Coyote reaches the end of the road
Thursday 16 August 2012
The Coyote editing system, a treasured Reuters institution, ends three decades of service on Friday when it is formally retired. Its successor, Lynx, has been operating for more than a year, although Coyote is never far away from some correspondents.
As you walk through the newsroom it is easy to spot those journalists with Coyote memories – they have echoed its colour scheme of yellow text on blue background on their Lynx systems, David Cutler of the Editorial Reference Unit writes.
Peter Mosley (Reuters 1957-1992) first encountered Coyote System 55 in 1983 when he was Asia news editor. He joined the technical team to radically modify the existing clunky messaging system.
Once the Hong Kong World Desk system was up and running, Mosley was posted back to London in 1984 to lead a much bigger project to introduce a more advanced System 55 in London. System 77 followed some time later.
Alan Biggs joined the team from the World Desk and took charge of training the journalists. Biggs died on 31 July 2011. His Quick Guide to Using a Coyote remained available for use for the life of the system.
Coyote was generally a reliable beast and by the time veteran journalist Paul Smurthwaite left in 1999 “most of the Coyote’s foibles had been ironed out,” he said. The occasions on which it let editors down at crucial moments – “losing the news schedule 10 seconds before transmission or, worse still, losing a carefully crafted 1,000-word leadall when you were on the penultimate graf” – were rare indeed.
And so we say good-bye and, looking forward, we hope that Lynx will fully live up to its successful start. ■