Thomson Reuters

Bloomberg deal ends early looks at market-moving consumer survey data

The Wall Street Journal | University of Michigan

Customers who paid extra will no longer get an early look at the University of Michigan’s consumer confidence survey, thanks to a deal between the university and Bloomberg LP. Thomson Reuters, which currently distributes the information, used to grant access to the data two seconds earlier to some paying customers, which was a large advantage for some traders.

New York’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, investigated the early-release practice and earlier this year struck an interim agreement with Thomson Reuters to end it.

The peeks will stay on ice for at least five years starting next January, Brody Mullins reports for The Wall Street Journal. Bloomberg “said it would end the practice of charging investors a fee in exchange for an advanced copy of the survey,” Mullins writes.

Bloomberg News will get the data in advance, “in a secure lockup facility at Bloomberg offices to report on the numbers and provide context,” a Bloomberg spokesperson told Poynter.

“Any other news organization has the opportunity to partner with the University and use the same lockup procedure,” the spokesperson said. News organizations that participate in the lockup can release their stories at 9:55 a.m., when University of Michigan releases the data.

Bloomberg’s contract may be renewed, a Michigan press release says, and the “contract ensures that other companies are free to co-sponsor the research and distribute the results on the same terms and conditions as the contract negotiated by U-M and Bloomberg.”

“We are pleased to work with the university to distribute this data on a non-exclusive basis as part of our shared commitment to market transparency and equal access to critical economic information,” Bloomberg Professional service’s Jean-Paul Zammitt says in the release.

Related: Labor Dept.’s new policies for journalists may affect market-moving coverage Read more

New York Times Slim

NYT acknowledges Carol Vogel lifted from Wikipedia

mediawiremorningGood morning. 10-ish, anyone?

  1. NYT acknowledges Carol Vogel lifted from Wikipedia: Part of a July 25 column “used specific language and details from a Wikipedia article without attribution; it should not have been published in that form,” a grisly editor’s note reads. (NYT) | Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy told Ravi Somaiya “editors have dealt with Carol on the issue.” (NYT) | “It seems to me that there can be little dispute about the claim,” Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote Wednesday. “Anyone can see the similarity.” (NYT)
  2. E.W. Scripps Co. and Journal Communications will combine broadcast properties, spin off newspapers: The companies “are so similar and share the deep commitment to public service through enterprise journalism,” Scripps Chairman Richard A. Boehne says. Among the newspapers in the new company, named Journal Media Group: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The (Memphis, Tennessee) Commercial Appeal (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) | “The complicated transaction is the latest move by media companies to focus on either television or print operations, with nearly all choosing to leave behind the slower-growing print business.” (NYT) | Al Tompkins: Scripps “is well positioned to cash in on mid-term political spending with stations in hotly contested political grounds of Ohio and Florida.” (Poynter) | “This deal looks much better for print spinoff than the Tribune deal. No debt or pension obligation. That is huge.” (@dlboardman)
  3. News Corp may bring back something like The Daily: It’s “working on an app-based news service aimed at ‘millennial’ readers” that would “would blend original reporting with repurposed content from News Corp properties such as the Wall Street Journal,” Matthew Garrahan reports. (FT) | Earlier this month, News Corp VP of product Kareem Amin talked about a project in development: “Our users are getting older and our products don’t have as much reach into the younger generation, and we would like to reach them on mobile devices,” Craig Silverman reports he said. (API) | #TBT: Jeff Sonderman on lessons from The Daily’s demise (Poynter)
  4. David Frum apologizes: Images from Gaza he questioned “do appear authentic, and I should not have cast doubt on them.” (The Atlantic) | “Atlantic spokesperson Anna Bross says Frum isn’t facing any repercussions from the company.” (Poynter) | “Frum showed how utterly inclined he is to believe and recirculate a claim of Palestinian photo fakery. Journalists guard against their biases by checking their reporting before publishing it.” (The Washington Post)
  5. Is Vocativ for real? The company, which says it plumbs the “deep web” for stories, has a deal to provide video to MSNBC and is about to announce a series on Showtime. But many who’ve used its vaunted software, Johana Bhuiyan reports, describe “a milieu in which they and other employees continually misled the company’s leadership about the usefulness of the software in their reporting, writing and video work.” Also worth noting: One exec tells Bhuiyan the company paid George Takei “under-the-counter” to tweet stories. (Capital) | #TBT: This is Bhuiyan’s last story for Capital; she’s moving over to BuzzFeed. Earlier this month, she gave advice to media reporters: “Turn your computer off once in a while.” (Poynter)
  6. Where did Plain Dealer journalists land? A year ago today, the paper cut about a third of its newsroom. Where are they now? There “aren’t a lot of of jobs that are cooler than being a reporter,” John Horton, who now works in media relations at Cuyahoga Community College, said. “I mean, that’s what Superman was.” (Poynter)
  7. Why Twitter’s diversity statistics matter: The company is 70 percent male and 59 percent white. That’s “a problem because white men unconsciously build products for white men – products that subtly discourage anyone else from using them,” Jess Zimmerman writes. (The Guardian) | Related: How would Twitter users react if it offered a moderated, Facebook-style feed? (Gigaom)
  8. Thomson Reuters releases second-quarter results: Revenue at the news division was down 1 percent from the same period last year. (Thomson Reuters) | The company’s cost-cutting program helped swing it to a profit, even as net income “was little changed.” (Bloomberg News)
  9. Here is a picture of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the Washington Post newsroom: “Very, very cool moment.” (‏@JoshWhiteTWP) | Related: Jeremy Barr asks Post Executive Editor Marty Baron whether “that traditional path” to the Post, through small papers, is still the way in. Baron: “I would say that that model passed a long time ago.” (Capital)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Margery Eagan will be a spirituality columnist for Crux, The Boston Globe’s Catholicism vertical. Previously, she was a columnist for The Boston Herald. Lauren Shea is now a project director at The Boston Globe. Formerly, she was a senior digital producer at Arnold Worldwide. Corey Gottlieb and Angus Durocher will be executive directors of digital strategy and operations for and The Globe’s online marketplace. Formerly, Gottlieb was a senior manager of product development at Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Durocher was a lead engineer at YouTube. Adam Vaccaro, formerly a writer at Inc. Magazine, has joined The Globe as a staff writer, along with Sara Morrison and Eric Levenson, both from The Atlantic Wire. Laura Amico, the creator of Homicide Watch, has also joined The Globe as news editor in charge of multimedia and data projects. ( | Lindsay Zoladz will be pop music critic for New York magazine. She’s currently an associate editor at Pitchfork. (@lindsayzoladz) | Eva Rodriguez will be a senior editor at Politico Magazine. Formerly, she was an editorial writer at The Washington Post. (@DylanByers) | Job of the day: Oregon Public Broadcasting is looking for an assignment editor! Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more


