Editorial

Mrs Dorraine Samuels was adopted by her nation

Thursday, March 28, 2019

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The outpouring of clearly deep and heartfelt tributes to outstanding broadcaster Mrs Dorraine Samuels-Binger, who succumbed to cancer on Tuesday, age 59, is itself the truest testimony of how a media personality can come to be adopted by her nation.

The large majority of Jamaicans would never have met her personally, but they feel like they knew her almost akin to a close neighbour, a constant companion, and even a friend who was only a radio dial away.

Every now and again comes these larger-than-life personalities in media — like an Ian Boyne, Wilmot Perkins and John Maxwell — whose work captivates their listeners, viewers and readers. It is much too often only in death that the full measure of their contribution is completely unveiled.

For this reason we in this space are gratified by the fact that Mrs Samuels was honoured by the Government of Jamaica, which recognised her outstanding contribution to broadcasting by awarding her the Officer of the Order of Distinction (OD).

We are also proud that the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) saluted her as one of five iconic trailblazers in their roles as news anchors, along with Mr Tony Patel, Ms Pat Lazarus, Ms Fae Ellington, and Ms Ruth Ho Shing in 2012.

At the time, the PAJ aptly noted that Mrs Samuels and the other presenters were highly valued by students of journalism for “the clarity of diction, authority of presentation and voices that are easy on the ear”.

It could be credibly argued that Mrs Dorraine Samuels was born for radio and television. The St Hugh's High School past student might not even have been contemplating a career in media when she entered the Miss Jamaica Pageant in 1980, placing fifth, but receiving training of a sort to engage the crowds.

The contestants were required to record an introduction for playback at the coronation show. The recording took place at RJR, the station at which Samuels would grace the air for most of her career, we are told by the Jamaica Observer's Richard Johnson.

“She remembered during the taping, broadcaster Don Topping kept asking her to repeat her lines and she became flustered, wondering if she was not pronouncing a word correctly; in fact, he was impressed with her delivery,” Johnson wrote in yesterday's edition.

But the man who would get the credit for inveigling her into media was the late Neville Willoughby who was said to be taken with her voice and encouraged her until she agreed to pursue broadcasting in 1980.

Other talents came to the fore, including singing and playing several musical instruments including the piano, guitar and violinist. She combined a great voice with an ability to read well, which made her entry to television news reading inevitable in 2004.

But Mrs Samuels will mostly likely be remembered as part of the duo – the Nutty Buddies – with the incomparable Alan Magnus, he being the “Mad- Nut” and she the “Do-Nut” on the highly entertaining Good Morning Jamaica show on RJR.

In the controversial world of media, she walked gracefully between the raindrops and helped many Jamaicans quietly from a generous heart — a heart that was stilled on Tuesday by cancer of the pancreas, but one which will be treasured always by her legion of fans.


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