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'Lunatic' coverage

I occupied the same position as David Sells in Brussels some years after his departure.


His departure from Reuters was not unconnected with the following exchange in April 1965. The letter from London started:


"Dear Mr Sells,


Budget Coverage


I strongly object to the phrasing of your... message:.. 'hope you now finished your 38-take British Budget epic. It's been absolutely lunatic.'


… Head Office is not above criticism, but there is a right and a wrong way of expressing it. Please keep such offensive adjectives as 'lunatic' off the open wire in future."


Sells' reply began:


"Mr King very properly takes umbrage... at my comment on our British budget coverage… I was weeping into my Union Jack at the time and the word 'lunatic' must have sneaked out between snuffles." ■