Gazette editor dismissed

Posted: July 8, 2013 in Bermuda, media

The situation at The Royal Gazette gets curiouser and curiouser. Following my recent post about the increasing board interference in editorial matters, the paper today dismissed Acting Editor Jeremy Deacon and appointed former Mid-Ocean News editor Tim Hodgson as Consulting Editor. The Gazette said Mr. Hodgson’s consultancy period will last until the directors appoint a new full-time editor. Mr Hodgson was made redundant by the company when the Mid-Ocean News was closed in 2009.

The news, which came as a shock to Gazette staffers, was announced to employees in a letter from CEO Jonathan Howes that angered many as it made no mention of Mr. Deacon. A subsequent release and story on the Gazette website made a brief reference to Mr. Deacon thanking him “for his commitment and support in recent months”.

One staffer’s reaction was typical: “He (Mr. Deacon) was treated appallingly, in a thoroughly ruthless manner. They sacked him, cut him off completely.”

Mr. Deacon took over as Acting Editor under a six-month contract following the resignation of Bill Zuill last year. Whether the Gazette did not offer Mr. Deacon a new contract or – as some sources speculate – Mr. Deacon refused to sign it because of what he felt were unacceptable terms and conditions, is not clear.

In an email response to questions by Breezeblog about why Mr. Deacon was dismissed, Mr. Howes said: “We found a qualified Bermudian to fulfill the role. Mr. Deacon’s employment with the Royal Gazette did not end as a result of disagreements over editorial control.”

He also said: “We treat all employment matters as confidential. I have no further comment.”

He did not respond to further questions about why Mr. Hodgson’s role is a temporary appointment if he is considered a Bermudian qualified for the position (Mr. Deacon has Bermudian status).

Mr. Deacon and Mr. Hodgson declined to comment at this time.

It remains to be seen how all this will pan out but the perception in the industry is that having replaced an Acting Editor with a Consulting Editor and still, according to the masthead, employing an Acting Deputy Editor and Acting Business Editor, the company resembles a rudderless ship in desperate need of leadership and direction.

  1. PS says:

    I hear he was fired for not towing the Board’s line. Imagine that!

  2. PS says:

    Wait a second, “We found a qualified Bermudian to fill the role”. But they have hired Tim as a temporary consultant until they find a full time editor.

    They didn’t find a Bermudian to fulfill the role, they found someone fill in while they fired Jeremy. They are full of BS. Something doesn’t smell right.

  3. Eugene Rayner says:

    I think that it is the Board we need to have a look at – possible reshuffle at next AGM?

  4. Unfortunately, neither the former editor, the acting editor, nor the new consulting editor, have or will receive the latitude they need to provide a decent newspaper. Fortunately, or unfortunately for Bermuda, there is no competition.

  5. Tony Brannon says:

    Once upon a time there was David (new Internet media) and Goliath (old media) …..David said to Goliath, “You should buy me I am the future”. Goliath said “You’re not worth what you’re asking. That is a fad”…… MMMMM some of these Goliaths apparently haven’t read GOOGLED – The End of the World As We Know It by Ken Auletta:

    • MstJane says:

      Good point Tony – FYI Google is a social enterprise and profitable – the old guard are missing this business opportunity too. Reminder: We are in the 21st century!

  6. Another fishy tale on the rock

  7. N Ward says:

    Maybe they should find a qualified Bermudian to be CEO?

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