(Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, 23.Dec.2019) — A former CEO of Newsday, David Renwick was the consummate professional with a passion for the business and labour aspects of journalism, who always dug deep for the facts. And he always shared his knowledge with interns in the field.
Renwick, 81, died last Friday. He had been diagnosed with AFib (irregular heart rhythm). His funeral has been set for Tuesday at Belgrove’s Funeral Chapel in Trincity at 2 pm. He leaves to mourn his daughter Olivia, son Garvin, two grandchildren and brother Roger.
Renwick has been described by several of his past colleagues as someone who went after what he believed in, and never took anything for granted.
Journalist Wesley Gibbings said Renwick was an enterprising person who was a respectful mentor, not afraid to pull punches. He would be harsh when required, and gentle and diplomatic when it was called for.
“He was supremely sceptical, which was one of his strong points. I would say in terms of managing statistics and information, he always attempted to question and get the figures right, particularly because I knew him to operate within the finance and labour (and) energy beat.”
Gibbings said Renwick ‘s death was a huge loss for the Caribbean journalistic community. He said there were people who looked up to Renwick as a leading light in energy journalism, and those who knew him personally appreciated his warm manner, his great sense of humour, and the kind of laughter that was infectious.
“I had known him for about 35 years after I went to work for the Express in 1985. I believe he held a senior position, because it was a time when younger journalists were assigned mentors in the newsroom, and he was not assigned to me, but for some reason he paid attention to what I was doing. He was very frequently at my desk, issuing stern advice, or just making a wisecrack about something.”
He said Renwick never took anything for granted among the business community he would mostly have interacted with.
Gibbings said as president of the Caribbean Media Workers Association he tried to bring Renwick in, but he refused.
“He said very resolutely he had no intention of flying any more. He wasn’t going to take off his shoes and have everything inspected before boarding any flight. I think when his wife died a couple of years ago that was a huge turning point in how he saw his life and he became more withdrawn.”
Trinidad Guardian business editor Curtis Williams remembered Renwick as giving him the first opportunity to work in the media.
“He was the kind of person who was prepared to take a chance with young talent. He was always very generous, and (would) take you into counsel as much as he can in terms of sharing his knowledge about the energy sector, and his considerable experience as an energy and a business journalist.”
Williams remembered Renwick as his friend who gave up an assignment in Azerbaijan so Williams could attend.
Former Guardian Arima bureau chief Vernon Khelewan said he and Renwick had quite a reporting team when they were editors.
“We shared contacts and he never figured everything was his domain, because people were looking to do things, looking to find out facts, and that is what he was about.
“He was a true, true journalist…David was a very good teacher, always ready to give advice to the younger ones, to train them. He was serious about getting the real story.”
Former editor in chief of the Guardian, Lennox Grant, said he never had the chance to work with Renwick and recalled after graduating from the University of the West Indies in 1974, when approached, Renwick refused to give him a “wuk.” However, they remained cordial.
“One thing I can say is that nobody made mention that he worked at the Daily Mirror before and it made a big impact because it was the first time we had a tabloid. He had a job as an editor. “
Renwick was one of the founding directors of Newsday and served as its second CEO.
(By Carol Matroo)