Reuters will investigate CNN plagiarist’s work

Reuters was “not aware of any concerns raised” about Marie-Louise Gumuchian’s work when she was a reporter there, Head of Corporate Affairs David Crundwell tells Poynter in an email. “However in light of press reports we are reviewing her stories.”

CNN said Friday it had dismissed Gumuchian, a news editor in London, after finding plagiarism in more than 50 of her stories. A CNN source told Poynter she had primarily lifted copy from Reuters. “She worked for us for about six months, so if we found that many in six months I can’t imagine the job Reuters has now,” the source told Craig Silverman. Read more

1 Comment

Reuters will defend ‘vigorously’ if Thai police move to arrest journalists

Agence France-Presse | Phuketwan

Reuters journalists “will be summoned in the next few days to acknowledge defamation charges” in Thailand, Agence France-Presse reports. “If they do not come, arrest warrants will be issued,” Lt. Somkid On-Jan of Phuket’s Vichit Police Station told AFP. Somkid didn’t name the journalists, but Reuters’ Stuart Grudgings and Jason Szep wrote an article about Thai authorities selling members of a Muslim minority group in Myanmar to human traffickers. It was part of a series that won a Pulitzer Prize.

“We’re aware that a captain in the Royal Thai 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,” David Crundwell, Thomson Reuters’ head of corporate affairs, told Poynter in an email. “If necessary we will defend our story, along with our right to publish, vigorously.”

Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison, two reporters from the English language website Phuketwan who excerpted 41 words of the Reuters report, have already been charged, Phuketwan reports. They’re due in court May 26. Morison, as a director of Phuketwan’s parent company, “faces twice the penalty” under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act. The 2007 law “bans any online criticism of the Thai royal family and, more broadly, any materials considered a threat to national security,” CPJ wrote late last year. Read more

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How taxonomies help news organizations understand and categorize their content

News organizations such as the Associated Press, The New York Times and Thomson Reuters are teaching computers to categorize text and images by building robust taxonomies that their systems use to tag news content.

Adding digital information under the hood in this way helps link stories together and serve up relevant content to news audiences.

In a recent interview with Poynter, Associated Press staffers talked about the AP’s News Taxonomy and why a news organization might consider using it.

What’s taxonomy?

Taxonomy is the practice of classifying information. News organizations do this already: putting articles in the sports section instead of the business section is a way of classifying them. What’s different today is organizations are classifying articles using computers instead of human judgment.

Stuart Myles, director of information management at the AP, led the team that built the AP News Taxonomy with machine-learning and natural-language-processing tools to teach computers how to make decisions instead of having a person read every article or look up a caption on every photo. Once the computer decides the appropriate tags to add, those tags are attached to the article’s or photo’s metadata.

