from For the Record:

Toward a more thoughtful conversation on stories

Visitors to this space may recall that I wrote this summer about the issues Reuters and other news organizations face in dealing with reader comments on stories.

I’ve become increasingly concerned about the quality of discourse in comments on news stories on and on other major news sites.  On some stories,  the “conversation”  has been little more than  partisans slinging invective at each other under  the cloak of anonymity.

I believe our time-challenged, professional readers want to see a more rewarding conversation—and my colleagues who lead are introducing a new process for comments that I believe will help bring that about.

The new process, which gives special status to readers whose comments have passed muster in the past, won’t address the anonymity issue, but I do think it is an important step toward a more civil and thoughtful conversation.

from Reuters Editors:

Link economy and journalism

chris_ahearnThe following is a guest column by Chris Ahearn, President, Media at Thomson Reuters.

Last summer, I published a blog post that laid out my feelings about the link economy and its positive contribution to the evolution of the business of journalism. One year later, continues to encourage linking to the rich content we offer and even pulling interesting excerpts for discussion in a different forum.   In exchange for that occasional use of our content, we ask others to respect the hard work our journalists put into their craft and in some cases risk their lives in doing so by offering prominent links and attribution.

How have you been affected by the volcanic ash?


From the fruit you eat, to the sports you watch, the impact of the volcano flight shutdown has hit all facets of life. The ash cloud has stranded millions but has also hit the industries whose products consumers rely on.

    Travel and Tourism: The airline industry says it is losing some $200 million a day. Travel and tourism accounts for around five percent of global gross domestic product — some $3 trillion — with Europe accounting for a third of that. A prolonged shutdown could cost up to $5-10 billion dollars a week in the industry, analysts say. Health: The flight ban is preventing some life-saving transplant tissue from reaching patients, and other operations have had to be canceled because surgeons are stuck overseas. Sport: Champions League, Premier League and Europa League soccer matches, the London Marathon and the Giro d’Italia cycling race could all be hampered. Fish: The world’s largest fish farmer, Norway’s Marine Harvest, said it would reduce salmon harvest volumes from Monday and that salmon exports to Asia and North America had been hit. Flowers, fruits and vegetables: Kenya’s horticulture industry has lost $12 million to the volcano-induced European airspace closure and it will take several weeks to recover even if flights resume now. Politics: Many government heads and heads of state, including President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, were unable to attend the state funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczynski on Sunday following his death in a plane crash in Russia. Entertainment: Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures announced it was moving the world premiere of action movie “Iron Man 2″ to Los Angeles from London due to uncertainty caused by the travel chaos in Europe.

How have you been affected by the paralyzed airspace? Share your thoughts with us.

from Mario Di Simine:

Winners and losers on the Forbes Fictional 15

An actor dressed as Darth Vader passes in front of a model of Jabba the Hutt during the Star Wars Celebration Europe exhibition at the Excel Centre in London July 13, 2007. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN)It’s always good to see a venerable business mag can also have a sense of humor.

Most people know Forbes publishes the ranks of the world’s richest people, this year topped by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. But the magazine also does another annual list that will be of much more interest to those of us who love TV, movies and other fun escapes: the Forbes Fictional 15 rankings of fiction’s richest.

What do you want to see in a passenger bill of rights?


northwestairline To the roaring cheers of jilted airline passengers everywhere, new rules to protect travelers will take effect on April 29.

These new rules, being issued by the Department of Transportation, focus mainly on the length of time domestic airlines are allowed to keep passengers locked on a plane on the tarmac.  Some may recall the incident last August when passengers were forced to remain on a plane in Rochester, Minn for six  hours  without a working toilet. After April 29, after three hours of being stuck on a plane, domestic airlines will be forced to let passengers deplane — unless there are safety or security issues.

Gregg Easterbrook debuts as columnist on


Easterbrook-001Reuters today announced the hire of distinguished journalist, author and lecturer Gregg Easterbrook as a columnist for  Easterbrook, whose weekly column debuts on today, will write on topics ranging from economics and politics to science and technology.

Easterbrook is the author of the bestselling 2010 book Sonic Boom, as well as five other books of nonfiction and two novels. He is a contributing editor to The Atlantic, The New Republic and The Washington Monthly, a former visiting fellow in economics and in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, and a distinguished fellow of the Fulbright Foundation.

Go ahead, make his day: Best of the week


Maybe it’s the recession, but groceries were a big hit with readers this week. The smackdown king of popularity, however, was no doubt President Obama and his healthcare law, stories for which dominated our most-read figures. Here are the week’s most popular tales.

obama1. Obama dares Republicans to seek healthcare repeal

“Go ahead, punk. Make my day.” While President Obama surely doesn’t carry a Magnum 45 like Dirty Harry did, he certainly talks as tough. Speaking to university students after signing his landmark healthcare legislation into law, the president taunted the Republicans to go ahead and try to repeal the new law. “If they want that fight, we can have it,” he proclaimed. Do you feel lucky, punk? Do you?

Factbox: Where to find auto service bulletins


DETROIT (Reuters) – Automakers provide notice of recalls involving cars, SUVs or pickup trucks to their owners, but drivers may not know whether their vehicles are covered by one of the thousands of “technical service bulletins” filed each year with U.S. safety regulators or where to find them.

Following are some facts about technical service bulletins, or TSBs, and where vehicle owners might find them.

Factbox: Toyota’s U.S. recalls rose with fast growth


DETROIT (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp’s displaced Ford Motor Co as No. 2 in the U.S. market in 2007, and the following year it unseated General Motors Co as the world’s largest automaker.

But barely a year after overtaking GM, Toyota was launching the first of its damaging recalls that would involve more than 5 million vehicles in the United States — almost three times the number of U.S. vehicles that Toyota sold in 2009.

After the vote: Some useful links to guide you


pelosiAfter a year of often rancorous debate, the House has passed a sweeping overhaul of the healthcare system that expands insurance coverage to nearly all Americans and hands President Barack Obama a landmark victory.

Here are some useful links from around the Web to help guide you through the reforms and what they may mean to you.