Taking soccer with kids from the favelas in my latest missive from Brazil for The Royal Gazette

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The story of how São Paulo played a key role in the development football in Brazil – thanks to the British.

My World Cup diary in The Royal Gazette continues with an interview with São Paulo-based Bermudian Gino Smith.

chris-toby2For us football fans, it’s been like waiting for Christmas but the FIFA World Cup is finally here with hosts Brazil kicking off against Croatia in Sao Paulo today.

I’ll be flying to Brazil next week with my son Toby for what promises to be the football trip of a lifetime. We’ll be seeing six games, including England’s games against Uruguay and Costa Rica and two quarter-finals. During the trip I’ll be contributing a World Cup Diary to The Royal Gazette – you can read my first column here.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, Argentina will beat Brazil in the final.

 

Truth-and-lies

Given all the fuss over Jetgate, Wetgate, Gardengate or whatever Gate is in vogue this week, I think our politicians need some help. Maybe they should start their own 12-step programme, although being the self-important, self-serving, egotists that most of them are, I imagine it would probably go something like this …

  1. We admitted we were powerless over the media – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that no power greater than Ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Ourselves.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of other people.
  5. Admitted to the Party, to the media, to the voters, and to any other dumb human being who will listen, the exact nature of our rights.
  6. Were entirely ready to have Spin Doctors remove any apparent defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked them to cover up our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons who had slighted us, and became willing to settle scores with them all.
  9. Made direct verbal attacks on such people wherever possible, except when there was no chance of media coverage.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly lied about it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Ourselves, praying only for the knowledge needed to win the next election and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having achieved spiritual and moral bankruptcy and a complete loss of trust and credibility as the result of these steps, we still insisted on carrying this message to the voters and to impose these principles in all their affairs.

(With apologies to 12-step recovery programmes everywhere. You can find the real powerful stuff here.)

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
Tags: , , ,

 

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.