Skip to main content


Fall of the Berlin Wall

I remember Ian Macdowall alone in the West Berlin bureau on Fasananstrasse early one morning, perhaps 7 am. He was swearing blue as he pounded the keys of the terminal. "Sit down and type what I dictate," he yelled as soon as he saw me. He was scowling and mumbling about a photographer at Brandenburg Gate.

The chief news editor had just filed a snap about the Wall opening at this historic site. And it was wrong. He was wrong. The photographer had mistaken a TV crane on the West Berlin side of the Wall for a construction crane, phoned in the newest gap in the Wall and left Macdowall with egg on his craggy face.

That same week he argued with Mark Wood to put a Berlin dateline on the story I filed from the opening of the Wall at Potsdammerplatz on Sunday morning, the 12th. Martin Nesirky had been assiduously filing stories from either East Berlin or West Berlin, but Macdowall prevailed on Wood to let that story run on a Berlin dateline for the first time in decades.

An amazing time with wonderful colleagues. ■