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July 21, 2016

Happy 200th birthday to Paul Julius Reuter: Journalism innovator who founded a news empire with pigeons

By Dominic Ponsford

Today marks the 200th birthday of Paul Julius Reuter, founder of the famous international news agency.

Here is a round-up of some of his achievements (from Thomson Reuters):

“Paul Julius Reuter broke early boundaries that have successively shaped the news landscape into the fast-paced industry that we now know. In 1850, exploiting a gap in the electric telegraph between Brussels and Aachen, Reuter used pigeons to fly stock market prices between the two cities much more quickly than the post train.

“In 1851 he opened an office in the Royal Exchange in the City of London which transmitted stock market quotations between London and Paris via the new Calais-Dover cable. This office, serving the City and business, took on its first media client – the London Morning Advertiser – in 1858. Many more followed.

“Reuters became the news agency of the British Empire, forging a reputation for accuracy and speed. In 1878 Reuter retired as managing director of the Reuters Telegram Company, one of the most famous institutions of the Victorian era.

“Two hundred years later, much has changed in the industry, but the underlying principle established by Reuter – using the latest technology to convey the news as quickly and as accurately as possible – remains the same.”

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