Twenty years ago, on October 19, 1989, I found myself in East Berlin reporting on a crisis that was to lead (though very few experts predicted it at the time) to the fall of the Berlin Wall only three weeks later. I have been asked many times since then if this was the ”best” story I’ve ever covered, in the dual sense of “biggest” and “most enjoyable”. I have usually answered Yes in the first sense of the question, but No in the second sense.
For the truth is that it wasn’t an enjoyable experience at all. From early morning to late at night, I spent the day attached to a clunky word processor in a grim, East German government-supervised press centre in Mohrenstrasse, very close to the Wall. There I churned out thousands upon thousands of words about the accelerating disintegration of the regime for my pitilessly news-driven employers, the Reuters news agency. Read more