Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Dowie: a humble professional

Published:Friday | February 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM


When I first met Junior Dowie, as a reporter at The Gleaner in late 1987, it was as though I had known him all my life. In a sense, I had.

I was first introduced to the name through the pages of The Sunday Gleaner in the 1970s, as my family savoured the publication with as much enjoyment as our rice and peas and chicken. His brilliantly captured news photographs, tied to the probing and courageous investigative work of the reporters and editors, were among the many features that made it worth the while travelling from my home in Allman Town, central Kingston, to The Gleaner's offices to join the milling crowd waiting to get a copy of the newspaper if it was late coming off the press because of extensive power cuts or because of some industrial action by fellow employees.

I shared vicariously in the excitement of his pictures when I worked at the Income Tax Department where one of his children, Andrew, also worked and freelanced as a sport reporter for The Gleaner, and who later died tragically in a motor vehicle accident in the mid-1980s.

Throughout my stints at The Gleaner, Junior was the consummate professional. Whether we were travelling to Portland and St Thomas to capture the ravages of Hurricane Gilbert; following election campaign caravans as they wove their boisterous, undisciplined way throughout the countryside and Corporate Area, or when I was at the News Desk, he could be depended on to produce not "just a picture", but often, a work of art. Many a front page was enhanced by Mr Dowie's turning up with a great news photograph that sometimes necessitated redesigning the plans for the following day's publication.

For me, however, what stood out most was his humility. He had no need to shout from the rooftop that he was good at what he did. His work spoke for itself. Jamaica's journalism has lost not only a master craftsman, but a decent human being and, above all, a gentleman.