Archive for the ‘Bermuda’ Category

Ayo Johnson: Independent thinker

Ayo Johnson’s new media organisation Think Media and its “fearless independent” digital journal Politica may not quite be the status-shaking reporting revolution that this week’s pre-launch hype in the Bermuda Sun breathlessly suggested but Johnson is certainly to be applauded for at least firing the first shots.

The former Royal Gazette and Bermuda Sun reporter takes his profession very seriously and believes local media can and should play a much more influential role in holding governments and institutions accountable, and ensuring that the integrity of the organisations on which society depends is not compromised by narrow political and economic interests. In doing so, he says the media must also strive to meet and maintain high standards of integrity and ethics – areas where he claims Bermuda’s established media often fall short because of pressure from boards, politicians and advertisers, as well as lack of time and resources.

These are worthy but lofty goals and cynics will no doubt dismiss Johnson as naive and idealistic. But he is prepared to put his money where his mouth is. Think/Politica is not trying to be a daily news service like The Royal Gazette or Bernews, or another opinionated blog, but a platform for longer, in-depth articles and a serious, thought-provoking alternative voice on the local media landscape. And that’s to be welcomed.

Politica is not (yet) beholden to advertisers – readers pay to read beyond the first few paragraphs. Whether that’s a sustainable business model remains to be seen but hey, why not try something new? If nothing else it puts a value on journalism’s labour-intensive craft that is increasingly taken for granted in the internet age.

So what did readers get for their $3.00 today?

Johnson spent six months producing the 4,000-plus word piece, “Selling Bermuda”, on Premier Cannonier’s dubious handling of his relationship with American casino developer Nathan Landow. It meticulously detailed the background to the ‘Jetgate’ scandal – much of which was reported extensively in early 2013 by Johnson while he was working at the Gazette – and the Premier’s apparent dishonesty about his relationship with Landow.

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Earth matters

Posted: May 1, 2014 in Bermuda
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Earlier this year, the Bermuda National Trust invited students to make videos to celebrate Earth Day. They were asked to make 2-4 minute films on  ‘The Ocean Around Us’, ‘A Green Hero’ or ‘Sustainability and Local Food’. 

The environmental awareness and creativity shown by the young filmmakers was quite remarkable. I’ve posted Somersfield Academy student Meinhardt Rentrup’s winning video above but I urge you to visit the BNT website and spend a few minutes watching some of the other excellent entries. The best videos will also be shown on VSB 11 on May 8 at 10 am and 9 pm and May 11 at 8 pm.

My daughter Kayley didn’t win a prize but I’m still proud of her effort (see below) which focused on local food.

 

David L. White (1933-2013)

I was saddened to hear of the death of David L. White, former editor of The Royal Gazette, who passed away last night after a long illness.

While he and I did not always see eye to eye professionally during our time at Par-La-Ville Road, we enjoyed a far more cordial relationship after he retired and I came to respect his talents and generosity of spirit that weren’t always appreciated or valued in the chaotic and dysfunctional nature of a daily newsroom.

In fact, had it not been for David I would not have ended up in Bermuda at all, let alone call it my home for more than 30 years as it was he who interviewed me at the Berkeley Hotel in London in 1982 for a job on the sports desk of the Gazette.

It was the longest and most entertaining interview I’ve ever had, largely because by the time we’d finished, it was early evening and he insisted on buying dinner. As we sat down, he asked me what I would like to drink. Not knowing the protocol one should take with a prospective (and foreign) employer, I asked what he was having. “I’m having a f******g double vodka and tonic!” he declared loudly. “The single measures you Limeys serve are a joke!”

And so we proceeded to consume an absurd quantity of vodka and good wine. I have no idea what we talked about from then on but as I stood swaying on the Tube platform later that night waiting for the train home, I remember feeling confident that I would be leaving England for a tiny island in the Atlantic later that year.

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