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Bermuda Flag

Bermuda News Media

One daily newspaper, cable, magazines, media, radio, television

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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online

2019. March 12. Members of the media have been asked to tell the Government about how they can help highlight its work. The Cabinet Office issued a request for information as it sought “new avenues” for sharing news with the public. A notice published on the Government of Bermuda’s website said its Department of Communications wanted creative ideas on how policies, initiatives and statements can be highlighted. It said the RFI aimed to gather information from interested parties about the market to help determine “future purchasing options or requirements”. The notice explained: “The Department of Communications is looking to work with local media outlets to create new avenues to share news and information with the public. The department wants to hear creative and diverse suggestions on how your organisation can help us to reach your audiences. The objective of this request for information is to get the right information to the right people at the right time. The department will determine which mix of opportunities will be used for each message or campaign based on the communications requirements and the options provided by media outlets.” Organisations were asked: “What services can your company provide that will highlight ministerial statements that are read in the House of Assembly on Fridays? What services can your company provide that will highlight new government policies? What services can your company provide that will showcase new and existing initiatives? How can you work with the Department of Communications to create new programmes to highlight the Government’s messages? What social-media opportunities and skills exist in your company that will help to connect the Government’s programmes and messages with your audiences?” The RFI, which can be viewed on the procurement notice page of the government website, was issued on March 1 with a deadline of March 29. A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said yesterday the communications department was “looking at new ways to partner with local media outlets”. She said target audiences would also be considered when decisions were made about which “mix of opportunities” was needed for each message. The RFI came after the Department of Workforce Development confirmed this year it abandoned plans to hire a PR firm to spread its message. Businesses were asked to submit tenders last October for a “public education and awareness campaign” designed to generate a better image for the service. Targets for the scheme included roadshows, career fairs and “at least one positive story” a week in news outlets and social media. The request for quotations said the department wanted to “demonstrate to the community that the department was making positive steps to ensure people were employed, trained and certified”. A government spokeswoman said in January that the department had decided not to go ahead with the contract and would instead “look to utilize internal resources to promote” its work.

Chief source and originator of daily local news and world affairs

The Royal Gazette

Both in print (offline) and online

The Royal Gazette

Costs $1.50 per issue news-stand or 99 cents per issue home delivery. 2 Par-la-Ville Road, Hamilton HM-02, Bermuda. Mailing address: PO Box HM1025, Hamilton HMDX, Bermuda. Phone: 441-295-5881. Royal Gazette Editorial Fax: 441-292-2498. With a full-content electronic Edition. Island's only fully staffed newspaper with working journalists, photographers and more. It is Bermuda's only media where, in strict accordance with international media regulations, journalists who write the articles are mentioned by name to identify them as the originators of the articles published - see Contact Us by name, role, telephone number and email in http://www.royalgazette.com/section/?template=18. It complies internationally with every local and international definition of a newspaper and news source. It is Internationally praised and respected. Founded in 1828, it is Bermuda's only daily newspaper, publishing every day except Sunday and public holidays and complies in every respect with Bermuda's Printed Publications Act 1971.

It started publishing an Internet edition in 1997 and upgrades its comprehensive website regularly. It is owned by The Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd., which in addition to owning the Island's leading media group, also owns Bermuda Press Ltd., the leading commercial printer in Bermuda, office supplies companies and real estate.
Letters to the Editor: letters@royalgazette.bm
Local news: news@royalgazette.bm
News Desk: rgnewsdesk@royalgazette.bm
Business: business@royalgazette.bm
Sport: sport@royalgazette.bm
Lifestyle/Calendar: lifestyle@royalgazette.bm
For more information about contacting different Royal Gazette departments or individual members of staff, see Contact Us.

Because they are fully independent of the Bermuda Government, Royal Gazette reporters have in the past been verbally attacked and belittled by politicians at press conferences and public events. It is the only developed country in the free world where government hostility towards the free press goes unchallenged.

