: ‘You yell at me.’ Zakaria: ‘Never.’”

Keep asking those tough questions, sometimes they surprise you with an answer.

It has been so much fun and I will miss you guys, but I’m also excited to discover what is next.

Thomson Reuters logo

Chicago desk editor says goodbye to Reuters

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James Marshall, a desk editor at the Reuters office in Chicago, sent out the following email to his colleagues on Tuesday:

It was a lovely Kansas City spring day in 1984 when I met Chicago Bureau Chief Felix Sergio at a restaurant on The Plaza to be interviewed for the job of Reuters’ K.C. correspondent. I was braced for a grilling when Felix raised a glass of white wine and said, “James. Take the job. You won’t regret it.”

It was my last, and favorite, job interview ever. And Felix was right, I never regretted joining forces with The Baron. Nor do I regret the leaving: I’m ready for a break!

Farewell to all my Reuters friends and colleagues near and far, and a special thank you to all the wonderful activists who joined me in carrying the banner of labor for the Newspaper Guild of New York. Now I must find my way in the terrifying realm of the mundane.

Reuters Logo

Reuters colleague says farewell to a cranky editor

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Derek Caney, the home page editor of Reuters.com, sent out the following email about one of his colleagues on Tuesday:

There are a lot of people saying goodbye today. And all of them deserve our honor and respect. But it’s not really Gerry McCormick’s style to write his own obit. So if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to start the ball rolling, honoring this Reuters institution with a few memories of my own. And maybe, if anyone else would like to add to them, we can send the “don’t reply all” crowd running for the hills.

Gerry McCormick filed the very first story I ever wrote for Reuters, probably a copper market report. He walked, nay, stormed over to my desk and said, “I don’t know what language you used when you wrote for Dow Jones, but here we write in English.”

Once, I had the temerity to suggest that perhaps he could be a little quicker at filing my very important analysis on the zinc market. Gerry’s reply: “We file news here, Caney. When you write something that falls into that category, I’ll file it quickly.”

When I was an editor for the widget team, I spotted an odd turn of phrase in a story he was editing. I made the mistake of asking him to reword it. Gerry’s reply: “If you’re editing chops are so good, you edit the (expletive deleted) story.” And then he spiked the story.

Gerry had a television on his desk while he was tasting. And he often liked to watch reruns of “Little House On The Prairie” or “Matlock.” A reporter who is no longer with the company asked him to turn it down. “I’m trying to work,” she said. Gerry’s reply: “Well, first time for everything.” He turned the volume higher.

After I left the copy desk for dot.com, he never said goodbye. He did, however, call me “a traitor” and “a fake journalist” and said I was welcome to come back to the copy desk if I “ever wanted to go back to doing some real work.”

So may I just say, Gerry, you are the eccentric cranky asshole father I already had.

You are also one of my favorite people I have ever worked with.

May our paths cross again soon.

Alister Bull

Bull says goodbye to Reuters

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Alister Bull, the Federal Reserve Board and economics reporter for Reuters, sent out the following goodbye message to his colleagues on Tuesday:

Today is my last day at Reuters. It has been an immense privilege to work for 23 years among the finest journalists on three continents. I will always be proud to have been a member of the Reuters tribe, and will cherish my memories of camaraderie on doorsteps all over the world.

London, Amsterdam, Johannesburg, Frankfurt and Washington. Each posting was fascinating and taught me a little more about what it meant to be a Reuters reporter, especially when working in southern Africa or difficult places like Iraq with our talented colleagues in pictures and television.

From breakfast with Nelson Mandela, to lunch with Ben Bernanke and flying around the world with Barack Obama on Air Force One, there was never a dull moment – putting aside some of those rain-swept Euro Group stakeouts. Sorry Brussels, but your weather sucks.

Reuters-Logo

Union says Reuters job cuts total 45

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The Newspaper Guild of New York, which represents business journalists at Reuters, reports Monday that 30 Guild members have volunteered for the company’s buyout offer, while another 15 have left. The union says those leaving take more than 900 years of editorial experience.

The Guild states:

Based on company information, 30 Guild members have volunteered for the enhanced Editorial buyout. For many, the last day at work on will be Dec. 31. Some have already left. Another 15 members – including two New York Level 2 Journalists whose work is being moved to low-wage Bangalore, and four New York Journalists who left because of the Reuters Next shutdown – have left Thomson Reuters since the buyouts were first announced in October.

We’ll have more information in the coming weeks about the ripple effects the departures are having across Reuters, particularly the consolidation of desk editing operations in New York at the expense of Washington, as well as an update on the closing of the Miami Bureau.