“We’ve created a system of rules that evaluate every single bit of English text we handle,” Myles told Poynter by phone.

AP News Taxonomy contains more than:

  • 4,200 subjects,
  • 2,200 geographic locations,
  • 2,400 organizations,
  • 106,000 people
  • and 50,000 publicly-traded companies.
This word cloud represents the most commonly found terms in the AP News Taxonomy. (Image: Stuart Myles / AP)

In 2006, the AP developed its taxonomy for internal use. Automated tagging began the following year to categorize content coming through the “pipeline” from AP journalists, AP members and third parties. Each day the AP receives approximately 100,000 pieces of content — articles, photos and captions — and automatically applies and publishes metadata directly to every item.

“That’s partly because there’s so much content and partly because we want to get the content out there as fast as possible,” Myles said. “We don’t want to burden editorial with having to approve every single metadata we apply.”

The News Taxonomy makes up one of two parts of the AP Metadata Services. About 18 months ago, the AP began to make an external News Taxonomy service commercially available through the AP Tagging Service when it realized other news organizations could benefit from tagging their articles. Myles said the price list isn’t publicly available.

Users of the Tagging Service feed it news articles through an API, or application programming interface, that allows those users to access the AP’s databases and notifies AP that they’re calling for metadata. Users then get back the relevant metadata based on the AP News Taxonomy.

News organizations can decide how they want to use the metadata. Some use it for archives, others for tagging news articles.

The AP offers the taxonomy and tagging services separately. “We’ve found quite a few people who are interested in building their own tagging system. But they don’t want to build their own taxonomy because that’s a bigger effort,” Myles said. Such organizations can choose to use the AP News Taxonomy and “build their own rules or use someone else’s software to apply it.”

This sample output from the AP Metadata Services Developer Guide displays examples of categories and their IDs for the Geography hierarchy. (Image: AP)

Why use a classification system?

Taxonomies are different across organizations and have varying degrees of human control. But the main reason why companies such as the AP invest in taxonomies is because “metadata is a great way to link things together,” Myles said.

Reasons for using a taxonomy include:

  • Making it easy to recommend stories to users because your system has identified and sorted those stories into categories. Surfacing this content to users encourages them to stay on your website.
  • Taking the subjectivity and human error out of classifying information by automating the system.
  • Eliminating the need for editors to memorize extensive categories and risk forgetting to apply them.
  • Improving search-engine results. “Search engines can only index what’s in the text unless you give them additional synonyms,” Myles said. “We can do that through the taxonomy.” Moreover, if users don’t use the exact keywords to search, related articles can still appear because of metadata.
  • Making categories flexible. Taxonomies can generally link categories with alternative names, name variations and references to a subject that change over time. For example, a sports player can be linked to her team and jersey number — terms that might not be explicit in the story but are directly related to her.

The AP isn’t the only news organization investing in taxonomy. Thomson Reuters runs OpenCalais, which began as a way for finance companies, law firms and investment banks to process tens of thousands of articles per day so their traders could quickly scan through the day’s news. The service is free except for commercial users that look at large numbers of articles per day. OpenCalais has expanded to general news and is a competitor to the AP’s taxonomy.

The New York Times has “news vocabularies” available under the creative commons license, which outlines its taxonomic hierarchy. The BBC also developed a “sports ontology” (which debuted during BBC coverage of the 2010 World Cup) that describes a hierarchy of terms related to soccer teams and players.

The BBC explained the ontology was for internal use to organize its site and manage content dynamically; it had already worked on its taxonomy “for some time” and discussed the benefits with other news organizations at the 2010 News Linked Data Summit, according to BBC Internet Blog.

How does the AP check for accuracy?

Maintaining an up-to-date taxonomy is labor-intensive. Myles, who began his career as a programmer and has also worked for Dow Jones, leads the search-and-classification team under the information-management department, which is made up of 10 people with backgrounds in linguistics and library science.

Every day, they monitor the taxonomy by staying updated on news, determining how to classify new information in helpful ways, updating the rules and making sure those rules are as accurate as possible.

Heather Edwards, manager of the special-projects team at the AP and former taxonomy developer, offered an example to illustrate the accuracy checks built into the testing interface:

She pointed to a story about former Greco-Roman national champion wrestler Dallas Seavey, who became the youngest Iditarod champion in 2012 when the 25-year-old crossed the finish line in Nome, Alaska, after 9 days, 4 hours, 29 minutes on the trail with his sled dogs.

When the AP received this story, the system correctly tagged the article with “Greco-Roman wrestling” and “sled dog racing” but incorrectly tagged it with the term “dogs” in the pets hierarchy, which is used only for domestic pets, not working dogs. Because Seavey was the youngest person to win the Iditarod, the article should have been tagged with “record-setting event,” but wasn’t.

