Thomson Reuters’ Ethics Code: Blogging’s OK, Just Don’t Talk To Competitors

Staff of the new Thomson-Reuters (NSDQ: RTRSY) are forbidden from using blogs for internal communications and for liaising with co-workers. The merged news agency produced a new a code of ethics late last week – a fairly standard piece of corporate housekeeping that says “it’s OK to mention Thomson (NYSE: TOC) Reuters in a personal blog” but which bars employees from blogging about confidential info and company clients. “Further, personal blogs should never be used for internal communications among fellow employees and you should not use a personal blog to air any differences with co-workers, Thomson Reuters or people or companies that we do business with.”

The code also bars staff from taking gifts and includes a litany of suggestions for ensuring nearby people can’t see their laptop screen, like this tip: “A nondescript bag will draw less attention than a traditional laptop bag”. Having itself passed over potential antitrust hurdles, Thomson Reuters also has a whole section on fair competition, advising staff: “If you attend a conference, trade show, association event or meeting and have informal contact with a competitor, it is always a good idea to limit informal contact to the extent possible and keep a written summary of any discussions that may have taken place.” Employees are advised to speak to a lawyer before a competitor.

Clarification: Thomson Reuters got in touch to add what it suggests this code doesn’t say: “We