With daily circulation of more than 16,000 copies, the newspaper reaches more than 90 percent of the adult market. It aims to cover the whole community fairly and accurately ands to act as an independent voice. It is not affiliated with any political party. Each day, it produces the following sections: Local news, Overseas news, Sport, Business, Lifestyle and Opinion. In addition, the newspaper produces weekly sections on Body and Soul (Tuesday), Personal Technology and Shipping (Wednesday) Youth (Thursday), Personal Finance, Religion and Weekender (Saturday). It also publishes two magazines: RG Magazine, a general interest colour printed supplement, and Bottom Line, a business print magazine. These award-winning magazines come out in alternative months through the year.  

Bottom Line business magazine

History of print media in order of date of first publication

Newspaper First Editor Dates operated
Bermuda Gazette J. Stockdale 1784-1831+
Royal Gazette (Weekly Gazette) Edmund Ward 1810-1816
The Gleaner Edmund Ward 1812-1813
Ladies Library C. R. Beach 1817-1818
The Bermudian Alex Holmes 1819-1823
The Royal Gazette D. R. & D. M. Lee 1828-present, in print and online. Island's chief source and originator of Bermuda news
The Bermudian  Benjamin Jenkins 1834-1878
Bermuda Herald William Martin 1844-1857
The Record Fisher & Dover 1849-1850
Advertiser Samuel Nelmes, Jr 1851-1854
Bermuda Mirror George A. Lee 1861-1872?
Bermuda Advocate W. J. S. Scobell 1863-1864?
Bermuda Chronicle W. J. S. Scobell. Another editor, briefly, was the English artist Edward K. James 1865-1871
Colonist & Daily News Samuel S. Toddings, founder, then Charles Brady 1866-1920
Bermuda Times & Advocate Sam Parker, Jr. & Sons 1871-1883
Spirit of the Times George E. Lee 1872?
New Era or Home Journal A. L. Spedon (Editor and owner from 1881 to 1884, later owned from 1901 to 1905 by Rev. Charles Monk), weekly 1881-1905
Home & People's Journal John J. Parker 1882-1883
Bermuda Times or People's Journal John J. Parker & Sam Parker, Jr 1883-1890?
The People's Journal John J. Parker 1884-1902?
Bermuda Advertiser J. D and F. R. Bell 1894-1900?
Mid Ocean (later, Mid Ocean News) Samuel S Toddings, founder and editor, then W. L. Toddings & W. K. Morrison 1899-1900, then see Bermuda Mid Ocean News below
Bermuda Recorder  J. Bushell 1899-1900
New Era (Rev. Monk bought out Mr Spedon's version of 1881-1884). Rev. Charles V. Monk 1901-1905
Knight Errant M. Sheldon-Williams 1904-1906
Mid Ocean News Seaward S. Toddings

 

1911 - October 2009. Bought in 1960s by the Royal Gazette. Was a weekly (Friday) and sister newspaper of daily The Royal Gazette.
The Recorder Rev. C. A. Stewart 1925-1975. Bought by Sir John Swan in the early 1970s for 2 years. Then Ira Philip bought it, found it unprofitable and ended it
The Echo   1928-1934
The Islander Margaret R. Seon 1929?
Bermudian Magazine   From February 15, 1930 to present date, in print and online
Bermuda High School Chronicle   Published from 1933 to 1948.
Bermuda Beacon (The) Military monthly, published for the US Army's Fort Bell and Kindley Field by the US Army Engineers. Initially a safety magazine, later on other topics too, it was created for the-then US Army Air Force (predecessor of the USAF) air base personnel in Bermuda, the idea of Benjamin Schwartz (Bermuda Base Contractors) and Loring Cox (Mail and Records section, USED.). It had some nice stories and original graphics during that period. It continued publication until April 1943, concluding with the end of major work on the Air Base, and the termination of the original construction contract.  The publication was limited to a 700 copy print run.   1941, August, through April 1943
Bermuda Historical Quarterlies Volumes 1-38, each with 4 editions. Out of print, some available from Bermuda Historical Society. All can be seen in Reference Library, Bermuda National Library, Hamilton. Quarterly, 1944 to 1981, printed. . 
The Skyliner Military weekly, published in Bermuda for the USAF's Kindley Air Force Base (KAFB) by the KAFB Information Division 1955-1972
Tide-ings US Navy newspaper that covered the US naval bases in Bermuda 1955-1995. Copies were always sent to the US Consulate General
Fame June Augustus, mostly about local black business and cultural achievements and personalities 1962-1976
Bermuda Sun Martin Dier 1964 to July 30, 2014, when acquired by the Bermuda Press Ltd, owner of the Royal Gazette
Workers Voice Reid Simmons 1971-present, monthly and for special occasions, published by the Bermuda Industrial Union.
Bermuda Now Bryan Darby 1980-1981
Bermuda Times K. Murray Brown 1987-1994

