Reuter gatekeepers where history knocked constantly
Thursday 13 December 2018
Reuter veterans, close your mind's eye to a squint and the agency's long-vanished newsroom can appear as a virtual model city, where history knocks at every moment. A life-giving non-stop flow of world news enters - oddly or significantly - through a back door, to be handled calmly by a bunch of gatekeepers, youthful staff of the Newsdesk, serving at one time the Central desk, then a successor World desk. Their ranks include Joe Bentley, Keith Hollands and Neil Connolly (who once did me a personal favour with his PC-knowhow). With style and no fuss, they keep a constant eye on a never-ending torrent of news.
This steady-as-she-goes approach is virtually chamber music to the operatic display among journalists, often (here I go again) beefy, red-faced men, some barely functioning alcoholics, others stalwarts of "The Last Chance Saloon”). Then again they keep the show running for the post-midnight scholars, sleepers, diners and bridge teams of the overnight shift. The journalists are as always riven by all sorts of uproar, yet I never recall any "trouble" involving the Newsdesk in a newsroom rife with all manner of "inquests".
They say that in the Internet age, there are no gates or gatekeepers. I am sorry about that. ■