Former Gazette Editor David White warns that some new media outlets blur the distinction between news and comment. “Some don’t even try to be impartial,” he said. *Photo by Nigel Regan
Former Gazette Editor David White warns that some new media outlets blur the distinction between news and comment. “Some don’t even try to be impartial,” he said. *Photo by Nigel Regan
David White was the Editor of The Royal Gazette for 30 years. He retired in 1999.

Has the emergence of new media, specifically via the Internet, diluted the established outlets?

With the growing importance of the Internet it was inevitable that there would be a greater array of sites, whether you call these "news sites" is highly debatable. Very few of them are in any way comprehensive, anyone can create a page and keep going and I don't have the slightest problem with that, but I think the Bermudian public wants its news packaged.

Right now the Gazette is the only one packaging the news. There will no doubt be improvements on the Internet that allow for packaging, but right now the Gazette is the only one doing that.

I think it's rather wonderful to be able to read the Gazette on the Internet. I was away when all the hoo-ha was happening [about the BHC] and it was wonderful to see what was happening. I think people want to be able to do that, but there are still a lot of people who like to hold their newspaper.

There is still room for the print media and there is still room for local TV. The thing that disturbs me is the Gazette is so pre-eminent that nearly everyone [except the bi-weekly and weekly] relies on it to gather the news. They then either print what the Gazette carries or react to a story that's been in the Gazette.

A lot of these new websites are basically one person's opinion and that's not a news source.

Does The Gazette get a raw deal?

The Gazette has always, certainly in my time, come in for a great deal of criticism. I tend to look at that criticism as a badge of courage - it has the guts in a country this small where there is a lot of controversy to continue to do its job as best as it can.

I'm the last person to say that the Gazette is always right but I think it goes to considerable trouble to be objective and get the facts right.

What do you think of blogs?

I think there are a lot of people who would have liked to print their own pamphlets but it was hard to do, but now everyone can do that and there's nothing wrong with that at all but I don't think a lot of it is news. Some of the sites are designed to confuse people, they don't even try to be impartial and news should be impartial. If someone would send the housing corporation documents to someone outside of Bermuda and have the whole damn lot published on the Internet, I think it would do Bermuda an enormous service right now. Let's see what they say and get it over with. The Privy Council can't gag the Internet.

What do you think about the Government setting up a TV station?

I have no idea how Government is going to staff its station. I wouldn't want it to become Government's liar. By that I mean just assume that it wants to get out propaganda for what it's doing. It doesn't necessarily concern itself with whether this propaganda is accurate it just wants what's best for the government. There are a lot of people who swallow the fishhooks.