‘More exclusives to make the newspaper more interesting to read’.
His love for journalism started quite early. It was when he was still at the Seychelles Polytechnic (1988-1990) that Gerard Govinden, Seychelles Nation’s new director/editor, started contributing articles for the daily newspaper as a freelance journalist.
He joined the former School of Media Studies in 1991 along with Antoine Onezime, now SBC’s managing director, and Ronny Solin, SBC’s sports news anchor, and was voted best overall student at the end of a one-year course.
He then joined the daily newspaper as a sports journalist grade three in January 1992. He has since occupied the posts of senior journalist, assistant editor (from 1998 to 2000), sports editor (from 2000 to 2010) and assistant director (since May 2010) before being promoted to the post of Director/Editor on Monday May 13, 2013.
Mr. Govinden becomes only the second Seychelles Nation director who started his journalism career as a sports journalist. The first was Denis Rose who is now the principal secretary for community development and sports.
Speaking to ‘The People’ newspaper, Gerard said many changes have been made to the newspaper over the last three years making it more appealing, but he hopes to make it even more interesting to read.
“There are some fundamental stories which no newspaper can afford to miss as they go into all the daily newspapers without exceptionaz. Although it is important to include these articles, a newspaper must have what is termed exclusives. An editor should be alert to get an exclusive, and at the same time he depends on his pool of journalists to come up with interesting new items,” said Mr. Govinden.
“Getting one or two exclusives with good news value each day will be a good thing. That is we aim to come out with the latest news items and stories readers seek. Human interest stories also will surely interest our readers,” he added.
Mr. Govinden would like to thank all the people, including his family, who have played an important part in his life.
Holder of a Master’s degree in Leadership and Strategic Management under the Seychelles Young Leaders programme and a Bachelor’s degree in French studies and translation after receiving a three-year scholarship from the Programme Canadien des Bourses de la Francophonie (PCBF), Mr. Govinden won two awards during the second Awards for Excellence in Journalism, initiated by the Public Relations Society of Seychelles (PRSOS). He was the winner of the Camerapix Mohamed Amin award for outstanding contribution in the field of media, and the excellence in sports journalism award.
That same year, he won the International Olympic Committee (IOC) trophy – Sport and Media.
In 2008, he collaborated with Bernard Idelson, Nathalie Almar and Laurent Decloitre of Reunion to produce a book entitled Journalismes dans l’Océan Indien : Espaces publics en questions.
He also wrote and compiled the 150-page commemorative book to celebrate the Seychelles National Olympic Committee’s 25 years of existence. The book was published in February 2005.
“As all editors, my main will be to concern myself with the future and plan the next issue.
“Journalism always produces much excitement as one cannot guess when the big news will break and you have to make sure you have enough manpower to cover the events. You also need to organise yourself,” said Mr. Govinden, a long-time lieutenant of Seychelles Nation.
He has also accompanied Seychelles teams on overseas missions – Indian Ocean Islands Games (2003 in Mauritius and 2007 in Madagascar), Jeux de la Francophonie (in 2001 in Canada), Olympic Games (in Athens, Greece in 2004), Jeux de la Commission de la Jeunesse et des Sports de l’Océan Indien (in 2006 in Mauritius and 2010 in Reunion), African Senior Athletics Championship (in Mauritius in 2006), All-Africa Games (in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1999 and Algeria in 2007), Indian Ocean Club Championship (in Reunion in 1994), and African Senior Volleyball Championship (in Algeria in 1993).
In April 2010, Mr. Govinden ran a week-long journalism training in French for young people from Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar and Mayotte who were to take part in the Jeux de la CJSOI in August 2010 in Reunion as journalist.
He has also produced a number of newsletters for the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association and the ministry responsible for sports.