Me­dia col­leagues pay trib­ute to the late In­grid Brown

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Na­dine Wil­son-Har­ris Staff Reporter na­dine.wil­son@glean­erjm.com

TRIBUTES CON­TIN­UED to pour in yes­ter­day in hon­our of the late Ja­maica Ob­server As­so­ciate Ed­i­tor In­grid Brown, whose work over the years had won her nu­mer­ous awards and the re­spect of her col­leagues in the pro­fes­sion and the wider so­ci­ety.

The 39-year-old jour­nal­ist died Thurs­day night at the Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal of the West In­dies, where she was be­ing treated for an au­toim­mune con­di­tion that af­fected her liver. She started her jour­nal­ism ca­reer in 1994 at the now de­funct Ja­maica Her­ald, and then moved on to The Gleaner and The STAR news­pa­pers, where she worked from 1997-2000.

Brown joined the staff at the Ja­maica Ob­server in 2006 af­ter work­ing for some time at the Ja­maica In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice as a reporter. She also served as a sec­re­tary for the Press As­so­ci­a­tion of Ja­maica (PAJ) from 2012 to 2014 and has been de­scribed by the as­so­ci­a­tion as a sweet and won­der­ful per­son.

“In this year in which the me­dia fra­ter­nity has suf­fered loss af­ter loss, In­grid’s pass­ing is yet an­other blow, yet an­other loss of an out­stand­ing col­league and hu­man be­ing,” the as­so­ci­a­tion said yes­ter­day in a me­dia ad­vi­sory.

The as­so­ci­a­tion noted that her work ethic was be­yond ques­tion and this was ev­i­dent in a pre­sen­ta­tion she gave in 2011 when she spoke at the World Press As­so­ci­a­tion’s Free­dom Day break­fast. Brown, at the time, pleaded with her col­leagues in the pro­fes­sion to carry out their du­ties with in­tel­li­gence, ob­jec­tiv­ity, ac­cu­racy and fair­ness.

“More im­por­tant than hav­ing that front-page story or that lead­ing item in the news­cast is the commitment to en­sure that the in­for­ma­tion be­ing dis­sem­i­nated is ac­cu­rate, true and fair to all par­ties con­cerned,” she said.

“Never let us, as jour­nal­ists, con­trib­ute to dis­sem­i­nat­ing in­for­ma­tion which, while mak­ing juicy and, as some of my col­leagues say, ‘sexy’ sto­ries, will dam­age some­one’s rep­u­ta­tion and that of fam­ily be­fore en­sur­ing that we have the facts,” she urged.

HU­MAN-IN­TER­EST WRITER

For­mer pres­i­dent of the PAJ Jenni Camp­bell, who also worked with Brown dur­ing her time at The Gleaner, re­mem­bers her pas­sion for is­sues af­fect­ing chil­dren and those who are most vul­ner­a­ble.

“She was one of the hard­est work­ing jour­nal­ists I have ever known. She was de­ter­mined to ex­cel re­gard­less of how tough the task was,” she re­called.

“She was a great hu­man-in­ter­est writer, and I think the pro­fes­sion is go­ing to be worse off for not hav­ing some­one like In­grid Brown do­ing the kind of sto­ries that she usu­ally does. It re­ally is a very, very sad loss,” she said.

Ex­ec­u­tive Ed­i­tor for Publi­ca­tions at the Ja­maica Ob­server Ver­non David­son noted that sev­eral of Brown’s hu­man-in­ter­est fea­tures had re­sulted in peo­ple get­ting well-needed help.

“What struck me most about In­grid was the fact that she saw her jour­nal­ism as some­thing to use to help peo­ple. Rather than just re­port­ing news, she truly be­lieved that she should help peo­ple, and she en­joyed do­ing it,” he said.

One of Brown’s sto­ries that stood out to him was that of a boy in St Thomas who was go­ing to school hun­gry and bare­footed. Af­ter his sit­u­a­tion was brought to light, the lit­tle boy and his fam­ily got a house, money and school sup­plies from cor­po­rate Ja­maicans.

“That was the type of jour­nal­ism that she prac­tised, al­most a sort of de­vel­op­ment type of jour­nal­ism. Out­side of that, she was just a won­der­ful per­son,” he said.

Brown won the PAJ Award for Best Fea­ture Story in 2008 and Best News Story for 2010. She also won awards from the Pan Amer­i­can Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion and the Fair Play Awards. She had re­cently com­pleted her law de­gree at the Uni­ver­sity of the West In­dies and was ac­cepted at the Nor­man Man­ley Law School in fur­ther­ance of her bid to help those who are less for­tu­nate.

The for­mer jour­nal­ist is sur­vived by her two sons, mother, fa­ther, sib­lings, other rel­a­tives and friends.

In­grid Brown

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