Veteran political journalist Gary Spaulding is dead - Second loss for Gleaner in days
Gary Spaulding, one of Jamaica's best known and most highly regarded journalists, has died.
Spaulding, who was most recently a senior political and foreign affairs writer at The Gleaner, was discovered dead at his Hughenden, St Andrew, home yesterday afternoon.
The 52-year-old's death has shocked the local journalism community, which is still reeling from the sudden passing of The Gleaner's Glenroy Sinclair on Saturday.
Sinclair and Spaulding were longtime colleagues and friends.
Spaulding died leaving six children, the youngest of whom is 10 years old.
In a statement yesterday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said: "Gary was an exemplary journalist. I admire his knowledge of the issues and his professionalism. He was always willing to give an objective and fair assessment of the issues. Gary was a true friend and someone who I respected, not only as a journalist, but as a patriotic Jamaican."
The Gleaner's Editor-in-Chief Garfield Grandison said Spaulding was one of Jamaica's most knowledgeable journalists.
"Not only was he an absolute expert in his field, but he was also approachable and quick to share tips and advice with young reporters who dreamed of being like him someday. His loss is hard to bear, but Gary's contribution to journalism will live on in the work of all the reporters he mentored over the years."
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange expressed disbelief at Spaulding's death.
"I am shocked and lost for words. Gary was someone who I knew personally and with whom I have worked extensively over the years while he was at RJR and at The Gleaner. Despite both having very demanding jobs, we have been able to maintain an unquestionable friendship that I will forever hold dear to my heart," Grange said.
Spaulding's sister, Nadia Spaulding-Lindo, said as proud as Gary's family has been of him over the years, the veteran journalist was never one to brag.
"Whenever I go anywhere and say my name, people would ask if I'm related to Gary Spaulding. We, his brothers and sisters, would tease him about his popularity and he would simply shrug it off," she said.
"Gary was so humble. No matter who you are, he had time for you. He could interview the prime minister today, then tomorrow he would sit on the sidewalk and interview the man on the street. He would make them both feel comfortable."
Spaulding-Lindo said her brother loved his job tremendously.
"I personally could not understand the love that Gary had for journalism. He loved what he did so much. If we wanted him to show up at a family function, we would jokingly tell him that the prime minister would be attending," she said.
Spaulding, a Kingston College old boy, was known not only for his extensive reporting on politics, but for his style of writing.
His colleagues would often refer to him as the in-house wordsmith. Such was his ability to craft paragraphs with multiple multisyllablic words that would send seasoned writers to the dictionary.
Spaulding's experience reporting on politics was so well known that he was often invited to participate in panel discussions on television and radio news programmes.
Among the many awards Spaulding has won over the years is the 2012-2013 Morris Cargill Award for Opinion Journalism.