alerting humanitarians to emergencies – Linked on our blogs with Big Bank spend aid billions but neglect poverty, warns report, with Thomson Reuters Foundation website, and with Christian Aid UK.

  • Reuters AlertNet is a humanitarian news network based around a popular website.
  • It aims to keep relief professionals and the wider public up-to-date on humanitarian crises around the globe.
  • AlertNet attracts upwards of ten million users a year, has a network of 400 contributing humanitarian organizations and its weekly email digest is received by more than 26,000 readers.
  • It was started in 1997 by Reuters Foundation – an educational and humanitarian trust – to place Reuters’ core skills of speed, accuracy and freedom from bias at the service of the humanitarian community … (about 1/2).

Alerts; Topics; News; Tools; Maps; Partners; Jobs;
Address: Reuters AlertNet, 30 South Colonnade, London E14 4EP, UK;

About 2/2: … AlertNet has won a Popular Communication award for technological innovation, a NetMedia European Online Journalism Award for its coverage of natural disasters and has been named a Millennium Product by the British Government — an award for outstanding applications of innovative technologies. 

Why was it set up?

During the Rwanda crisis of 1994, the Reuters Foundation became interested in media reports of poor coordination between emergency relief charities on the ground. It surveyed charities on what could be done to remedy this. The conclusion was that there was a need for a service that would:

  • Deliver operation-critical information to relief charities worldwide
  • Encourage relief charities to swap information with one another
  • Raise awareness of humanitarian emergencies among the general public

These overlapping objectives are summarised in the Reuters AlertNet tagline – ‘Alerting Humanitarians to Emergencies’.

Why Reuters?

Philanthropy has been a feature of Reuters’ 150-year history and the Reuters Foundation was set up in 1982 to recognise and formalise such activity. Reuters AlertNet is just one of a number of Reuters Foundation projects, all of which are designed to employ Reuters’ skills to help disadvantaged communities around the world.

See the Thomson Reuters Foundation website for details of our other projects.

When researching the viability of a humanitarian news network, Reuters Foundation Trustees concluded that, for a number of reasons, Reuters was unusually well placed to support such a project. It has:

  • An unrivalled reputation for providing speedy, accurate reporting from its worldwide network of journalists
  • A reputation for independence enshrined in the company’s ‘Trust Principles’ (see details of Reuters independence safeguards)
  • World class news production skills
  • Technical publishing skills honed in the fiercely competitive business of supplying information to the financial markets
  • An ability to create networks of contributors and to encourage them to share information – a key feature of many Reuters financial markets services

MediaBridge project:

  • Making it easier for journalists to cover crises
  • Making it harder for editors to say ‘no’

In 2004, Reuters AlertNet conducted a major analysis of humanitarian crisis reporting in collaboration with Columbia School of Journalism. The result was the Fritz Report, the biggest survey yet of relations between the media and humanitarian relief agencies. Reuters AlertNet, with the support of Britain’s Department for International Development, is now acting on the report’s recommendations in a project called MediaBridge. The project involves the creation of practical tools and services to help journalists cover difficult emergencies. These include: … (full long text).

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