KINGSTON –– The media fraternity was plunged further into mourning Monday with the passing of veteran journalist Gary Spaulding, a mere 72 hours after his Gleaner co-worker and friend Glenroy Sinclair died after suffering a heart attack on Friday.
Spaulding’s body was found in the bathroom of his Hughenden, St Andrew, home by police who were forced to break into the building.
The 52-year-old Spaulding covered Parliament as well as political and other public issues for over 20 years.
Monday, members of the media fraternity and politicians gathered outside his home in shock.
“Naturally, the entire family is grieving,” Gleaner Managing Director Christopher Barnes told the Jamaica Observer Monday. “Gary has been with us since I have been at the Gleaner Company almost ten years. He is a well-loved, respectable member of staff. He put everything into his work; he is passionate. Certainly, he leaves a void in The Gleaner in terms of his political coverage, his investigative reporting which Jamaica so needs.
“What makes this worse for the family is that this is the second loss we have had. We lost Sinclair, we lost two valuable members of staff. I am pretty sure that the entire company is grieving as we stand here. We have to make sure that we are there for everyone who is grieving,” Barnes added.
“We have grief counsellors in the building who are likely to be working round the clock between Tuesday, tomorrow and however long it will take,” he said. “Their memories will live with the staff . . . . Sad day, but we shall persevere.”
The Gleaner’s Senior News Editor Arthur Hall, who was a personal friend of Spaulding since their days at Kingston College, recalled their relationship.
“Gary’s children –– Andre, Ker-Kay, Kerry, Kayla and Kelsie – they grew up in my hands. My son called Gary ‘Uncle Gary’ and we ate at each other’s house. We socialise and I think in terms of a reporter Gary was a top draw,” Hall said.
“Gary and I have worked together now for the last 16 years. We knew each other for many more years than that, but we worked together at the RJR Communication Group [and] the last eight years at the Gleaner Company.”
He described Spaulding as one of the finest political reporters he had worked with. “He covered Parliament as well as any other beat. I think [only] Balford Henry and Earl Moxam would be from this era [who] could cover Parliament as well as Gary did. Outside of that, he covered politics, but Gary was such a rounded reporter,” Hall said.
He said that he last spoke to Spaulding on Friday.
“He did a story for me in the Sunday Gleaner, which was a look at Andrew Holness’s first one hundred days [in office]. He called me on Friday and asked if I was satisfied with the story,” Hall recalled.
Senior Manager Human Resource and Administration at the Gleaner Company Anthony O’Gilvie, who shared the same sentiments, said that the company has lost two major journalists and that they will do everything to remember them in a positive way.
In addition to his stints at The Gleaner and Radio Jamaica, Spaulding worked at the
Jamaica Observer from October 1994 to May 1997 covering mostly politics and Parliament.
“He was one of the sharpest reporters on both beats,” recalled the Observer’s executive editor, publications Vernon Davidson.
“We could always depend on Gary to not only get the news, but the news behind the news. I particularly enjoyed reading his commentaries on politics and was always interested to hear his views on current issues, particularly when he was a guest on Earl Moxam’s That’s A Wrap on RJR on Sundays,” Davidson added.
“He will be sorely missed by the profession and the Observer extends condolence to his family, as well as to Glenroy’s family, and our colleagues at The Gleaner who have suffered a terrible double tragedy,” Davidson said.