You may know some departing members very well. Others, you may have never met. They all deserve thanks for their service, hard work and support of the Guild. Together, they represent more than 900 years of experience and excellence. They are:

Chuck Abbott Paul Eckert Colin McDonald Vicki Allen Jeff Flynn Sam Nelson JoAnne Allen Jackie Frank Pam Niimi Manuela Badawy Doris Frankel Nick Olivari Phil Barbara Ellen Freilich John Peabody Ken Barry Leslie Gevirtz Joe Silha Maureen Bavdek Gary Hill Erin Smith Carol Bishopric Eileen Houlihan Jane Sutton Xavier Briand Ilaina Jonas Caryn Trokie Alister Bull Chad Matlin John Wallace Bob Burgdorfer Carole Vaporean Chris Wilson Debbie Charles Stacey Marques Jessica Wohl Pedro DaCosta Jim Marshall Debby Zabarenko Ted D’Afflisio Megan McCarthy Toby Zakaria Tim Dobbyn Gerry McCormick Sue Zeidler

From the most junior to the most senior, each departing member made the company better and the Guild stronger. Several were Guild activists. Not every member can or wants to be a steward or Guild officer. But the activists who left will have to be replaced. The Guild is largely a volunteer organization. This is a time for members who want to make a difference to step forward to help preserve the dignity, benefits and protections we’ve gained over the years, and to make Thomson Reuters a place where good journalism can be practiced in a good working environment.

Read more here.

Alister Bull

Bull leaving Reuters DC bureau

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Alister Bull, who has spent most of the past nine years covering the Federal Reserve Board and the economy for Reuters, is leaving the news organization, his co-workers have confirmed.

Bull has not yet written a farewell note and does not have any post-Reuters plans, those co-workers stated. Along with the Federal Reserve, Bull covered the White House and the Treasury and the Iraq War. He has a deep knowledge of macroeconomic policy.

“I will stay in Washington and plan to keep working on macro economic and monetary policy issues,” said Bull in an email to Talking Biz News on Monday afternoon.

His departure, part of the job cutting at Reuters announced earlier this year, will leave the news organization without a full-time reporter covering the Fed. Its other Fed reporter, Pedro Da Costa, left last month for The Wall Street Journal.

Bull previously reported for Reuters from Germany, South Africa, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Iraq and has been with the news organization since April 1987.

In this February 2011 press conference about Egypt, President Obama called on Bull first.

Jane Sutton

The Reuters reporter, the Elvis impersonator and the coleslaw wrestling match

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Jane Sutton, the Miami correspondent for Reuters, announced Monday that she is leaving the news organization at the end of the year.

Here is her farewell email to her colleagues:

After more than 19 years at Reuters, I’m joining the exodus out the door tomorrow.

Since it was announced that our jobs were being eliminated down here in the fever swamp, I’ve had plenty of time to reminisce with colleagues about the camaraderie we enjoyed and the big stories we covered – the hurricanes and coups, earthquakes and volcano eruptions, the space launches, landings and tragedies, the convoluted elections, celebrity shenanigans, trials of all sorts and Guantanamo, Guantanamo, Guantanamo.

So I’ll say goodbye with a reminder of some the smaller stories that epitomize what I’ve loved about this job in Miami:

  • The Elvis impersonator who parachuted into a coleslaw wrestling match, missed his mark and landed on a beer vendor, casting a pall on the annual Daytona Beach Bikerfest.
  • The Florida man who was testing a high-speed jet ski and ran head-long into a low-flying duck, killing them both.
  • The Florida wildlife officers who tried to prevent endangered crocodiles from returning to human habitats by taping magnets to the reptiles’ heads to scramble their bio-magnetic navigational systems.
  • The Florida man who walked into a convenience store with a live 4-foot alligator, fully expecting the clerk to accept it as payment for a 12-pack of beer. He got a three-pack of citations instead.
  • The fake doctor who anesthetized his cosmetic surgery patients with the animal tranquilizer known as ‘Special K,’ used a kitchen spatula as a surgical instrument and left a male bodybuilder with female breast implants rather than the pectoral enhancements he expected.
  • The Cuban migrants who sneaked ashore at a Miami nude beach while hundreds of law enforcement agents were across town, heading off an imaginary migrant influx during a multi-agency training exercise.
  • The elderly couple who booked a tour on the Key West “Mile High” flight that catered to people in pursuit of airborne sex, then tried to hijack the plane to Cuba at knifepoint. The plane crashed into the sea, the pilot swam out with a few scrapes and bruises but the couple were trapped inside and died.

And perhaps my all-time favorite, the Florida bachelor party guest who filed a personal injury lawsuit blaming a whiplash injury on a topless dancer who swung her purportedly cement-hard breasts at him. The case was tried in the People’s Court, a reality television venue where former New York City Mayor Ed Koch presided as judge. He ruled in favor of the dancer, Tawny Peaks, after a female bailiff examined her breasts and deemed them to be soft. Miss Peaks later retired, had her 69 HH implants removed and sold them on eBay, setting the standard for career transitions.

Reuters and Twitter

Reuters journalists double Twitter usage

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Journalists at Reuters more than doubled their usage of Twitter in 2013, according to data from Muck Rake.

Gregory Galant, the CEO of Muck Rack, notes that 238 Reuters journalists were using Twitter in 2012. That number increased to 496 in 2013.

In addition, CNBC anchor Melissa Lee was the journalist who started a Twitter feed in 2013 and received the largest number of followers, with more than 19,000. Lionel Barber, the Financial Times editor who started a Twitter feed in 2013, was third with more than 11,900 followers.

See all of the data here.