Me­dia work­ers must bet­ter mon­i­tor their health, says Gager

Jack­son Miller re­turns as PAJ pres­i­dent

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Christopher Serju Gleaner Writer christopher.serju@glean­erjm.com

WYVOLYN GAGER, for­mer Gleaner edi­tor-in-chief, yes­ter­day charged jour­nal­ists to make time, de­spite their hectic work sched­ules, to at­tend to per­sonal health is­sues be­fore it is too late.

“A lot of peo­ple don’t go to any doc­tor. They don’t check any­thing, and then one day they find out that they are hy­per­ten­sive, they have low blood su­gar, they have all kinds of is­sues, and we don’t take care of our­selves be­cause we are do­ing the work,” Gager lamented dur­ing yes­ter­day’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing of the Press As­so­ci­a­tion of Ja­maica (PAJ) at its St An­drew head­quar­ters.

“The work comes first and we have to do the work and we can’t go see the doc­tor be­cause we have to do the work.”

Her com­ments came three days af­ter the death of 39-year-old In­grid Brown, as­so­ci­ate edi­tor for spe­cial as­sign­ment at The Observer, who suc­cumbed to an au­toim­mune con­di­tion, which af­fected her liver, at the Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal of the West Indies.

How­ever, Gager said this “burn­ing is­sue” was trig­gered by the deaths of se­nior Gleaner jour­nal­ists Gary Spauld­ing and Glen­roy Sin­clair, within hours of each other, in June.

Sin­clair suf­fered a heart at­tack on the job, while Spauld­ing suf­fered a sim­i­lar event at home.

CALL FOR IN­TER­VEN­TION

“I started think­ing about the way we do not take care of our­selves in journalism,” Gager shared with her col­leagues.

“We work long hours, and I am won­der­ing if this com­mit­tee could start some­thing where you get peo­ple to do their blood checks. I think there has to be some kind of in­ter­ven­tion – one day, some time dur­ing the year – where we in­vite the rel­e­vant health agen­cies and we have a health fair and we do all these checks and we try and follow up.”

In the mean­time, broad­cast jour­nal­ist Dionne Jack­son Miller was given the man­date to lead the um­brella or­gan­i­sa­tion for jour­nal­ists for a sec­ond twoyear term, re­turn­ing un­op­posed as pres­i­dent.

She iden­ti­fied a thor­ough re­view of the way the ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion process works as a pri­or­ity item for her ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“We’ve been get­ting lots of con­cerns from me­dia work­ers about how it op­er­ates and the bar­ri­ers they go through in terms of try­ing to get the in­for­ma­tion. We want to look at some way in which the PAJ can get more in­for­ma­tion on that and see if we need to lobby for change,” the re­turn­ing pres­i­dent promised.

Michelle Wil­son Reynolds is the new first vice-pres­i­dent; Karen Madden beat back the chal­lenge of Vashan Brown to be­come sec­ond vice-pres­i­dent; while Ceila Morgan was re­turned un­op­posed as trea­surer.

Archibald Gor­don was elected sec­re­tary and will have Karen Find­lay as his as­sis­tant. The five di­rec­tors are Vashan Brown, He­lene Co­ley-Ni­chol­son, Chris­tene King, Aud­ley Boyd, and Mil­ton Walker.

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