Stephen Brown, the editor in chief of POLITICO Europe and a former information correspondent who reported broadly from Europe and South America for Reuters for greater than a quarter-century, died Thursday in Brussels. He was 57.
Brown led POLITICO’s European information operations from January 1, 2019 and oversaw its sturdy enlargement to a workers of greater than 100 journalists in Brussels, London, Paris and Berlin, in addition to the launch this yr of a French-language Playbook publication, newsletters devoted to EU-China relations and transatlantic tech protection, and a brand new podcast on U.Ok. politics, Westminster Insider.
Brown’s loss of life, from a coronary heart assault, was introduced to the workers throughout an emergency videoconference by the corporate’s chief govt officer, Shéhérazade Semsar-de Boisséson. Talking by tears, she described him as a tireless and boundlessly enthusiastic collaborator all the time desperate to sort out their subsequent mission, and who was deeply dedicated to POLITICO’s journalism and to his household. She additionally expressed condolences on behalf of your complete firm.
Different colleagues on the decision described him as “the person on the middle” and “the beating coronary heart of the newsroom,” who was fiercely protecting of his editors and reporters, and a steadfast defender of their work. Additionally they described his eager skill to chop by the swirl of stories developments to identify the angle most price pursuing, typically saying curtly, “That’s the story, isn’t it?” Invariably, he’d already answered his personal query.
John Harris, POLITICO’s founding editor, who oversaw the launch of the European version, recalled Brown expressing eager curiosity in becoming a member of the mission early on.
“He had been deep inside a longtime establishment however I recall the primary encounter — he was very clear that he was prepared in his profession to strive one thing much less conventional and extra entrepreneurial,” Harris stated. “This grew to become much more clear as soon as he arrived and began working. He intuitively understood what makes POLITICO journalism particular — the fervour for our topics, the distinctive voice, the willingness to problem acquainted habits in methods to inform tales.”
With Brown steering the newsroom, POLITICO Europe, which is a three way partnership between POLITICO and German writer Axel Springer, achieved profitability in 2019, its fourth yr in enterprise. Revenues, subscriptions and readership have continued to develop even because the coronavirus pandemic hampered dwell journalism and occasions.
Rym Momtaz, POLITICO’s senior Paris correspondent, recalled Brown’s attentiveness and concern in regards to the chance that ladies journalists had been subjected to sexism by male politicians or officers. “He was the primary male boss to ever ask me these questions, to be the one to lift the potential for sexism, it makes an enormous distinction for girls,” she stated.
The intuition to guard his reporters stemmed from Brown’s agency convictions in regards to the mission of journalism — causes he would typically cite for why he beloved attending to work every morning: to carry energy to account; to reveal wrongdoing; to elucidate complicated points; to convey injustices into the highlight. In a occupation crowded with cynics, he was an idealist in regards to the energy of reporting and its capability for civic good.
Whereas Brown had served in newsroom management since becoming a member of POLITICO in 2015 as deputy managing editor, he spent most of his profession as a wide-ranging correspondent for Reuters. And although he eagerly embraced creative types of digital journalism lately, he retained a wire reporter’s instinctive suspicion of adjectives, and deep disdain for articles that ran too lengthy.
Brown was born in London and lived in England, Australia and Austria as a baby — early preparation for a future profession wherein he would dwell in not less than eight international locations and study to talk seven or extra languages. (Even he didn’t appear to know precisely what number of.) He attended St. Lawrence Faculty in Kent and studied trendy languages at St. John’s Faculty, College of Cambridge, the place he was lively in theater and a co-founder of the college’s Latin American Society.
After working for a yr on the Monetary Instances on its Cityline information service, Brown joined the Reuters graduate coaching scheme for journalists, and went on to assignments in Madrid, Lisbon and London, earlier than transferring to Buenos Aires in 1994, the place he later grew to become the bureau chief for southern Latin America.
The area remained his nice love, professionally and personally, having met his spouse, Laura, in Argentina.
