Entertainment coverage and the Gleaner
By Howard McGowan
Back in 1974 when I joined the Gleaner, coverage of entertainment in that paper was dominated by what came from the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters with the odd snippet of local entertainment which by and large was dominated by theatre, art and classical music.
So much so, that when Bob Marley was shot in 1976 that item was a paragraph on page 3, while it was the lead story in the tabloid Daily News, the Gleaner’s competitor.
In fact, when Reggae Sunsplash began a few years later in the late 70s that festival for all it’s world wide impact and acclaim was not officially covered by the Gleaner until 1986.
Thanks to the arrival of Dr. Dudley Stokes who began his stint as editor roughly at that time and assigned me to cover the festival.
Fact is, it was under his predecessor, Hector Wynter who served as editor 1975 – 1985 who introduced two of the most popular entertainment columns done by me.
Merry Go Round on a Saturday and the Friday Top Ten Record chart. And slowly that paper began taking notice of the music of the day.
Prior to Dr Stokes’ arrival, I would arrange my vacation to coincide with the staging of Reggae Sunsplash, paid my way down to Montego Bay and into events while also taking care of my accommodation and meals all out of pocket.
The Gleaner, in turn, after using my articles would pay me a stipend not nearly enough to cover my expenses.
Ah, how far we have come.
I saw back then what the Gleaner did not see, the power and appeal of the music.
Truth is, the Gleaner was merely reflecting the society at that time as the monied class to which the paper catered did not care too much for the music of the masses.
In fact, if Bob Marley was not hailed internationally he would not be embraced by the upper echelons of the Jamaican society.
This, against the backdrop of the tremendous success Jamaica’s music was having primarily in the UK.
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- - qualified & experienced as an Editor in the arts, entertainment and sports, doing reviews and critiques as an active journalist. I worked as the first Entertainment Editor of the Jamaica Gleaner, and also served the Jamaica Observer for over 30 years combined. ... contact me by email here Read more About Howard McGowan
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