Reuters faces an age discrimination claim in a London Employment Tribunal next week brought by its veteran sports editor Paul Radford over his removal from coverage of the London Olympics.
Radford, who was told by senior editors he could not enter the Reuters office at the Main Press Centre in the Olympic Park during the Games, had covered 15 Olympics for the international news agency and led the entire Reuters team at the last five Games before the surprise removal of his Olympic responsibilities by the agency’s new American-based editorial leadership just six months before the opening ceremony.
Long-time SJA member Radford, 66, has been at Reuters for more than 30 years. He has been a member of the International Olympic Committee’s press commission for more than 10 years, he is the chairman of the AIPS Olympics Commission and he was a member of LOCOG’s Media Advisory Group and the BOA’s Olympics media accreditation panel.
Radford led the Reuters team of 300 journalists, photographers and camera crews at the 2008 Beijing Games and was later flown to New York by his company to collect the annual award for Reuters News Story of the Year.
Radford’s Employment Tribunal is due to begin next Tuesday and is expected to last for six days. Several senior Olympic figures are giving evidence on the sports journalist’s behalf, including IOC member Kevan Gosper, Anthony Edgar, the head of press operations at the IOC, and Jayne Pearce, LOCOG’s press operations chief, as well as a number of past and present Reuters colleagues.
Reuters, founded in London in 1851, was taken over in 2008 after the purchase by New York-based Thomson Corporation.
In the Radford case, as well as the company, three United States-based executives individuals are personally named as defendants in the action. They are Stuart Karle, the company’s chief operating officer, Paul Ingrassia, the deputy editor-in-chief and Larry Rubenstein, head of logistics at Reuters.
Karle and Ingrassia appointed Radford’s deputy, Ossian Shine to lead the Reuters Olympic reporting team in London. Radford remains Global Sports Editor of the company.
Karle and Ingrassia were brought into Reuters by the newly appointed editor-in-chief Steve Adler last year when Reuters shifted its editorial headquarters from London to New York. Since then, a number of editors with long Reuters experience have left the company, while more than 20 senior journalists in the United States are reported to be facing disciplinary action over performance by the new editorial management team.
Jo Crosby, the company’s London-based spokeswoman, said that “it is the policy of Thomson Reuters not to comment on personnel matters”.
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