Electronic media

Not in print format, via the Internet only.

Currently, they include:

Bermuda Online (BOL) banner

paragraphRG Magazine. Published by The Royal Gazette daily newspaper. A news and features oriented monthly, for locals and visitors. Free with daily newspaper.

RG Magazine, Bermuda

paragraphToday in Bermuda. Website todayinbermuda.com. 

Radio and Television Stations

Radio broadcasting in Bermuda began in 1946, long before TV in 1956. Radio talk shows are popular in Bermuda. In music, there is a "local content" requirement of at least two locally sung or locally orchestrated songs or pieces of music per hour.

Broadcasting regulations and stations. All commercial, no PBS or BBC equivalent. Broadcasting content on cable, radio and local television and political broadcasting are controlled by the Bermuda Government appointed Broadcasting Commissioners set up under the Broadcasting Commissioners Act 1953. Broadcasting Commissioners. Appointed by the Bermuda Government annually or as appropriate under the Broadcasting Commissioners Act 1953. See in alphabetical order under "Bermuda Government Boards." E-mail gtelecom@bdagov.bm. They are answerable to a cabinet minister. They act as the Film Control Authority, under the Film/Control of Exhibition Act 1959. They also advise the Minister on matters concerning the Obscene Publications Act 1973. The only periodic exception to the all-commercial content is when the Government Emergency Broadcasting Facility operates, during a storm or hurricane or when no commercial station can broadcast because power lines are down. The Bermuda Government does not hold an equity position in any of the broadcasting companies but awards contracts to them for certain programming.On January 14, 1994 in Bermuda, new regulations were officially introduced affecting local radio and television stations. Enacted by the House of Assembly six months earlier, they required callers to identify themselves; stations to put into effect a seven-second delay in broadcasting such calls; as well as a ban on tobacco advertising; a ban on alcohol advertising (except beer and wine) between 6 am and 9 pm; the requirement for all such advertising to include the message "Excessive alcohol may be harmful to your health;" stations to produce a daily record of programs; regular publication of time schedules for programming; and the requirement that local television stations not broadcast any program which solicits funds from the public except by an approved and registered charity.

paragraphAM Radio

paragraphFM Radio

paragraphShort Wave Radio

paragraphTV stations

Unlike in the United Kingdom, no annual TV license fee is payable by individuals or households. Bermuda uses the North American NTSC television broadcasting standard. Reception is island wide but much better in some areas than in others, when only using rabbit-ears as an aerial.

