Alessandra Galloni, Reuters (left) and Ros Atkins, BBC News (right)

Most newsrooms should know Reuters. The news agency boasts a clientele of 700 broadcasters in 100 countries, 2000 media companies in 128 countries, and 1000 publishers including eight of the top 10 global newspapers.

That is just one strand of its business model. It also provides a financial terminal belonging to the London Stock Exchange Group as part of a 30-year deal, meaning this is how most financial operators get their news and information.

At The International Journalism Festival in Perugia today (21 April 2023), its editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni spoke about its emerging third revenue stream, which is going directly to consumers through the website, podcast, newsletters and events.

Session moderator and BBC News analysis editor Ros Atkin summed up the challenge well: Reuters is becoming a competitor to its clients.

"There's room for both," defends Galloni, reasoning that news organisations can package news differently as audiences have different desires around storytelling and formats.

Audiences still want quick information about breaking news, such as elections, significant deaths or natural disasters. Factual, trusted information also matters - nothing breaks a business deal with news clients or financial operators quite like bad information.

"Trust cannot be taken for granted, you have to work hard for trust every day. That is true for news organisations and for the consumer directly," she says.


The reason for Reuters branching out is ultimately because of its unique offer to the world, in what Galloni calls 'glocality' - global views and local expertise.

Modern audiences are sophisticated and will be getting news updates from so many different sources. Traditional news brands must provide added value in this context, and Reuters' is its glocality.

As with many news organisations, local correspondents are an emerging way of covering global stories, without parachuting in foreign correspondents. That comes with a risk: local correspondents can be seen as traitors to their country by working for what would be foreign news companies. That was the case of the late Danish Siddiqui, a Reuters photojournalist who died in 2021 and was instrumental in covering the covid pandemic in his own country, India.

"There's a great and growing responsibility for news organisations that want to cover the world to support local journalists who are a crucial part of foreign reporting," Galloni continues.

'At the source, but behind the scenes'

Going direct to consumers is also a talent retention strategy. Reuters estimates that 2bn people see its coverage everyday because of its extensive list of clients. Journalist's stories are widely seen, but are not necessarily given the kudos or credit for their work.

"We are not struggling for talent," Galloni interjects. But she admits that working for the news agency has historically come without the glamour and cache of landing scoops.

"It's a great public service what we do every day, but sometimes it doesn't have great sex appeal because your name is not necessarily on a recognised platform."

By serving audiences directly, its journalists will get a more visible byline. That can in turn lead to more follow-up stories too.

This is part of thinking to address the war on talent. The other is the flexibility of roles on offer. The news agency can offer beats ranging from covering banks to warzones, to fact-checking or photojournalism, in hundreds of different countries internationally.

The future of AI

While buzz continues to circulate around artificial intelligence, Reuters has been using automation for decades to show economic indicators and translations techniques notably, as it works in 15 languages.

Generative AI throws up new questions, and Galloni is racking her brain about the extent of human involvement, transparency of the technology to its audience, and to what extent the end product feels like a Reuters product.

Artificial intelligence is changing the way we approach journalism. Join our panel of experts at Newsrewired on 23 May to learn more about how it could impact your newsroom.

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