Magazine

Mourning The Reuters Of Yesteryear


No one can be happy to see Reuters Group PLC (RTRSY) in trouble, least of all old and departed employees, of which, sadly, I am one ("Stopping the rot at Reuters," Cover Story, Feb. 9). A significant part of Reuters' reputation came from its academic slant, which endowed it with distinction over other news services. I don't know what happened in the '90s that led Reuters to falter, and I wonder how discarding an essential enterprise culture would improve Reuters' fortunes but still maintain its standing. To many in Silicon Valley, where Reuters thrived for a while, "discussing Cicero's" commentaries at lunchtime is a lot less depressing than reminiscing about an incredible institution, past colleagues, and lost friends and technical peers.

Many hope that Tom Glocer will succeed and are watching with anticipation. Maybe I do, too, knowing that it is all in the past. If I miss Reuters, I could reread the company's own recitation in The Power of News: The History of Reuters 1849-1989 for a nostalgic, though painful, fix. It could have been written by Cicero.

Khaled El-Bizri

Palo Alto, Calif. "Harmony and belly dancing at Davos" (News: The United States, Feb. 9) says: "The Saturday night gala was, with black-tie CEOs and their begowned wives hoofing it...." Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) CEO Carly Fiorina is pictured beside this sentence -- although not in black tie.

Interesting to find the glass ceiling working as a dance floor this time round.

Charles Arthur

London Frederik Balfour's "A boom built by Beijing" (Asian Business, Feb. 2) accurately portrays the consumer-driven recovery in Hong Kong as being carefully orchestrated by Beijing but overlooks several key points: The orchestration is in direct response to the unprecedented public discontent with Beijing's man in Hong Kong, Tung Chee Hwa. In a way, Beijing thinks it can bribe Hong Kong's people into ignoring their political purgatory with a pickup in the economy.

The hordes of mainland tourists do less good for Hong Kong than we might all think. First, many, if not most, stay in "their own" hotels, i.e., mostly owned and operated by mainland groups or window companies. Second, their flashy, raw consumerism and, some say, "distasteful habits" kick off resentment in Hong Kong in a number of social strata. Third, as can be seen from the photo of mainland consumers at Giordano, many of them shop at the low end of the market, where the goods are made -- guess where? -- back in China.

P. Mar

Geneva


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