New point person for Media Council
Jeremy Deacon succeeds Meredith Ebbin as Executive Officer, with immediate effect.
Ms Ebbin has stepped down after nearly four years and the appointment of her successor was ratified by the Media Working Group, the administrative arm of the Media Council.
Mr Deacon, 51, the spouse of a Bermudian, is a 30-year veteran of the media industry in Bermuda and the UK, having worked at senior management levels on morning and evening newspapers. A former Assistant Editor at The Royal Gazette, he now runs his own public relations company, Deep Blue Communications.
Mr Deacon said: "I am delighted and honoured that the Media Council asked me to try and fill the considerable shoes left by Meredith Ebbin, one of Bermuda's best and most trusted journalists.
"In this role I will strive to ensure that complaints are dealt with fairly and as speedily — and as amicably — as possible. The Council has a vital role to play within the media industry in Bermuda to ensure it tries to attain and keep to the highest possible standards."
As the intermediary between the complainant and the Media Council, the Executive Officer becomes involved in when disputes with media outlets are unresolved.
Christian Luthi, chairman of the Media Council of Bermuda, thanked Ms Ebbin for her "steady guidance and support" to the Council.
He added: "I am sure I speak for the entire Council when I say that it has been a comfort knowing that Meredith was diligently handling the administration, liaising with the Working Group, fielding inquiries and managing complaints. We wish her well in her retirement."
Ms Ebbin, a print media veteran who now runs the Bermuda Biographies website, had served as Executive Officer since the Council's inception in February, 2011.
She said: "Although there ware only three cases that were dealt with by the Media Council, I dealt with an array of inquiries from individuals and organisations.
"The fact that there is a Code of Conduct serves as a excellent reference point both for media organisations and members of the public. With the closure of VSB television and the Bermuda Sun, the need for a Media Council is more important than ever.
"I enjoyed my four years as Executive Officer and hope I made a positive contribution. I feel that Jeremy's years of experience working in local and oversea media will be an asset to the Council."
In other developments, the Media Working Group has agreed to retain Tony McWilliam, former editor of the now-defunct Bermuda Sun, as chairman.
Mr McWilliam said over the coming months, the Working Group will embark on a PR campaign to heighten awareness of the Council's role and how it functions. One aim is to broaden the remit beyond the handling of complaints and become more proactive on issues of concern to the media.
Mr McWilliam said: "Jeremy Deacon is a strong addition to the team and his predecessor, Meredith Ebbin, did an outstanding job handling complaints. She trod new ground for Bermuda and coped admirably with some challenging issues."
Other personnel changes have seen Gary Moreno of the Bermuda Broadcasting Company joining the Media Working Group. Josh Ball now represents The Royal Gazette and Bryan Darby represents VSB News.
The Media Council's website — www.mediacouncilofbermuda.org — will be updated in the coming days to reflect these changes. The site provides access to the Code of Conduct, on which all complaints must be based, and also explains the complaints process.
The Media Council was set up with two main goals: to protect freedom of expression and help resolve complaints, at no cost, when direct contact with a media outlet proves unsatisfactory.