The Common Good
February 2004

Reuters vs. Methodists

by Rose Marie Berger, Brian Bolton | February 2004

After strong statements from the United Methodist Church and the National Council of Churches, Reuters’ advertising agency reversed its decision to exclude a 7,000-square-foot, 28-story Times Square billboard, part of the Methodists’ "Igniting Ministry" campaign. "You state on your Web site that your church should be given the same access and opportunity to speak in the commercial marketplace as corporate advertisers," wrote Reuters’ CEO Thomas Glocer. "On reflection, I believe that you are right." Reuters policy prohibits advertising with "pornographic, political, religious, libelous, misleading, or deceptive" ads.

Methodist spokesperson Larry Hollon criticized Reuters for accepting beer ads and rejecting ads for something that "can bring order and peace" into people’s lives. Reuters’ Glocer responded, "You have given us cause to review our thinking, and for that I am grateful."

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