Newsmaker: Nation left in shock as veteran journalist shot dead Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

This week’s overall development as Newsmaker of the Week is the shocking murder of 53-year-old veteran journalist Job Nelson in St Andrew on Tuesday night.

During Nelson’s 35 years of service in the media, he was attached to a number of entities, including Loop News as freelancer.

The killing has rattled the local media fraternity, as not many journalists have been killed here in recent times.

Television Jamaica (TVJ) reporter Shari Genus, 26, was the last active member of the media to be killed locally, on the night of January 2, 2007. She was gunned down along with her father, 52-year-old Huan Genus, a police sergeant who was assigned to the Clarks Town Police Station in Trelawny.

The father and daughter were shot and killed in their motorcar in Stewart Castle, Trelawny while on their way home.

Five years before, broadcast journalist Hugh Crosskill Jr, 47, was shot dead by a security guard in what police investigators at the time suggested was a case of mistaken identity at a medical complex on Ripon Road in New Kingston, on June 7, 2002.

The security guard who pulled the trigger, 41-year-old Carlton Parchment, was found dead almost 14 weeks later following what was reported at the time as “a bout of severe depression”.

And, in September of 1994, then veteran journalist Vincent Tulloch was found with multiple stab wounds inside his Calabar Mews apartment in St Andrew.

The killing of the then editor of the now defunct Jamaica Herald newspaper remains unresolved to date.

So, when news punctuated throughout the country that Nelson, a Gleaner Company sports journalist, was killed, it came as a shock because he was widely regarded as a humble man. 

It was reported that about 10:53 pm, Nelson, who was an all-round journalist, was driving his motor car along Spanish Town Road in the vicinity of St Andrew Technical High School, when he stopped at a traffic light and was fired on by gunmen.

In a bid to drive himself to the hospital, he reportedly subsequently crashed into a utility pole on nearby Collie Smith Drive.

The police were called to the location and when they got there, they reportedly saw the crashed motor vehicle.

The injured journalist had already been assisted to hospital, where he died while undergoing treatment.

Police are reportedly examining CCTV footage to assist in their probe of the incident.

At Wednesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Dr Dana Morris Dixon who has responsibility for information, skills and digital transformation, was the first Government official to react to the killing.

Dr Dana Morris Dixon

“It was an unfortunate violent incident, and we express our condolences to his family. We express condolences to all who have worked with him, and all who have been a part of his work for those 30 years,” Morris Dixon stated.

She said such acts of criminality must be condemned and denounced.

“Again, these acts of criminality we have to denounce them. We have to condemn them as strongly as we can,” she stated.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness posted a photograph of Nelson interviewing him in the past, and described the late journalist as a remarkable professional.

Further, Holness said it was “heartbreaking” to hear that Nelson lost his life in “such a senseless act of violence” locally.

“Job and I shared the halls of St Catherine High (School), which makes this loss feel even more personal. His contributions to journalism and his dedication to bringing the truth to light were commendable, and he will be sorely missed,” shared Holness as he offered his own condolences to the media practitioner’s family, friends and colleagues.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Editor-in-Chief at the Gleaner Company, Moya Thomas, was quoted in newspaper interviews as saying that Nelson’s death was a tough one to process, as many of the staff there had spoken with the now deceased just a day before his sudden death.

“Job knew his sports and in that regard was dedicated, diligent and reliable, giving significant support, particularly across The Gleaner and Star publications, as well as our online spaces,” Thomas was quoted in a story published by the Gleaner.

The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ), in its release, said it was deeply shocked and outraged by the murder of Nelson.

In describing his untimely death as a profound loss to the journalism community, PAJ President Milton Walker condemned the “senseless act of violence in the strongest possible terms”.

“We urge the authorities to expedite their investigation and to spare no effort in bringing Job’s killers to justice. Such heinous acts of violence cannot be tolerated, and we stand united in our demand for accountability and justice,” Walker said.

Continuing, the PAJ president said as an esteemed member of the media fraternity, Nelson made invaluable contributions to various publications throughout his career, including the Jamaica Record, The Herald, X-News, Loop News, the Jamaica Observer and the Gleaner.

“With his versatile skills as a reporter, sub-editor and page planner, Job played an integral role in shaping numerous publications and projects over the years,” the PAJ said.

“In his 35 years of service in the media, Job was admired for his professional expertise. He is also remembered for his kind, affable demeanour and his ever-present smile,” the PAJ added.

On social media, several former and present journalists also remembered Nelson’s contribution to the media profession.

“Job Nelson was a professional. He was dedicated and dependable. He was my friend. Rest well, #fallensoldier,” said Gleaner news reporter Livern Barrett.

“I simply can’t believe such a gentle, humble soul is no longer with us. Job Nelson was a veteran journalist who had a passion for his job,” said Press Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Naomi Francis, a former journalist and radio talk show host.

“I urge anyone with information on his killing to come forward and give it to the police,” she said.

CVM Television also issued a statement, saying its management and staff are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of “a distinguished journalist”.

In issuing thoughts and prayers to Nelson’s loved ones, CVM said: “May his legacy of courage and dedication to truth continue to guide and inspire us all.”

Meanwhile, other social media users condemned the crime and appealed to the police to do more to arrest criminals.

“If dem a kill (news) reporters now, a what ago become a we normal citizens. JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force), a beg unuh step up the fight,” a woman wrote on Facebook.

“I still can’t believe Job (Nelson) is gone like this. So heartbreaking, RIP friend of 30 years,” another wrote.

“I am tired of reading of the senseless killings in Jamaica. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, young babies, and now a journalist. My condolences to his family,” added another woman.

Commented a man: “I hope his colleagues take faith, but we as citizens have a duty to do our part and tell what we know, and I’m appealing for information on this and other killings.”

Said a woman: “I am so distressed to hear this sad news. Wickedness can’t done, but God sits high and looks low. Somebody going to confess.”