B4BReuters global communities editor told an industry conference that the rise of social media meant large news organisations needed to reassess how they defined news content quality.

Speaking at the Blogging4Business conference, in London today, Mark Jones told delegates that social media tools had equipped readers to make their own assessments on the quality of a piece of news content.

"Quality is in the eye of the beholder. Hitherto we have thought an expert would tell us what quality is," he said.

"Now social media can tell us what is quality or not through a range of ranking tools.

"Editorial operations like mine are radically going to have to think about what is quality and it may not be something attractive that was learnt in journalism school."

Mr Jones told delegates that two significant points alerted Reuters to the power of social media.

The case of bloggers outing a Reuters photographer for digitally manipulating his pictures, he said, had been a wake up call and editors now regularly engaged with the blogosphere to enhanced the transparency of the business.

He added that the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 had also awoken the company to the necessity of engagement with the audience as the great bulk of news content from the catastrophe came form non-professionals.

"It became immediately obvious to Reuters that if you are going to be a plausible news operation then you have to mix professional and amatuer photographers," he said.

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