On November 28, the T&T Guardian published my last BitDepth column. On December 07, the T&T Newsday will publish its first installment of the column, the longest running, continuously published column dedicated to personal technology and ICT in Trinidad and Tobago.
It also marks the end of a 19-year association with the Guardian, the longest in a series of engagements that began 44 years ago when I became a paperboy for the hefty editions that rolled off the presses at St Vincent Street. I still throw a mean paper. Beware.
I am not leaving because I am happy.
Exactly 19 years ago, in November 1998, I responded to a call by newly appointed Editor-in-Chief Lennox Grant to join him at the paper.
For most of that time I was a contract worker, save for two years, beginning in 2001, when I had the unparalleled experience of working on the startup, running and eventual shutdown of a new weekday paper, The Wire.
Because BitDepth has been part of my journalism package since 1995, it will, by next week, have appeared in the Trinidad Express, the T&T Guardian, The Wire and now Newsday.
For the column ‘s earlier moves, there have been departure columns and welcome columns. That’s a legacy of the days when the only engagement with the columnist was on the printed page, so this note will serve as the bridgepoint between last week’s column, printed in Chaguanas and next week’s, which will put ink to newsprint in El Soccorro.
It is possible, I have discovered, to be grateful for experiences, not all of them I would have asked for, even in intolerable circumstances.
This month, Features Editor Franka Philip left the paper and with her gone, I saw no point of contact with the paper with which I could meaningfully engage.
A year ago, I began to realise I was not a part of the deliberations of the paper’s current management. The costly changes that brought that home left me in an annoyed funk for months.
There’s still an unfinished review of Anthony Joseph’s album Caribbean Roots open in my word processor that marks the day I understood my dramatically diminished position at the paper.
Franka did not press me during that time. Four months later, I offered my services for selected items of Carnival coverage. I will always be grateful for her sensitive handling of that episode of grand mal pout and the thought of continuing without her as a buffer there was simply beyond my capacity to imagine.
The ANSA McAL Group itself has always been kind to me professionally and over that 19 years I’ve been offered opportunities I’ve been happy to embrace. I would have liked to reciprocate, but sometimes you simply have to acknowledge that it’s no longer possible.
BitDepth has always been a digital product. It was the first body of writing I did that wasn’t ever composed on paper. Right from the start it was written on a Powerbook 100 and transferred to Stephen Doobal’s computer on a floppy disk for placement in the Express TV Guide, its home for the first 15 columns.
It’s fitting then that you will read this here, on TechNewsTT, the digital home of the column and the site of its expansion since 2014 into a hub for reporting and discussion of technology matters relevant to and emanating from T&T.
It’s early days yet, but the column will return to its earliest incarnation as an opinion column on Newsday’s Op-ed pages. There will be no pictures and a strict 600 word limit.
Here, however, there are no restrictions.
The end of my business relationship with the T&T Guardian is an opportunity to restate the commitment to being digital in partnership with another publication.
Using bits to their best advantage is the point of the 21st century.