The format requirement change really only does two things:
1) It cuts down storage requirements significantly. Full size 14-bit Raw image on my Nikon D4s is almost 20MB. Full size .jpg at the fine setting is 8MB.
( The D4s only has a 16mp sensor. Crank that up a bit and the file sizes get rather ludicrous. )
2) Separates the pros from the amateurs. A pro knows how to get a good shot without resorting to post to fix things they should have got right in the camera.
( like exposure and white balance )
The first point is reasonable. The RAW files for my D800 are BIG. I can't keep more than about six months' shooting on my computer at any given time, and have to hive the rest off to external RAID. And I'm just one photographer who might shoot a couple thousand shots on a busy week. Reuters has slightly greater storage and archival issues than that. :-)
BUT... when you insist on JPEG straight from the camera, you're also effectively discarding keyword tags, caption, title, and other key data about the file, because it's not easily input into the camera on a shot-by-shot basis. That means that archiving, searching and long-term storage is made way harder. And frankly, if Reuters isn't capable of maintaining a large-scale archive and storage service, then they need to make way for a service that can do it. Heck, Youtube's storage requirements make Reuters' concerns pale by comparison.
The second point is just luddite bullshit, says I. I'm media director for a news company in a small tropical nation. The majority of our population is dark-skinned, and because it's hot, they tend to stay in the shade. The difference between interior and exterior conditions—heck, the transition between one side of the room to another—makes manual metering a pain in the ass. I use the automatic metering on my camera because it fucking works. And I'm a pro. I know how to set my levels, but my levels change so wildly from one shot to the next that I can either cover the news or spend my time futzing with my camera. Which do you think I'll do?
If I have to throw a quick mask over one side of the photo because one subject is standing in sunlight, and the other in shade, then you can bet your bottom dollar I'll do it. And I'll do it in RAW because that's technically the best way to process the image data. This 'minimal editing' line is full of shit. And the assertion that 'real' photographers don't need RAW is full of shit as well. Just because we can in theory do something the hard way doesn't mean that we don't have better things to do when we're trying to cover the news.