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Barry Moody, still passionate about agency journalism after 43 years

Barry Moody (photo), one of Reuters’ longest serving journalists, leaves on Friday, his passion for the excitement of agency journalism as strong as ever after 43 years, “as is my belief in the core principles that make Reuters so unique and so great”.

A farewell message to colleagues on Thursday said: “The time has finally come to put my last two pigeons in a pie and hang up the laptop and crackberry with the ancient typewriter, Tandy and telex tape. After 43 years in the service of the Baron I am finally bailing out.”

Moody leaves as specialist writer/editor, a job title that fails to reflect his breadth of experience as Americas production editor, World Desk editor, Middle East editor, Africa editor and most recently editor in charge of Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.

He recalled that he had “reported from more countries than I can remember on every continent and been posted to Italy four times (ed: correct), Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia and the Pacific, and America”.

“When, as a callow and awestruck youth, I entered the hallowed portals of 85 Fleet St and a cacophonous and smoky newsroom that seemed straight out of the pages of ‘Scoop’ in 1970, I expected to be dismissed within months, not still serving the Baron longer than many of you have lived. So I feel particularly fortunate to have lasted so long, seen so many extraordinary events and had the opportunity to meet so many remarkable public figures, from the saintly to the evil.”

Moody spent seven years as Middle East and Africa editor - “a turbulent period of great excitement, enjoyment, exhaustion and tragedy. It included Reuters huge success in covering the 2003 Iraq war but also the heartbreaking deaths of five brave colleagues, which still weigh on me”.

He added: “It has been stimulating, fulfilling and on several occasions very frightening - and I am not only referring to meetings with senior executives. I have seen and lived in places I could only have dreamed of when I first arrived in Fleet Street.

“Above all, I had the honour of working with an extraordinary corps of reporters, video journalists and photographers, particularly our local staff in the Middle East and Africa - the bravest and most resourceful people I know.

“My passion for the excitement of agency journalism is as strong as ever, as is my belief in the core principles that make Reuters so unique and so great. There are still places where I would love to work, and I feel like I could have kept going for years more. So it will be a huge and daunting wrench to depart.

“But I have stayed longer than most and it is time to finally think of life and activity away from the mother ship. I salute you all and urge you to remain vigilant against any attempt to dilute those principles. Reuters is a very special place and its core ideals must be protected and nourished.” ■