Brown returned to Europe as bureau chief for the Nordic and Baltic area, based mostly in Stockholm, earlier than serving as chief correspondent in Rome and later Berlin. He left Reuters in 2015 to affix POLITICO, the place the brand new pan-European publication’s multi-national, multilingual newsroom would show an ideal house for the following part of his profession.
“I’ve all the time thought that what makes POLITICO work is our dedication to defend and vindicate timeless journalistic values, a dedication to accuracy, equity, and the general public curiosity, but in addition to creatively and ceaselessly adapt to a brand new media setting,” Harris, the founding editor, stated. “Stephen embodied that in addition to anybody at POLITICO on both aspect of the Atlantic.”
Harris stated that as an editor Brown had discovered a present for main the workers. “He knew that working a profitable newsroom is basically about understanding individuals with all their particular person strengths and weaknesses and bringing them collectively as a workforce,” Harris stated, including: “He was perceptive and empathetic always.”
Christoph Keese, the chief govt of hy, the Axel Springer Consulting Group, and a member of POLITICO Europe’s advisory board, recalled Brown as “wanting to construct bridges and get scoops.”
Matthew Kaminski, who preceded Brown as POLITICO’s high editor in Europe and employed him into the brand new enterprise, stated that Brown remained well-grounded in his roots, whilst his many postings and languages gave him a sophisticated perspective.
“As a lot as he was a Londoner, and an avid fan of rugby, he was a kind of uncommon individuals whom you’d genuinely describe as a real internationalist, a real European,” stated Kaminski, who’s now POLITICO’s editor in chief in america. “Stephen had a behavior of choosing up the languages of his varied postings with exceptional ease; you’d lose rely of what number of he spoke fluently, and then you definately heard him grill a job candidate in Swedish and notice you’d forgotten one.”
Paul Taylor, a former Reuters correspondent and now contributing columnist for POLITICO, who knew Brown for almost 20 years, stated Brown remained a reporter at coronary heart, keen to assist dwell weblog European Council summits or to attend a pacesetter’s information convention being carried out in any of the various languages that he spoke.
“He had a wry, self-deprecating humorousness and an attractive modesty that didn’t change when he grew to become editor in chief of POLITICO Europe,” Taylor stated. “He was additionally a fantastic listener. Even when he didn’t instantly heat to an thought, he’d typically comply with it up later.”
And whilst editor in chief, Brown continued to put in writing long-form articles on matters that exposed his love for the extra philosophical aspect of politics, together with a bit on patriotism, wherein he wrote: “Judging by the amount of jingoism in U.Ok. and U.S. politics particularly, it appears no one has realized that patriotic slogans and a warlike demeanor alone can’t cease a virus — not to mention remedy the financial, social, racial and cultural divisions which have surfaced so painfully in 2020.”
He additionally took an extended take a look at the obvious deterioration of diplomacy within the age of smartphones and social media.
Paul Dallison, POLITICO’s slot information editor and writer of the satirical Declassified column, described Brown as an editor in chief who would summon coworkers to his workplace not for a reprimand however to share amusing or take heed to a track, and who may put a colleague comfortable with a cheeky expletive.
Exterior the workplace, he beloved Nick Cave, biking, rugby and water sports activities. He was a rower in his youth and, as an excellent swimmer who had labored a number of summer season seasons as a lifeguard, he prided himself in staying match regardless of the stresses of the information enterprise.
Brown, who lived close to Brussels, is survived by his spouse, Laura, and kids, Violetta and Theo; his dad and mom, Sally and Allan; brother, Martin; sisters, Justine and Maxine; nieces, Hannah and Katie; and nephews, Oliver, Sam and Jack.
Whilst he confirmed little mercy towards expendable adjectives and long-winded prose, Brown beloved nothing greater than a narrative with little bit of zing, and was fast to share his enthusiasm even when it interrupted dinner.
“That lede made me spit out my Malbec — sensible,” he texted a reporter lately. “Studying the remainder now.”
Illustration by Dakota Randall for POLITICO.