Also available

Media Council of Bermuda

2019. October 3. Thaao Dill has been appointed the new chief executive officer for the Media Council of Bermuda. He succeeds Don Burgess, whose three-year term ended on October 1. He will remain part of the Working Group as an ex office member. Mr Dill said, “I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to participate in the ongoing growth and development of Bermuda’s media industry and the talented journalists, producers and personalities that do great work therein. The Media Council’s fundamental role is to ensure that the content delivered to our community via print, radio, television and the web is accurate, accessible, entertaining and informative. A vibrant, active, responsible press corps is a non-negotiable necessity for a country to be truly free – the Media Council understands this fact and is committed to its further propagation. I’m looking forward to being part of the process by continuing the marvelous work of the outgoing CEO, Don Burgess, in improving the relationship between the professionals that populate the industry specifically and our collective audience(s) generally.” Mr Dill was one of the five original people who helped shape the formation of the Media Council in 2011. He has had stints at both the Bermuda Broadcasting Company and Inter-Island Communications at HOTT 107.5. He currently serves as the recruitment officer at Bermuda College. Mr Burgess said, “Thaao has an outstanding vision to help progress the Media Council forward in this age. He brings a measured, reasoned voice to help lead Bermuda’s media.”

2018. September 10. Bermemes and SheHub.tv have joined the Media Council of Bermuda. Veteran journalist Carla Zuill, who previously ran the news site Today in Bermuda, is the founder of SheHub.tv, a website dedicated to women. Dejon Simmons founded Bermemes, which won The Bermudian magazine’s Best of Bermuda Award and had won numerous other Best of Bermuda awards. Don Burgess, the CEO for the Media Council of Bermuda, said: “We are proud to have these two excellent digital outlets join us. The media landscape is quickly changing as more people continue to get their news from online sources. “Bermemes has branched out from its humble beginnings and regular post interviews with politicians, artists, and cultural pacesetters in Bermuda.” Mr Burgess added: “Shehub.tv is exploring a road less travelled by other media in Bermuda and focusing solely on women’s issues, which I think is innovative.” Mr Simmons said: “I am more than humbled to have Bermemes a part of Bermuda’s Media Council. I look forward to working with the experienced members of the Media Council and offering my expertise where possible.” Ms Zuill added: “I am pleased that SheHub.tv has been accepted into the Media Council and I am hoping that women in Bermuda and beyond will benefit from its content. I am looking forward to growing this brand in the years to come.”

2018. July 12. Qian Dickinson and Carla Zuill have accepted positions to the Media Council of Bermuda. Both are joining the Media Council’s Working Group. Executive officer Don Burgess said it is essential to diversify the people who are part of the Working Group, that not only includes colour, but age, sex and non-traditional media. “When the Media Council Working Group was formed 11 years ago, it was the bastion of traditional media. Time has quickly changed the media landscape since then, and it is essential that the Working Group reflect that. Both Qian and Carla have a wide variety of experience in both old and new mass communication forms and will provide valuable input to the Council.” Mr Dickinson’s appointment started in April, and Ms Zuill’s began in June. Mr Dickinson is an eChannel specialist at Clarien Bank, a radio personality on Hott 107.5 and a partner of Bermemes who is well known for his video interviews for the social media group. He has more than 15 years of web and social media experience. Mr Dickinson said: “As an active member of various media outlets, I am happy to be a resource to help protect Bermuda’s freedom of expression and to resolve complaints against the media.” Ms Zuill has been a journalist in Bermuda since 2002. A graduate of the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, she initially started working as an assistant video editor in 1998, under the guidance of respected local filmmaker, the late Errol Williams. After joining The Royal Gazette, she became its first special sections editor. She then went on to work as a public affairs officer for the Bermuda Government for several years before joining Bermuda Broadcasting News as its assistant news director. In 2014, she founded todayinbrmuda.com  but closed the site in 2017 before launching women’s lifestyle website, sheHub.tv in May 2018. She is also a social media strategist. “It’s an honour to be asked to be a part of this committee,” Ms Zuill said. “I am committed to ensuring that journalism is carried out with professionalism and integrity in Bermuda.” Mr Burgess added that several other people had also been approached about joining the Working Group over the past three months.

