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Bernard Edinger, cool in his green eyeshade

It was something of an idiosyncrasy that Bernard Edinger, who died on Saturday, wore a green eyeshade in the newsroom of Paris bureau.  


Bernard wore his distinctive eyeshade when he worked the general news slot, and that made him look rather cool - literally and figuratively - as the fax machine churned out a stream of press releases from ministries, companies, and every kind of organisation hungry for press coverage. 


The slot was high pressure duty, but Bernard in his green eyeshade made it look like perambulation in a grass rich environment.


After he retired from Reuters, we would see each other at press events, here in Paris. Bernard was a member of Association des Journalistes de Defense (AJD), a French press club specialising in military matters, and for which he organised an annual, in-depth foreign press trip.


Bernard organised a memorable AJD press trip to China, visiting military bases and getting briefings from French officials and Chinese officers in Beijing. There was also a flight to one of the regions then recently hit by a severe earthquake.  


There were only four of us on that China trip, as those who had initially shown interest had later dropped out. That trip allowed this reporter, then filing for a specialist trade paper, to write up strong Chinese interest in the Airbus A400M military airlifter, covered by Western sanctions.  


The AJD asked Bernard to organise another China trip the following year, such was the impact of copy from that first journey. Bernard had written up the trip for the glossy French army magazine.


Strangely enough, the second press trip was restricted to only those who had French nationality, perhaps at the request of French diplomatic authorities who had regretted speaking too much about the interest of the People’s Liberation Army in Airbus military kit.


This British national could not go back, but the copy had already flowed bearing the Beijing dateline, thanks to Bernard.


AJD members posted notes of condolences on the private social platform on news of Bernard’s death, and the French defence press club sent a large floral tribute to his funeral, held on a sunny afternoon today, at the Montmartre cemetery, in the capital. 


Dozens of people attended the Jewish funeral, including family, friends, AJD members, and former Reuters colleagues, who came to pay tribute to Bernard. ■