Charles leaving Reuters’ DC bureau

Deborah Charles

Deborah Charles, a general assignment reporter for Reuters in its Washington bureau, announced Wednesday that she was leaving after 24 years with the wire service.

Charles wrote to her colleagues:

Yes, it’s yet another goodbye letter. I will try to keep it short but after nearly 24 years at Reuters I didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye and thank you to all the wonderful people I’ve met and worked with around the world.

When I first walked into a Reuters newsroom in Buenos Aires in 1989, I had no idea I would get a job with the news agency. I definitely didn’t think I would end up traveling the world, would cover five Olympics and be posted in countries across four different continents.

As many of my esteemed colleagues before me have said, the experiences I have had thanks to Reuters have been life-altering. Some of the highlights include being in Rangoon for Aung San Suu Kyi’s first public appearance and interviews following her initial release from house arrest; covering fighting in Kosovo before most of the world knew about it and learning how to stay safe and sane in a war zone from one of the best – Kurt Schork. Those were the days that meant so much to me as a journalist – I knew if I wasn’t there to tell the story perhaps no one in the world would ever know about the fighting,  the refugees, the harsh treatment of the people in Kosovo.

I’ve also been lucky enough to travel with and cover three different U.S. presidents and even had President George W. Bush make a big deal of signing a cast I got on my arm after falling while running from the motorcade at the genocide memorial in Rwanda. He even made a couple African leaders sign it too.

The opportunity to write a four story, multi-media package “Living with cancer” is perhaps the most lasting memory I have from my Reuters career. Paul Holmes encouraged me to turn the initial idea of writing one story into a package of first-person stories, which were at first hard to write but then almost cathartic as I went through the end of my chemo treatment and tried to return to normal. With the photo essay by Jim Bourg and the idea of the talented dot-com team to add video clips and links of key breast cancer websites, it was a complete, informative package that landed on numerous cancer websites. I had more positive feedback from that package than anything else I worked on throughout my career.

It’s been a great ride but now time to move on to something totally different. Thanks so much to my Reuters colleagues around the world for your friendship and support over the years.