Bob Reid '65 Travels the World for Journalism
International newsman approaching fifth decade in the profession
Living and working in Washington, D.C., is never boring with today's political climate. Then again, a 46-year career in journalism has taken Bob Reid '65 to some interesting places in interesting times. Reid retired from The Associated Press in 2014 after working out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Belgium, Austria, Belgium, the Philippines, Germany, and New York. War was raging in Afghanistan and Iraq during Reid's time there as a chief of bureau and news director, "trying to juggle three or four armed revolutions at once." Reid moved to Washington a little over four years ago where he is now senior managing editor for Stars and Stripes, an American military newspaper that has been in operation since 1861.
Question: Of all the places you have lived, do any stand out, good or bad?
Answer: Each one had its pluses and minuses. Berlin and Vienna offered a great enjoyment of living. There were lots of things to do in your off time and they were pretty engaging places to live overall. Professionally, I spent the better part of six years in Iraq during the war. It was an exciting and interesting time. Then I worked for 15 months in Afghanistan and it was much the same thing. All told, I've probably spent more time in the Middle East than anywhere else. East Asia was a completely different world when I was in the Philippines. Looking back, I can't think of any place I would refuse to go back to.
Question: How are you liking being stateside again?
Answer: I moved from Berlin to Washington, D.C., for the Stars and Stripes job. It's been a good change of pace. The job is a little more predictable and organized than the AP, which was a lot of pressure.
Question: Has the downturn in print media affected Stars and Stripes like other newspapers who are relying more and more on digital content?
Answer: We're pretty heavy into digital. You have gotta go with the winds. By the standards of a small newspaper, we are pretty aggressive. It's a 24-7 operation with different field offices around the world and someone to man the (news) desk while everyone else if asleep. So our website is pretty lively, and of course, we have the usual social media operation.
Question: How much longer do you want to be in the news business?
Answer: I'd like to do it for at least a couple more years. At least see the end of the current Trump administration and see how (the 2020 presidential election) goes. There is some traveling and other stuff I'd like to do while I'm still able.
Question: What are your memories of attending Christ School?
Answer: You've got to understand, I first showed up at Christ School when I was about 5 days old. I grew up on campus (Reid's father, Robert, was a Latin instructor who also taught other subjects when needed, and a registrar), so it's hard to separate the experiences. As far as the school was concerned, it taught you a certain organization and discipline. I don't know whether I would have gotten that in a public school. You learned when it was the right time to go to class and when to go to bed. And even though I tried to rebel against that in college, it was pretty well ingrained. Many of those traits came back when I began my working career. The life skills I learned stand out more than the academics.