Barbados mourns death of veteran journalist Harold Hoyte

Barbados mourns death of veteran journalist Harold Hoyte

Monday, May 13, 2019

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Barbados is mourning the passing yesterday of veteran journalist Harold Hoyte, one of the founders of the Nation Publishing company.

Hoyte, who was ailing for a long time, was 78 years old. He was in a Florida hospital after suffering an aneurysm last December.

He retired in December 2006 and was editor emeritus of the Nation newspaper up until the time of his death. He had a long and distinguished career in journalism, having started his profession as a copywriter at the Barbados Advocate in 1959.

He later moved to Canada where he worked for the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Telegram and was editor of the Contrast.

On his return to Barbados, Hoyte along with several other colleagues founded the Nation newspaper in 1973 where he served as editor-in-chief for three decades.

In recognition of his outstanding career, the Government rewarded Hoyte with the Gold Crown of Merit in 2003 and in 2005 he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by The University of the West Indies.

Yesterday, the Barbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers (BARJAM) said his death has left a gaping hole in the media fraternity.

“He was a colossus in the news information profession as a founder of the Nation Publishing Company Ltd, a mentor and coach to an array of journalists in this country,” said BARJAM President Emmanuel Joseph. “His intellectual acumen and fearlessness as a professional media Goliath will remain etched in my mind and I have no doubt in the minds of us all.”

Earlier this month, Nation House on Fontabelle was renamed the Harold Hoyte and Fred Gollop Media Complex in honour of two of the founding members of the Nation newspaper.

Yesterday, Barbados Broadcasting Authority Chair Dr Allyson Leacock described Hoyte as the archetypal journalist.

“He was curious about everything; astute in his observations as evidenced in his writings; amiable and affable in dealing with people, with the most infectious laugh that brought a smile to the most wooden of faces,” Leacock said in a tribute.

“His advice to young journalists remains as relevant today as it was when he gave it: 'If you do not bring a sense of social conscience to the job, then you're not going to carry it out in the way that you should, because you will not be able to appreciate the role that the media has to play',” Leacock stated.

She said that the best tribute that could be paid to Hoyte, who often shared his political analysis in the broadcast media during elections, was to “raise the bar in the quality of our local journalism”, adding that his death is a timely reminder of what world class journalism looks like.

“It behoves us all to revisit the tenets of the Fourth Estate and honour this noble profession. Let us all place less emphasis on being a star and more on the substance of the story; less on fake news and more on facts; less on personality and more on principle. Harold Hoyte was an exemplar for the media profession. We honour his work and salute his legacy,” Leacock said.

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