The Bermuda Sun has given voice to diverse viewpoints and enhanced democracy on our island.
This from publisher Randy French, CEO of MediaHouse, the parent company of the Bermuda Sun. Mr French’s father Donald, started the Sun in 1964 to provide an alternate voice to The Royal Gazette.
The family’s legacy continues today as Randy’s daughters Larissa and Olga work for the Bermuda Sun.
Randy’s mother Jean contributed to the early success of the paper by selling advertising alongside Lucy Davis.
Randy French got an early start in the business as a paperboy: “I used to deliver papers for the Bermuda Sun. It was pounds, shilling and pence in those days. I used to have a little money bag and go all around Southampton on my bike, pedalling newspapers.
“I was doing it not so much for the love of the paper, because I was too young, I was doing it to make a little bit of money. It was fun doing it on my pedal bike, selling subscriptions and collecting money.”
After his stint delivering papers, Randy did not return to the Bermuda Sun until 1982, where he was employed in the advertising department. From there, he learned the ropes in several departments including photography and editorial. He did a stint as the advertising manager before serving as editor for a year.
Randy said: “We were having a very difficult time financially. We had to reduce costs so I managed it and edited the paper for one year.”
Randy said while he was editor, the Bermuda Sun had a good team which included Roger Scotton, Tony McWilliam, and Simon Wait.
“I relied on the high quality people we had there. I did my best and we had an okay year in terms of stories.”
Randy said he used his weakness as his strength and “a lot of things blossomed just because a lot of stuff I couldn’t do. I gave it to them to do because they could do it 10 times better than me.
“The paper was really good. I didn’t try to control anybody. Instead of me writing the headlines, I said ‘You guys can write your own headlines much better than I could so why don’t you suggest headlines?’ They came up with some fabulous headlines and it added something to the paper.
“I think every so often editors can block the style because they need to take control, because that’s their job, but in taking control they can also block the creativity that’s in the newsroom. Because I didn’t really know much very much, I didn’t block their creativity.”
Randy said the Bermuda Sun “has a huge legacy” in Bermuda for being an alternate voice in the community and by giving that voice to many people who would not otherwise have been heard.
He added: “The Sun has given Bermuda a huge benefit by allowing that channel to exist… it’s helped our democracy in a huge way. It’s made us a stronger country because we’ve had a diversity of opinion and everything that goes with it.”
Randy added he would like to see more news outlets in Bermuda as “there would be more opinions and we can grow as human beings and learn to live with each other and accept each other because we have a broader perspective. Bermuda needs diversity in the media and it’s so important to our democracy and the Bermuda Sun has played a huge role in that regard and continues to do so. I’m very proud to have been a part of that.”
One of the things he is proud of at the Sun is the “passion” of the people who have worked here over the years.
“They have been the driving force of the paper. The men and women who have worked at the Sun and contributed so much.”
Part of that tradition has now passed on to his daughters Olga and Larissa. Olga joined the Sun team as a sales executive while Larissa is the paper’s sales and marketing coordinator.
Randy said: “It was completely their decision to come work at the Sun. I have not done anything to try to influence them, but I’m very delighted that they are there. I would pray for them to be there for many years but also to enjoy it and make a contribution that is meaningful for them.”