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Reuters closes Edref, David Cutler leaves

Reuters closed its Editorial Reference Unit, known to hundreds of journalists as Edref, on Friday and the senior researcher who ran it, David Cutler, left the company after 25 years along with many of the editors he had helped.

Cutler joined Edref’s predecessor Newsbank in 1987, working at 85 Fleet Street with Inga Nicoll and Bernard Tritton. He left in 1989 but returned early the following year. Newsbank became the Editorial Reference Unit and Cutler took over the running of it in 2000 when other researchers assigned to the unit left.

One of his final tasks this year was to oversee the start of a digitisation project and to provide copy for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy on 22 November 1963. “We had the snaps and flashes,” he recalls.

Newsbank and Edref were the successors to the Reuters Library, an editorial resource consulted by thousands of editors and correspondents over many years.

Nine years ago, Edref began producing background material for the news wire – government lists, obituaries, profiles and similar items. “Since Edref started issuing to the wire in 2004, I am rather proud to say that around 5,700 timelines, factboxes, umpteen government lists and the odd story have been published,” Cutler said in a farewell message. “Here is my last one - 5,701!

“Here are some events from this momentous day - November 7

“1917 - Russian Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin overthrew the provisional government of Alexander Kerensky in Petrograd. 

“1972 - Richard Nixon was re-elected for a second term as U.S. president. In 1974, he became the first U.S. president to resign, after the Watergate scandal.

“1989 - East Germany's communist government resigned after pro-democracy protests.

“1990 - Mary Robinson was elected Ireland's first woman president.

“2013 - Reuters Edref closed - and so farewell.”

He added: “Seriously, it has been a great pleasure and a privilege to work with so many of the reporters and editors around the world, and I will certainly miss the day to day contact with my colleagues, some of whom have become very good friends – and for that I will always be thankful.”

Most of the work done by Edref will now be done by news bureaux.


PHOTO: David Cutler on his penultimate day in the London newsroom on Thursday. ■