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Reuterians all

Who are the Reuterians, and where are they now? The short answer is: we all are, and we are still here.

The name is applied to anyone who works or worked for Reuters. Though seldom used nowadays, it seems to have been around for nearly 100 years.

There appears to have been no mention of it at the company’s golden jubilee in 1915. John Entwisle, company archivist, has looked at documents relating to the celebrations and admits to being slightly surprised that, amongst all the flowery and rather pompous language, nowhere does the word Reuterian appear. He thinks that, from all the written evidence, it probably came in with Roderick Jones who took over the following year - 1916 - following the suicide of the founder’s son, Herbert de Reuter, the second Baron de Reuter.

The earliest known written reference seems to have been in the Service Bulletin, the internal company magazine, in 1918.

Four years later, in 1922, Reuterian was the name of a global service of exchange rates launched through the pioneering efforts of Cecil Fleetwood-May, a young sub-editor who helped to develop the distribution of commercial news by broadcast wireless telegraphy.

The name continued to be used in The Reuter Review of the late 1930s.

So, what do you call a group of Reuterians?

There has been some discussion on The Baron of the appropriate collective noun for a gathering of Reuter journalists. It was instigated by Michael Reupke and Alex Frere. They came up with “a snapfull of Reuterians”.

Bob Evans, with a wistful glance back at the days of tea breaks at 85 Fleet Street, suggested “a trolley-load”.

Roger Gough had two ideas: “a Rush of Reuterians” and - a bit mischievous this - “a Shafting of Reuterians”.

Mike Arkus offered “An urgent correction of Reuterians”.

You may well have other ideas. For the moment, The Baron suggests the most appropriate word to describe the global diaspora of Reuters people past and present is another one that is used only rarely nowadays. It comes from Middle English derived from Old French and originally described feudal nobles of a kingdom collectively. The word is baronage, whose last syllable is pronounced “idge” in English and, with a nod to its roots, “aage” in French. ■