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A delicate matter

morgue |môrg|


in a newspaper office, a collection of old cuttings, photographs, and information.

ORIGIN early 19th century: from French, originally the name of a building in Paris where bodies were kept until identified.

Not long ago it was possible to delve into company archives and find all the facts necessary to write an obituary on anyone ever employed by Reuters. Unfortunately much of that valuable information, preserved for years in personnel files, was discarded in space-saving exercises, and with it went much of the fine detail of the most significant aspect of the history of Reuters: its remarkable people.

A problem thus arises whenever a Reuters person dies and The Baron needs to publish an appropriate notice.

Michael Reupke, former editor-in-chief and general manager, offers a solution: he suggests that this website open a morgue, in newspaper parlance a repository of useful background stored for future use on demand.

He writes: “I have had a major stroke. My next one will be my last. I am going to die. The only question is when. I would like to make things as easy as possible for those I know I will leave behind with the problems I know they will face.”

I am going to die. The only question is when

Reupke has submitted his biographical and career details for safe-keeping. The editor sincerely hopes it will not be necessary to refer to that file for many years to come.

In the interests of veracity, others are invited to follow his example and submit a note on themselves to be used as the core of an obituary when the occasion arises. The note will be stored securely and in confidence until needed. It will not be disclosed or used for any other purpose.

Anyone who has other background material, including pictures, about Reuters and its people past and present is welcome to send that in too. ■