The company reported inaccurate stories from other media without checking primary sources first, in at least two examples, the audience at the 'What Price the News?' debate, hosted by Thomson Reuters, were told.
This month Reuters initially published a report, first broadcast by Sky News, that the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbasset Al Megrahi, had died, until his lawyer corrected them.
Another included CNN's report on a US Coast Guard training exercise on the anniversary of September 11 this year, which was wrongly claimed to be a gun battle.
In contrast, Associated Press had the 'crazy idea of calling up the Coast Guard' before publishing a story, said Joe Lelyveld, the Pulitzer Prize winner and former New York Times journalist.
Speaking from the audience, Paul Iredale, a former Reuters journalist of 30 years said he was 'deeply concerned and sad' about what he heard during the debate.
"In Reuters it seems to have gone to speed rather than accuracy," he said. "What we used to say about Reuters was we got it last, but we got it right. I don't think that is the case now."
In defence, Reuters' political and general news editor, Sean Maguire, said that the news wire was completely transparent when the stories were found to be untrue.
He said: "When we saw it was wrong, we said we were wrong."
"Because Sky had been a good source on the [Al Megrahi death report] story we reported it. We very quickly said what they said was nonsense."
However, also speaking from the crowd, Colin Bickler, another former employee of Reuters, believed source-checking standards were slipping in the rush to get the story up.
"I worked for Reuters for 28 years and if I had pulled that excuse I would have been shot. It is because it can move the markets it needs to be checked. I'm in shock," he said.
Times have changed, contested Maguire. "There is a premium on speed and we will put a story out and say 'this is what we know so far,'" he said. "The business model has changed (…) but we don't recklessly report what we think is wrong," he added.
Reuters' global head of multimedia Chris Cramer made similar points to Maguire at the AOP Online Publishing Summit 2009 earlier this month: "When we make mistakes, and we do, we're quick to own up to those mistakes," he said, emphasising citizen and social media as a 'first resort' for sourcing news.
Chris Kay (@christopherkay) is a postgraduate newspaper journalism student at City University.