Paul Julius Reuter and the Distribution of News

On this day, July 21 in the year 1816, the founder of Reuters News Agency was born in Kassel, Germany. His name was Paul Julius Reuters, a pioneer in the dissemination of news through telegraphy.

Paul Julius Reuter
Paul Julius Reuter (Credit: wiki commons)

Paul was the son of a Jewish rabbi. His original name was Israel Beer Josaphat. While working as a clerk in his uncle’s bank, he saw the emergence of telegraphy. In 1844, he changed his name to Paul Julius Reuter when he moved to London and converted to Christianity. A week after his baptism, he married the daughter of a banker from Berlin.
Returning to Germany with his family in 1847, he established a partnership that published political pamphlets. Soon he moved again, this time to Paris when a failed revolution broke out in Germany. There he worked in a news agency that was to become the present Agence France Presse. In 1850, he returned again to Germany and set up a financial news agency that bears his name. At this time, he became the pioneer in distributing news along electric telegraph lines. A year later, he moved back to London where he established an office near the London Stock Exchange.

Reuters News Agency was not only known for speed but also accuracy. To avoid competition, he made an agreement with rivals not to encroach in each other’s territory.

In 1857, Paul became a naturalized British citizen and in 1871, he was awarded the title “Baron”. He died in 1899 at the age of 83. He had a son who committed suicide and a daughter who married a governor in Queensland, Australia.


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