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Promoting the Reuters brand

I joined Reuters in 1980, the year Manfred, to my horror, abolished the segregation of trainees into general news and economics.


I remember him explaining why he didn’t understand why Reuters had more journalists reporting a declining country off the coast of France than the economic and political powerhouse of Europe.


My first posting was to Bonn, whose output Manfred naturally followed with close attention. One of my tasks as the junior correspondent there was to report on the impact of Reuter stories in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and other serious West German newspapers. It gave me great pleasure to report the huge number of column cms they devoted to the Charles and Di wedding and the Falklands War.


On my return to London I was offered a posting in Moscow that was withdrawn after I said I wanted to take my journalist girlfriend with me (even after we agreed to marry). Punished by time on the commodities and financial reporting desks, I was rehabilitated by the late lamented Allan Barker on his combined business/features desk. “The Sarge“ kindly allowed me time to write the kind of arty, fluffy features for which there was no justification in Manfred’s brave new finance-oriented Reuters (e.g. interviews with John Gielgud, Alec Guinness, Barbara Cartland, colour pieces on Adrian Mole and an East London shop devoted to Elvis). Only when Manfred saw that these articles were being picked up widely (by organs from the Khyber Mail to the IHT) did he thaw and accept my apostasy: the topics might not be important, according to his credo, but they did promote the brand and name of Reuters. ■