2017. May 19. Dr. Grant Gibbons, then Minister of Economic Development, outlined plans this morning in Parliament for broadcasting and audiovisual media. Dr Gibbons said he was in the process of evaluating policy options for the creation of “a new regulatory framework for broadcasting and, more generally, for the provision of audiovisual media services in Bermuda”. Issues raised over the existing framework include the current regime being updated and not reflecting digital convergence; the fragmented state of the current regulatory regime governing services; the “uncertain” future of over-the-air television in Bermuda; the limited availability of local television, especially for locals unable to subscribe to Cable, and the allocation of valuable radio spectra to broadcasting that “does not appear to be used efficiently”, Dr Gibbons said. A round table was convened this week with “a cross section of the industry CEOs”, and will be televised on CITV. A draft policy statement will be put out to public consultation, Dr Gibbons added.

2016. October 6. The Media Council of Bermuda’s new executive officer has been named as Don Burgess. Mr Burgess, the former deputy editor of The Bermuda Sun, will handle unresolved disputes with media outlets in his new post. He succeeds Jeremy Deacon, who took on the role after the council’s first executive officer, Meredith Ebbin, stepped down two years ago. Mr Burgess said: “I am humbled to be entrusted with this responsibility and I look forward to extending the legacy of my predecessors with an even-handed approach. The Media Council of Bermuda helps inspire the highest ethical standards of journalism and where mistakes have been made, a reasonable approach from both parties can often bring swift resolution.” A social media and softball enthusiast, Mr. Burgess, 54, is also active in his church and community. Tony McWilliam, who chairs the Media Working Group that oversees the running of the council, welcomed Mr Burgess on board. He said: “Having worked alongside Don at The Bermuda Sun for many years, I know that he is a man of integrity, fairness and good judgment.” Mr Deacon, who stepped down because of work commitments, said: “The Media Council has an important role to play in the community and I am sure Don will do a superb job. I wish him well.” The Media Council was set up in 2011 with two main goals: to protect freedom of expression (in response to government moves to regulate the press), and to help resolve complaints, at no cost, when direct contact with a media outlet proves unsatisfactory. See www.mediacouncilofbermuda.org, which contains the media’s Code of Conduct, on which all complaints must be based, and also explains the complaints procedure.

Agreed on June 9, 2010 and began on October 14, 2010 as an eight-person council. It has two main goals — to help resolve complaints against the media and to protect freedom of expression. The council was chosen by an independent selection committee. It is the first time Bermuda had an independent media council. It was promoted after then-Premier Ewart Brown, who wanted the press tamed, tabled legislation to form a Government appointed anti-press council. Local journalists and global press freedom campaigners claimed it would be politically biased and could infringe freedom of expression and volunteered to form an independent council. As a result Dr. Brown decided to take the proposed legislation off the table before Members of Parliament voted on it. At that time, some local politicians were opposed to true democracy and fundamental press freedoms. They were not aware, or omitted to mention, that voluntary press codes - not legislation made by and on behalf of their governments - apply in all the world's democracies. Unlike them, Bermuda does not have a "gutter" or "yellow" press so responsible Bermuda media saw no need to have a voluntary press code. 

