An oversimplified, way too short and utterly incomplete history of
The Reuters News Agency
- Paul Julius Reuter (July 1816 - February 1899) (hey, that wasn't even his
real name! His name was Israel Beer Josaphat, but he changed it later. After
all, Reuter does sound rather catchier, now doesn't it?)
- Reuter had several failed attempts at starting his own business, including
co-owning a bookstore, and having a small printers' office
- 1848: Reuter was employed by Havas (Havas was the first european
news agency - it later became AFP)
- 1848: Reuter started his first newspaper in Paris, but failed in
1849 when the creditors came to get his printing equipment
- 1849: Reuter started an office in Aachen (Germany) where he attended
to the gap in the telegraph between Aachen and Brussels. By 1850, more
than 200 pigeons were flying between the two cities to settle the information
demands between them.
- 1851: The gap in the telegraph was closed, and Reuter moved on
to London. He started a news service, focusing especially on economic
matters. (bourse / stock information and grain prices +++)
- 1853: The Times (which was by far the largest newspaper in the
UK at that time) wanted nothing to do with Reuter's services
- 1854-56: The Times (w/ W.H Russell) had good coverage
of the Crimean war, whereas Reuter had none.
- 1858: Reuter had strongly expanded his service, and was now reporting
"everything, everywhere" Offices were opened where there was a telegraph
- 1859: The term "newsflash" was introduced. Instead of
waiting until all the information was available, the main characteristics
of the news (i.e headlines and main facts) were published ASAP, with more
in depth coverage following later. Reuter used this in his favor to beat his
- 1860: Expansion continues with news from China, India and Australia,
along with better coverage from the Americas
- 1861: The civil war breaks out in the USA - but news goes with
the speed of steam ships. This spurs the development of the trans-Atlantic
- 1865: 'Reuters Telegram Company' goes public and is registered as
a limited company.
- 1866: The trans-Atlantic telegraph lines are in place (ironically,
just in time to have missed the civil war completely)
- 1867: Reuter and his network handle between 13000 and 14000 telegraph
messages every month (or about 450 a day, if you will)
- 1869: The cartel is a fact. Reuters has exclusive rights to Australia,
India, Japan, China, South Africa and Canada. They share rights
to USA, Alaska and Eastern Europe with Havas.
- 1878: Paul Julius Reuter retires at 61 due to failing health, but
continues to attend strategic meetings until well into the 1890's.
- 1923: Reuters pioneers the use of radio to transmit news internationally
and starts a service of price quotations and exchange rates sent in Morse
Code by long-wave radio to Europe.
- 1939: Reuters moves to its current headquarters, 85 Fleet Street.
- 1941: Reuters deflects pressure from the British government to serve
British interests during the war by restructuring itself as a private company
owned by the British provincial and national press. Reuters Trust is established
to safeguard the independence of Reuters.
- 1964: Reuters pioneers the use of computers to transmit financial
data internationally with the launch of Stockmaster.
- 1973: Reuter Monitor Money Rates Service launched - an electronic
marketplace for Foreign Exchange. Major western industrialized countries
abandoned fixed exchange rates.
- 1980's - The years of Reuters. During the 80s, Reuters develops
and expands strongly. From little more than 2000 employees in 1980 to more
than 10,000 in 1989
- During the 1980's, Reuters goes "back to its roots". When Reuters
started off, it was as a finance / stock market information service. In
the end of the 1980's, 90% of Reuter's income was through stock market and
economic related information.
- 1981: Reuter Monitor Dealing Service goes live - foreign currency
dealers are able to conclude trades over video terminals.
- 1989: Reuters first with the news of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
(incidentally, Reuters was also first with news of it being built in 1961)
- 1999: Reuters completes its euro currency conversion program,
involving 4 billion changes affecting a quarter of a million financial instruments.
Some 700 engineers, developers, data specialists and customer service staff
worked 300 man-years on the project and cost £10 million.
- 2000: Reuters announces major initiatives to exploit the Internet
and open new markets, reinforced by Joint Ventures in communications, wireless
delivery and investment research
- 2001: Reuters announces plan to develop Reuters.Net -- a new open
platform instant messaging service and contacts directory for the world's
financial services industry - with Microsoft and 25 leading financial institutions.
Sources: (yes - I did use sources.. even someone with my imagination
couldn't make up something like this)
READ, D. (1992) The Power of News: The History of Reuters. New York:
Oxford University Press
KNIGHTLEY, P. (1978) The First Casualty. London: Quartet Books Limited
Reuters UK (2001) 150 years anniversary. http://www.reuters.com/150/