Accuracy is calculated by two measures: precision and recall.

Precision is the percentage of those documents tagged with “Greco-Roman wrestling” that are actually about Greco-Roman wrestling. Take 100 documents tagged with “Greco-Roman wrestling.” If 90 of them are about Greco-Roman wrestling but 10 are not, the precision is 90 percent. Because the “dogs” tag was incorrectly applied, the precision for the “dogs” rule decreased.

Accuracy is mission-critical for many of the AP’s customers. “All terms that are in production need to be operating minimum at 85 percent precision and recall,” Edwards said. Most terms are operating at above 90 percent.

For “Greco-Roman wrestling” and “sled dog racing,” Edwards said, “we have one more example of good content which improved the precision and recall for both of them.”

Recall is the percentage of tagged articles compared to all the relevant documents in the collection. Edwards noted that recall is a “tricky” concept that’s “really hard to calculate” because “by definition you don’t know how many relevant documents are in the corpus. If you knew that, then your rule would be perfect.”

Since the “record-setting event” tag was missing from the Seavey article, the recall for that rule decreased — the rule missed the article even though it was relevant to “record-setting event.”

This diagram shows an example of how the AP News Taxonomy creates a hierarchy of subjects nested within each other. (Image: AP)

The team runs reports daily and weekly to monitor precision and recall. Mindful of external users concerned about privacy or protecting their content, Myles said the AP keeps only a small amount of data for fixing problems.

“We’re not looking at their content, so it’s confidential in that sense,” he said.

If a mistake occurs, customers, editors, and representatives from sales and customer service usually provide the team with feedback to improve the rules, Edwards said.

Whenever the team makes a new rule to classify stories, Myles said there’s a “gold set of articles” against which the team members “rerun all of the content and make sure that we’re still getting the same results so we haven’t introduced some problem by mistake.”

Then, the team compares the results to the taxonomy that was previously applied. They also run the top news of the day through the taxonomy to see if the metadata is applied as expected. The team tests the new rule for up to two weeks before it goes into production, said Edwards. They then monitor it and get feedback from editors and customers.

Although we haven’t yet developed the means to teach computers to read, understand and explain information, taxonomies get us closer to the promise of the Semantic Web.

Some skeptics have concluded the idea of the Semantic Web was a fad, with the concept too difficult to turn into reality. But the money that news organizations are pouring into developing classification tools to better cut through vast amounts of published content suggests otherwise. Once taxonomies become more established, we may see small-to-medium-sized news organizations also adopt them to help organize their content. Read more


Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa will be Circa’s EIC

Circa Blog | PaidContent | Talking Biz News

Reuters Social Media Editor Anthony De Rosa will become editor-in-chief of Circa, the company announced Tuesday. Circa is a mobile news app that aims to present news “without the fluff, filler, or commentary.”

“There’s a huge opportunity to present news in a way that’s made for mobile,” De Rosa said in the company’s announcement. He told Mathew Ingram “he will be adding some new elements to Circa’s news repertoire — including a possible move into more traditional reporting.” Read more


Matthew Keys: Reuters ‘was looking for a reason to dispose of me’

Matthew Keys | CJR | Politico | Twitchy | The Atlantic Wire
Matthew Keys writes that Reuters gave him several reasons for dismissing him, including the fact that he tweeted information he’d heard over police scanners during the manhunt for the Boston bombings suspects. Keys tweeted on Monday that the news service had let him go.

“I’ve stated before I was unaware of several media reports sourcing law enforcement regarding scanner traffic,” Keys writes. “As soon as I learned about the reports, I erred on the side of caution and stopped tweeting information heard over the scanner.” He continues:

It’s unclear if any law enforcement official or agency reached out to Reuters to make the same request reported by other news organizations, but Reuters has made it clear that it does not need to independently reach out to law enforcement before complying with a request — if CBS News reports it, that’s good enough for Reuters.

Read more

Reuters fires Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys | Politico
Reuters Deputy Social Media Editor Matthew Keys tweeted on Monday that the news service had let him go. Reuters confirmed to Politico that Keys is “no longer with the company.”


Keys was indicted last month and charged with helping the hacking group Anonymous gain access to and alter a Tribune Co. website. Reuters suspended him the next day. Read more

Screen shot 2013-03-15 at 7.39.09 AM

Reuters suspends Matthew Keys

The Huffington Post | Reuters | Los Angeles Times
Reuters suspended Deputy Social Media Editor Matthew Keys, who was indicted Thursday for allegedly helping hackers deface Tribune Co. websites.

Keys took to Twitter Thursday night:


Reuters earlier reported that “a Thomson Reuters employee at the New York office where Keys worked said that his work station was being dismantled and that his security pass had been deactivated.”

The employee is not named. Read more


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