OLD Media Moves

What Stephen Brown meant to Politico Europe

April 22, 2021

Posted by Chris Roush

Stephen Brown

John Harris of Politico writes about Stephen Brown, the editor of Politico Europe who died suddenly last month at 57.

Harris writes, “I feel sure it was also part of what led Stephen to contemplate leaving a distinguished career as a correspondent around the globe for Reuters, actually approximating the Hemingwayesque fantasies harbored by many journalists, to be sitting in a job interview with me in the early spring of 2015. He had flown to Brussels from Berlin. I had flown from Washington, as part of the team helping launch POLITICO Europe. We were sitting in a dingy conference room at the Residence Palace, an old building that briefly served as home for our new publication.

“It was pretty easy to guess at our respective thought bubbles. Stephen was wondering whether these Americans marching noisily into Brussels (with the indispensable help of German joint venture partner, Axel Springer SE) could be trusted, and whether we had any real prospects for success. I was wondering whether Stephen, with the resume of a traditionalist, could be creative enough, open to innovation, to contribute to a new publication with a new sensibility.

“The interview went well. We wanted Stephen. And, to our lasting gain, he wanted to join us. In doing so, in coming out of the field and into newsroom management, he became part of the founding team of POLITICO Europe.

“Journalists of all persuasions like to think of themselves as on the side of the good guys. But, to put it mildly, lots of journalists are not such great guys. Stephen was. He was mild-mannered in demeanor, and balding, regular-guy unassuming in appearance. But spend even a little time with him and you realized his humor, and his erudition. He picked up foreign languages with the same ease that many journalists pick up lunch stains on their shirts.”

Read more here.

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