Tag Archives: Derby

A tribute to a brave Guyanese newspaper editor

John Mair, television producer and associate senior lecturer in journalism at Coventry University, shares his thoughts on David De Caires, the Guyanese newspaper editor who died last November. A memorial service was held in the UK on Friday.

David De Caires was a Great Guyanese. His death – last November 1 – robbed Guyana of a brave and noble editor and publisher. The Stabroek News lit the beacon of press freedom, since followed by the likes of the Kaieteur News.

Last Friday in London, his second home, his life was celebrated by his family and the great and good of the UK diaspora in a memorial service. The group that the late President Hoyte once disparingly called ‘The Putagee Mafia’ were out in force.

An overcast London winter’s day. The spiritual headquarters of the Jesuits in Britain, the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Farm Street, Mayfair. This is the home of High Catholicism where sinners come to repent. Decaires, despite his Catholic education at the British Catholic Public School Stonyhurst, later became an agnostic. One hundred plus were gathered to celebrate his life and achievements and to pray for his soul.

The faces in the congregation were predominantly white. The Decaires family, including widow Doreen, daughter Isabel and her partner Michael Atherton the former England Cricket captain. It was a gathering redolent of a bygone age in what was known as ‘BG’. Two former British High Commissioners-Edward Glover and Stephen Hiscocks, plus Guyana’s long-serving (and soon retiring?) High Commissioner to London Laleshwar Singh among the congregration. Professor Clem Seecharan there too, to pay tribute to a fellow restless mind, the Rev Ivelaw Bowman, Canon of Southward Cathedral, to salute a fellow Guyanese.

The tributes paid were warm. Atherton in his deep Lancashire burr, Nick King in pukka English: an old friend telling tales out of Stonyhurst about the ‘Dec’s’ life-long love affair with the turf and betting. It cost him dearly. As a teenager, he refused ┬áto apologise to a Bishop for hurrying a cricket innings so that he could hear the result of the Epsom Derby. He lost his first eleven cricket place at Stonyhurst as a result. He took up tennis instead.

That boy of principle became the man of principle three decades later when it came to setting up the Stabroek News and battling the PNC and later the PPP governments over press freedom.

David was a resolute life time fighter for that, defending it against attacks whichever direction they came from. Some think his final battle two years ago with the Jagdeo regime over the withdrawal of ads for the paper may have weakened his already damaged heart and led to his final demise.

David would have enjoyed his memorial service. Warm words, Miles Davis reverberating through the huge church, friends old and new meeting and ‘gaffing’ as they say in Guyana plus a dash of high Catholicism. Not a bad epitaph or memorial to have for a life of such great significance for Guyana.

Northcliffe titles work together for East Midlands business site

Northcliffe Media has launched its East Midlands regional business site, which sees five of its titles working together to supply content.

The Evening Telegraph in Derby, Leicester Mercury, Lincolnshire Echo, Nottingham Evening Post and The Sentinel in Stoke will provide regional business news to thisisbusiness-eastmidlands.co.uk, which will also cover international business stories.

Journalism.co.uk first broke the news of the planned Northcliffe business sites in February, and the launch of the East Midlands site follows that of westbusiness.co.uk, a business site for the West Country area, covering Gloucestershire, Bristol and Bath.

The new site aims to promote the business capabilities and achievements of the East Midlands area.

“Allying thisisbusiness to the pages of the daily titles in the region will create a new springboard for everyone who has the ambition of the East Midlands at heart.” said Alex Leys, Northcliffe Midlands managing director.

A third business site is expected to be launched in the South East later this year.

Facebook useful to local news? If it opened up the networks

The Guardian may be adopting strategies to make itself more Facebook-friendly but the lack of truly local geographical networks on the social networking site makes it more difficult for smaller papers to make great use of it.

The UK currently has 17 regional networks that users can become part of, here they are:

facebook grab

The regional networks, which unsurprisingly centre on larger towns and cities, offer reporters a great ‘in’ to the online community on their patch. A reporter working for the Manchester Evening News, for instance, or one of its smaller titles in the Greater Manchester area is at a distinct advantage over a reporter working on a paper in a smaller town:

facebook grab

Just a brief, cursory glance at the Manchester group throws up leads for several potential stories amongst its 500,000 plus members. The ‘See what’s popular’ feature and the discussion board make it a simple place to seed stories as well as one in which to ask for information and pick up leads. But where would you go if you lived in Burton on Trent?

Burton is a town in Staffordshire that – if you’ve defining it in terms of Facebook regions – is slap bang between Nottingham and West Midlands. Not much use then if you’re a reporter on the Burton Mail.

Burton has 103 groups related to it on Facebook – a lot of ground to cover for any hack – but like many other towns across the UK it has no network and Facebook doesn’t allow users to establish there own networks. Users have to make that request to the site:

facebook grab

If Facebook gave it’s users the ability to create these networks themselves it would solve a lot of headaches, but don’t expect that to happen in a hurry. So come on reporters on papers in Burton, Derby, Reading, Cardiff, Norwich and the like. Get a campaign going to get your town recognised as a network on Facebook. It can make the day job a hell of a lot simpler.