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Galloni of Reuters: I love being a journalist

November 16, 2020

Posted by Erica Thompson

Alessandra Galloni, global managing editor of Reuters, gave the following remarks last Thursday after receiving the Lawrence Minard Editor Award from the Gerald Loeb Foundation:

I am so honored to receive this award and, in particular, to join the company of journalists after whom I have sought to model myself for so many years.

I am the most indecisive person in the world. I fret about what to wear, what to eat, what to say and then when I’ve done something, I wish I hadn’t. There is one exception: this profession. Since middle school I’ve never wanted to be anything else but a journalist — and since graduating from college I haven’t worked anywhere other than in a newsroom.

I stumbled upon business journalism when I got an internship at the Wall Street Journal in New York in 1995, and boy am I glad I did, because financial and business journalism provides such a fantastic prism  – at speed and at depth – through which to dissect, investigate, chronicle and explain the events around us.

Working as a reporter and editor for Reuters and the Wall Street Journal for the past 25 years has given me a privileged window onto some epochal moments: the war on terror; the global financial crisis; Europe’s refugee crisis; the rise of China; Brexit; and just this year: the global pandemic; the implosion of Beirut; Black Lives Matter; last week’s US election; this week’s US election.

I’ve had so much fun. I’ve written and edited stories about farmers, factory workers, fashion designers, bishops, bankers, barbers; pilots and politicians; refugees and grandparents; milk moguls and murderers. I once expensed a latex bodysuit to the Wall Street Journal. I was writing about a French banker who had been shot — by his lover of course — in a version of said bodysuit in his Geneva bedroom; Matt, if you’re here: the item should still be in a drawer in the Paris bureau.

I couldn’t have done it without my husband Marco, who has helped me pack for my adventures, kept me grounded – and fed – and has corrected my math along the way. My parents, Remo and Francesca, my safety nets, whose support allowed me to return to work after my children were born. Alice and Lorenzo, my kids, who haven’t slowed me down; on the contrary, they’ve made me want to do more – and better.

COVID sucks, and 2020 (except for tonight) is a year most of us want to forget. But let’s remember this: the pandemic is proof of the importance — the life-or-death importance — of trusted information. The stakes of our getting things wrong have risen exponentially for the public we are serving. And yet — and yet — disinformation is everywhere – on our screens, on our phones, on our children’s phones. Our newsrooms have been bombarded by attempts to deceive: governments around the world have tried to undercount or underplay the severity of COVID. Companies have claimed medical breakthroughs that didn’t stand up. Leaders have touted dangerous treatments and rejected basic safety measures, like wearing masks.

You know things are bad when Queen Elizabeth II has to weigh in on the importance of high-quality news. Last month, she said, “As our world has changed dramatically, having trusted, reliable sources of information, particularly at a time when there are so many sources competing for our attention, is vital.”

I learned the importance of this trust from many in this (virtual) room. Among you: Mike Williams, who changed the course of my career at least three times and whose blue-eyed stare still makes me nervous 17 years on; Alix Freedman, who once asked me to seek comment from a Mafia boss and is now my conscience, confidante (and fashion consultant); Simon Robinson, my editor every day; the two Pauls in my life – Steiger and Ingrassia – who gave me opportunities I hope I didn’t squander. Above all, I’d like to thank my boss, Steve Adler, for the immeasurable faith he’s placed in me and for the North Star he provides us at Reuters every day.

But I want to end with a toast for the global Reuters newsroom of this extraordinary 2020: Here’s to you guys; you totally rock.

Thank you.

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