Reuters Has Soothsayers … Or Not

News that CNBC will no longer allow on-air staff to buy and sell individual stocks continues to be the catalyst for media navel-gazing. In this latest example, however, things get delightfully deranged.

A Reuters story lays out the CNBC trading restrictions, then surveys policies at other media outlets, before ending up with Reuters’ own policies. Unfortunately, Reuters reporter Martha Graybow got her employer’s policies wrong in a January 13th article, and the piece is now re-running with the following correction upfront:

In Jan. 13 NEW YORK story headlined “CNBC stock rules could spur trend in media-experts” please read in last paragraph … cannot trade in that security a month after the assignment … instead of … cannot trade in that security a month before or a month after the assignment … (corrects description of policy). [Emphasis added]

In other words, when Ms Graybow wrote the original piece she said that Reuters reporters couldn’t trade in a stock a month before they knew they would be assigned the story. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if Reuters reporters are so prescient as to know what stories they will be assigned a month before they are assigned them, then they should be trading stocks for a living, not writing about them.

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