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It was an afternoon of true camaraderie as the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) on December 5, celebrated five of Jamaica’s veteran journalists during a luncheon at the J. Wray and Nephew headquarters on Spanish Town Road.

The veterans, who together represent more than 150 years of experience, are: Fae Ellington, Pat Lazarus, Tony Patel, Dorraine Samuels-Binger and Ruth Ho Shing. They were lauded for their sterling contribution to the field of broadcasting.

Ms. Ellington, who entered major media in 1974, is regarded as having one of the most recognisable voices in local media. She has been anchor, host, announcer, interviewer, lecturer and trainer – serving in almost every possible capacity in broadcast media over a very distinguished career.

Ms. Lazarus began her career in television at the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) in 1963, shortly after the introduction of television to Jamaica and, has since, blazed an illustrious path.

Mr. Patel, who is regarded as one of the longest serving news anchors in local media, was first employed to the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) in 1965.  

Mrs. Samuels-Binger entered the media profession in 1981 at Radio Jamaica and has since contributed significantly to the development broadcasting in Jamaica.

Ms. Ho Shing also began her career in broadcasting more than 20 years ago, when she joined JBC as a television production assistant and has since worked on a wide range of television programmes including religion, discussion, drama and live entertainment.

Speaking on behalf of the honourees, Mr. Patel said he was very grateful and honoured to be recognised by his peers. “It is said that the best reward that one can receive is the recognition of one’s peers,” he remarked.

He paid homage to his mentors, Hector Bernard, Consie Walters, Charlie Balford, Archie Lindo, and Viviane Carrington, for being “the true veterans from whom I learned my craft”.

The PAJ also recognised Calabar High School, as the institution celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, for producing a number of distinguished students, who have contributed significantly to journalism in Jamaica.

These included: Carey Robinson, Ewart Walters, Simon Clarke, Claude Robinson, Arnold Bertram, Marvin Rickettes, Donald Bucknor, Colin Campbell, Lincoln Harvey, Dervan Malcolm, Michael Sharpe, Tony Young, Audley Boyd, Andre Wright, and Patrick Anderson. 

President of the PAJ, Jenni Campbell noted that Calabar has produced scores of practitioners in the field of media and communication, who have continued a tradition of using journalism to hold public officials accountable “and as a mirror and beacon reflecting the society to itself and showing us what we can become”.

“In this centenary year of the school’s existence and the Golden Jubilee of Jamaica’s Independence, the PAJ is pleased to recognise and applaud the contribution of Calabar Old Boys to the development of media, communications and the journalism profession to Jamaica,” she stated.

Mr. Walters, who spoke on behalf of the Calabar Old Boys, expressed gratitude to the PAJ for recognising the institution for its contribution to nation building and the field of journalism.

The veteran’s luncheon was held as part of activities for National Journalism Week 2012, which commenced with a church service on December 1 at the Kencot Christian Fellowship.

The week will close with the National Journalism Awards Ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Friday, December 7, where outstanding British Journalist and Union Leader, Jeremy Dare, is expected to be the guest speaker. He will speak on the topic: ‘Media for the times… the next 50 years”, which is also the theme of this year’s celebrations.