Roger Jeal obituary | Reuters
My friend Roger Jeal, who died of cancer at 72, was a business journalist who worked for Reuters for 40 years, including in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Hong Kong. Later in his career, he taught his trade to young journalists.
Roger was born in Bournemouth to Leslie Jeal, an automotive sprayer, and Evelyn (née Welland), a saleswoman. In 1967 he was awarded a scholarship to St Catherine’s College, Oxford from Bournemouth School to study chemistry.
In his first year he agonized over his choice of subject, and as the Vietnam War progressed and the 1968 “events»Held in Paris, he decided to switch to philosophy, politics and economics.
Graduating in 1971, he joined the civil service but became dissatisfied with his work, which he described as “reporting on the negotiations in Brussels on the price of pork”. So he joined Reuters as a trainee economic journalist and found his job.
After his induction in London in 1973, Roger was asked: “How is your French?” », And after telling them he had O levels in French and German, he was informed that he would start in Paris the following Monday. He appreciated his work there and improved his French, and on his return he was posted to Frankfurt, then in 1975 to Hong Kong, where his claim to fame transmitted the telex announcing to the world: “Mao Tse Tung is dead”.
He remained a life member of the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club and often returned to the territory for vacations.
Other assignments followed, notably in 1978 in Amsterdam, where he became office manager and where he insisted that everyone in the office speak Dutch, to help him learn the language. He left in 1982 to run reporting offices in London, building a reputation as a coach and mentor, and in 2000 this teaching work led him to join the Reuters Foundation, with which he trained and taught young journalists until 2013.
He was also a Visiting Lecturer in Journalism at City University of London in 2011, retiring from Reuters in 2013 and becoming a City of London Free Man through his election to the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers in 2016.
Kind and generous with his time, Roger has always been genuinely interested in people of different cultures and origins.
In 1983, he married Janet Ellingham. They were active godparents and surrogate grandparents to many children of relatives and friends around the world.
Janet survives him.