Unlike Canada, USA, etc where freedom of the press is built to their constitutions or elsewhere into their constitutional rights, Bermuda has no such guaranteed press freedoms. The International Press Institute (IPI) warned the Government that its "deeply flawed" planned Media Council Act 2010 bill could damage Bermuda's reputation around the world. The global network of editors, media executives and journalists, based in Vienna, issued a statement in May 2010 arguing that the proposed council would be inherently biased, would infringe press freedom and could prevent the free flow of information. It urged the Government to withdraw the draft legislation and talk again to the Island's media industry about how it should be regulated. The warning followed opposition to the bill from other global press freedom organizations, including US-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the CPU (Commonwealth Press Union) Media Trust. The IPI said the Media Council Act 2010 could have a "detrimental impact" on the reputation of the Bermuda Government. The bill was tabled in Bermuda's House of Assembly on May 7, 2010 by then-Premier Ewart Brown but managed to avoid enactment after the Media Council of Bermuda was approved as a compromise. Had this not been done, six persons would have been appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Premier, with just five further media representatives. The media  restraints the then-Premier wanted would have had a bias that jeopardizes not only the council's decision-making process but also any future code of practice for the media. Most worryingly, section 15 (3) (d) of the proposed act contained a powerful prior restraint clause that enabled the council to prevent the publication and broadcasting of 'any news, or comment on the news, that is the subject of the complaint. Due to the bias inherent within the council, this power could have been abused to prevent the free flow of information within Bermuda and might be used by complainants to prevent investigative journalism. The IPI, which works to safeguard press freedom, said the "controversial" media bill appeared to have "more in common with the media legislation of some of the repressive governments in Latin America, than with the First Amendment tradition of one of its close trading partners, the United States.

Bermuda's British Governor and the USA's Consul General were then both silent. Yet both have complete freedom of the press in their respective countries, endorsed by the the British Government and President Obama.  

See this dateline: 

Media Code of Practice

Suggested and approved in June 2010 by Bermuda's media shown below instead of a government-run entity.

Preamble

Members of the media have a duty to maintain the highest professional standards. The Code of Practice, which includes this preamble and the public interest exceptions in Section 1, sets the benchmark for ethical standards, protecting both the rights of the individual and the public's right to know. It is the cornerstone of the system of self-regulation to which the industry in Bermuda has made a binding commitment. Freedom of the press is indivisible from, and subject to, the same rights and duties as that of the individual and rests on the public's fundamental right to be informed and freely to receive and to disseminate opinions. The primary purpose of gathering and distributing news and opinion is to serve Bermuda by informing citizens and enabling them to make informed judgments on the issues of the time. The Code serves as a reference point for the public and also as an essential guide for journalists in Bermuda. It is vital that this Code be honored not only by the letter but also in spirit. It should not be interpreted so narrowly as to compromise its commitment to respect the rights of the individual, nor so broadly that it constitutes an unnecessary interference with freedom of expression or prevents publication in the public interest.

It is the responsibility of editors, publishers and managers to apply the Code to editorial material. They should ensure it is observed rigorously by all editorial staff and external contributors, including non-journalists.

Public enlightenment, as defined by the Society of Professional Journalists, is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. This is the guiding principle of this Code.

1. The Public Interest

There may be exceptions to the clauses below marked ** where they can be demonstrated to be in the public interest. The public interest includes, but is not confined to:

2. Accuracy

3. Opportunity to Reply

4. Privacy

5. Harassment

6. Intrusion into grief or shock

7. Children

8. Hospitals

9. Reporting of Crime

10. Clandestine devices and subterfuge

11. Discrimination

12. Incitement to Hatred

13. Financial/business journalism

14. Confidential sources

15. Witness payments in criminal trials and payment to criminals

The media shall not, under any circumstances, offer any payment for any story. (This does not preclude payments to freelance writers, photographers etc).

16. Headlines and captions

Headlines, sub-headings and captions, across all media, should accurately and fairly convey the substance or tone of the report or photo or footage to which they are related.

17. Photos & video footage

18. Public feedback

Selection and treatment of letters, and the choice of and air time given to talk show guests, are the prerogative of editors/news directors who are to be guided by fairness, balance, and public interest in the contributors' views.

19. Conflict of Interest

20. Editorial matters

21. Plagiarism, copyright & embargoes

22. User-generated online content

23. Social Networking Sites

24. Miscellaneous

25. Note

This Code of Practice is a living document and will be subject to change once it has been put into practice and its effectiveness evaluated. It will thereafter be revised annually, as circumstances demand. Changes can only be made with the collective authorization of its five original co-signatories or their successors

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Last Updated: October 10, 2019
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