Saturday, July 24

Julius Reuters: Created The World’s First News Agency

Paul Julius Reuters is the one who makes us understands what is news in the world, how news is brought. He was a pioneer of telegraphy and news reporting.

Personal details

He was born on 21 July 1817 in Kassel, the electorate of Hesse, now in  Germany. His birth name was Israel Beer Josaphat.  His father’s name was Samuel Levi Josaphat, who was a rabbi, and his mother’s name was Betty Sanders. On 16 November 1845, he converted to Christianity at St. George’s German Lutheran Chapel in London and there he changed his name to Paul Julius Reuter.  After one week, he married Ida Maria Elizabeth Clementine Magnus of Berlin.

Julius Reuters
source: jchatoff.wordpress.com

Julius Reuters used to think that he had to do something new in his life. And so he left the job of a German bank clerk.  After leaving his job, he went to France. There he started working in the news agency located in Paris. Reuters knew French as well as German.  They started reading and telling news of the German language to the people of France. In this work, he started getting pleasure. He also found this work very interesting.  He thought that why not I should make a news agency of my own so that the Germans who want news of France get news of France and those who want news of German from France, they get news of German. 

After this, he left the job of the news agency in Paris. Then he wrote some events of France in German and wrote to the German newspapers.  ‘Reuters’ was a new name for the newspapermen, which they did not trust and they returned the news to Reuters by post. 

Then Reuters thought of something else. And that’s when he noticed that it took a long time to send messages by telegraph between Paris and Berlin.  Because the news would then be sent to Aachen by train and from Aachen by telegraph to Berlin.  Apart from this, the stockbrokers used to send the latest prices of their shares to the banks and other brokers.  Reuters decided to send its message through pigeons. Because pigeons could deliver messages faster than trains. 

For this work, he first arranged pigeons. He then kept his agent in Brussels whose job was to send the prices of French shares and get prices from German shares. Then they put some pigeons in the Aachen and some in Brussels because pigeons could transmit messages from only one side. 

Career life of Julius Reuters

Reuters’ wife Ida made small silk bags. On 21 April 1850, Reuters sent its message through a pigeon for the first time. The Brussels agent put the fresh price of the stock in the pouch and tied it to the pigeon’s feet. Reuters was waiting for the pigeon to arrive. After about two hours the pigeons appeared. Reuters and his family were overjoyed. He found a pouch containing the share prices on which the latest stock prices were written. Immediately several copies of the same were prepared and sent to various banks. Then some copies from the telegraph station were also sent to the banks of Berlin. 

When others got the new price of the share 7 hours before the arrival of the train, they were quite surprised. When prices were confirmed when the train arrived, he trusted Reuters. They gave money to Reuters and agreed to receive regular messages from him. But then in 1850, the third line of the telegraph was laid. Then this work of Julius Reuters came to an end. 

Julius Reuters
source: wikipedia.org

But Reuters did not disappoint. He thought that he would start some other work. He thought he would appoint his agents in all the countries of Europe who would telegraph the latest news to him. 

For this work, he went to London. There he appointed many agents who are called correspondents today. Initially, Reuters faced a lot of trouble.  He started work but with whatever he earned, he could barely pay the rent of his office only.  A few days later a man came to meet him. He told Reuters,-“you send me economic news from London”. Reuters agreed to this. 

The economic information received from the cities of Europe, the brokers liked it very much. After that, some other brokers also became clients of Reuters.  

Even after 7 years, the correspondent of the newspaper did not want to take services from Reuters. Then Reuters tried to give them free service for two weeks.  When the editors saw the news sent by Reuters, they were surprised because one was getting it ahead of time and secondly that their correspondent used to leave out an important news. 

In February 1859, the Paris agent of Reuters reported that Emperor Napoleon III of France was going to deliver an important speech.  The agent received an advance copy of the Emperor’s speech with instructions not to publish it before the Emperor began his speech. Reuters did the same.

As soon as the Emperor’s speech began, Reuters sent copies of it to all the newspapermen. In this way, Reuters got the credit of printing the Emperor’s speech first.   

There was much other news like this which Reuters first gave. Such as the American Civil War in 1861 and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Gradually the news agency of Reuters became reputed and established as a credible news agency.

Julius Reuters
source: britannica.com

Reuters died in 1899 in Nice, France. But the news agency created by him is still being remembered as the world’s first news agency. Even though many more news agencies have opened today but Reuters will remain the guide of all of them. 

Reuters Group Limited

Today, Reuters news agency employs thousands of journalists, who put their lives on the line to bring news. 

Reuters Group Limited is today headquartered in the City of London, United Kindom. The name of the owner of this group is Thomson Reuters.

The September 20, 2004 edition of the New York Times reported that Reuters Global Management Editor David A. Schlesinger stated that – My goal is to protect my reporters and my editorial integrity.

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