The Reuter Society
Thursday 19 June 2014
Björn Edlund (photo) credits his background in journalism (six years with UPI in his native Sweden, then Germany and Spain before Reuters from 1983-1989 in Mexico, Argentina and Germany) for equipping him for a successful international career in corporate life. It gave him insights into how the world turns, how power works and what makes the powerful tick.
“Journalism, more importantly, gave me an ethical and professional compass, and a whole range of tools,” he told former colleagues. He learned how to be a boss, how to keep an eye on the story, how to plan ahead without knowing what was about to happen, how to help others to navigate uncertainty, how to listen for what was not being said and to see what was not being shown, how to trust the process of writing as a way to think through problems.
Long based in Switzerland, in November 2013 Edlund became the first non-American to win the US Institute for Public Relations’ prestigious Alexander Hamilton Medal, its highest award for most effective public relations practice. For all the corporate reward and recognition, it was on Reuters’ London World Desk where “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven, I really did... On almost every shift at Reuters we had the best of people who had worked in all four corners of the world." He still misses the banter of his life in journalism. ■