Reginald Dale, a journalist, commentator, scholar, as well as senior fellow and director of the Transatlantic Media Network at the Atlantic Council, passed away on September 13, 2018. He was 78.
Dale spent the majority of his career as a journalist, working as an international economics, financial, and foreign affairs reporter and editor. He was a syndicated columnist for the International Herald Tribune and was the Brussels and Washington bureau chief for the Financial Times. He founded the magazine European Affairs in Washington and was a president of the European Journalists’ Organization in Brussels.
At the Atlantic Council, Dale was the director of the Transatlantic Media Network, which gave annual fellowships for European journalists to come visit and work in the United States. The program, which began at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) before moving to the Atlantic Council in 2017, was Dale’s “brainchild,” according to Atlantic Council President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Kempe. The program, Kempe said, brought “young European journalists to the States to increase their knowledge of America and Americans, to help build a stronger foundation for the transatlantic relationship through mutual understanding.”
Dale was “prescient,” Atlantic Council Executive Vice President Damon Wilson said, for sending these journalists on study tours to diverse places—fellows have visited forty-three states across the United States—to help them “gain a much better appreciation for the dynamics of the United States [and get] them outside the Beltway and off the two coasts.”
“With the election of Donald Trump, this fellowship proved to be a critical tool in the Atlantic Council toolkit,” Wilson said. “Thanks to the support of the Wallenberg Foundation, Reggie and the Council were able to help ensure better transatlantic understanding at a time of growing misunderstanding and tensions. The work these extraordinary journalists do each day will be a living legacy to Reggie’s own life and work.”
Andrew Marshall, the Atlantic Council’s Vice President of Communications, noted “Reggie had written for some of the best newspapers in the world, and he remained a journalist at heart, writing regularly for the Atlantic Council’s blog.” His background allowed him to connect with the journalists who came through the program, to understand their questions, and provide answers which they could relate to. “He believed strongly in the mission of bringing European journalists to America and sending them around the country, because he knew what an impact that had—helping inform their journalism and improve their understanding of the United States,” he added.
Throughout his life, Dale was a committed transatlanticist, who sought to improve understanding between allies on both sides of the Atlantic.
“His work meant a lot to many Swedish journalists,” said Anna Wieslander, the Director of the Atlantic Council’s Northern Europe Office based in Stockholm. Through Dale’s programs, Wieslander explained, Swedish journalists “were able to learn about and report from America in a way that otherwise would not have been possible. In these times of an increasing drift across the Atlantic, that work was more important than ever.”
Dale was “a passionate advocate for transatlantic understanding, top quality journalism, and renewed efforts to maintain the strongest possible links between the United States and the United Kingdom,” recalled Sir Peter Westmacott, an Atlantic Council distinguished ambassadorial fellow and former British ambassador to the United States, adding “he will be sorely missed.”
Since 2008, the Transatlantic Media Network has had a broad impact, awarding fellowships to sixty journalists from nineteen European countries.
Dale “believed strongly that the journalists who came through this program would act as force-multipliers, amplifying to their constituents back home a less biased and more accurate view of America and Americans based on their personal experience in the United States,” said Denise Forsthuber, assistant director of the Council’s Future Europe Initiative. Forsthuber, who has worked closely with Dale on the Transatlantic Media Network since 2014, first at CSIS then at the Council, added Dale “touched the lives of countless journalists across the US and Europe and his work will continue to impact people for generations.”
Caroline Wernecke, former program manager for the Transatlantic Media Network at CSIS, said Dale was “much more than a boss—he was also mentor and a friend,” with a great passion for “foster[ing] better inter-understanding between Americans and Europeans.” Wernecke added that Dale “knew more about the history of the world than anyone I’d ever met” and believed “that in general we should all be constantly opening ourselves to new ideas, places, and people.”
Leo Mirani, news editor for The Economist and a 2018 Transatlantic Media Fellow, said Dale’s program “had a profound effect on me and who I am as a person, and no doubt it did the same for dozens of other men and women. I think perhaps this is his great legacy: building links and greater understanding between Europeans and Americans, improving journalism, and changing the lives of so many people. It is no small thing.”
We mourn the loss of a colleague, mentor, and friend who has forever changed many lives.
David A. Wemer is assistant director, editorial at the Atlantic Council. You can follow him on Twitter @DavidAWemer.