John Entwisle: Keeper of the old Reuters flame
Tuesday 25 July 2017
John Entwisle was much more than simply a company archivist. He was the keeper of the old Reuters flame. In more than 30 years with Reuters and Thomson Reuters, his responsibility for the records became a kind of sacred trust. He was an enthusiast for our history, meticulous in his work and keen to share it with others. Reuters was his passion.
He will be greatly missed, particularly whenever there are questions to be answered about our collective past, but also as a kind and caring colleague.
John was the first to say he could never have been a Reuters journalist. Being concise was not his style. But in later years he developed a talent for telling stories from the Archive that won him a following on the Thomson Reuters internal communications channel. He was proud to receive appreciative messages from readers, often much younger company employees, scattered around the world. “It’s not journalism,” he would say, self-deprecating as ever, “but I do have my fan club.”
John and I had a long corporate and friendly relationship, dating back to his collaboration with Professor Donald Read, author of the Reuters history, The Power of News. Our last project together, last autumn, illustrated both his professional and perfectionist qualities.
The Reuter Society decided to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Paul Julius Reuter. John suggested showing the old Hollywood film, A Dispatch from Reuters. Thomson Reuters kindly agreed to host the event at Canary Wharf. John fixed the rights and worked with corporate colleagues to make it a “retro” evening, harking back to when the film was first shown 75 years earlier. It was all very successful.
There was one glitch, though. The film recording jumped a sequence in the story of the Baron. Who cared? Well, John did; he was mortified, distraught. We tried to console him: “No one will have noticed.”
“That’s not the point,” he moaned, seriously upset. “I did, and I know it was not up to standard.”