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MAY 16, 2014 THE BERMUDA SUN

YEARS 1964 - 2014

BDASUN Anniversary Feature


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THE SUN @ 50

MAY 16, 2014

THE BERMUDA SUN

‘The Sun has enhanced our democracy’ Publisher Randy French says the Sun has been a vital voice in our community BY DON BURGESS dburgess@bermudasun.bm

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

n PHOTO BY KAGEAKI SMITH

GUIDING HAND: Publisher Randy French has held many jobs at the Bermuda Sun all the way from paperboy to editor. Below left, an announcement for the first edition of the Bermuda Sun from May 1964. been heard.

Diversity

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.” n


THE SUN @ 50

THE BERMUDA SUN

MAY 16, 2014

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Riots, scoops and inspiration John Barritt reflects on his time as a Sun journalist

BY DON BURGESS dburgess@bermudasun.bm

John Barritt was editor of the Bermuda Sun during a period of turmoil. Now a barrister and OBA MP, he was just 28 years old when he was handed the reins of the paper. Tensions were rising as Erskine ‘Buck’ Burrows and Larry Tacklyn were to be hanged for the murder of the Governor and rioting would follow. Mr Barritt was recruited from The Royal Gazette, with the promise of being groomed for the Sun’s editorship. Alan Coles held the position at the time. Mr Barritt said: “Alan had a gift. He was a marvelous newspaper person. He designed a column called the ‘Armchair Critic’ which all of us contributed to with our thoughts. It was meant to be witty and entertaining and about what was on TV. “He helped breathe life into the newspaper and carve out a niche that set the Sun apart from the competi-

tion back then.” Mr Barritt said at the Sun he was able to write under his own byline, which was not the case at the Gazette at that time. Neither would the Gazette allow reporters to quote anonymous sources because, Mr Barritt said, it was the newspaper of record. “As a reporter, I always felt a bit stymied by people who would talk but didn’t want their name put to it — particularly in politics. “I relished the freedom I was given under Alan Coles.” As his anonymouslysourced stories proved true, the credibility of his reporting increased. One of Mr Barritt’s first articles predicted the resignation of ET Richards as Premier and it helped establish him as one of the island’s top reporters. “He [Mr Richards] played his cards to his chest and people were amazed, after the fact, that I had found out this information and I was able to report accurately.”

He also reported that the founding leader of the UBP, Sir Henry Tucker, had said on the eve of the 1976 election that it would do the UBP some good to lose some seats. Mr Barritt said: “That caused quite a stir amongst the UBP and their campaign committee. They had Sir Henry come out and qualify what he had said but to his credit, Sir Henry never said ‘John Barritt quoted me incorrectly’ or ‘got it wrong.’ He was that big of a man.” Another story had Sir ‘Jack’ Sharpe under fire from within the UBP ranks: “They were trying to force Sir ‘Jack’ Sharpe to step down and Sir Henry Tucker and ET Richards were called in to canvas the members… and do a report on their recommendations, which would be followed.” Mr Barritt said the contents of the report were read at a meeting at the Princess hotel — there would be no printed copies to get passed around or leaked to the press. “I was able to report it the next day, practically verbatim, and people were really incensed and were wondering how I had gotten hold of the report. It was wordfor-word and to this

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CREDIBLE: John Barritt made a name for himself as a political reporter who got the scoops on the UBP. He later became editor and was part of the Bermuda Sun team that covered the 1977 riots (see below left for that edition). day, I still have not told the story of how obtained that.” Mr Barritt said the camaraderie at the Bermuda Sun was “terrific… Everybody had that spirit we were going to be different, we’re going to be better”. The team would push through on a Friday night to 2am on Saturday to get the paper out. The Sun was located back then on King Street. “We had moved from very cramped quarters to the top floor of the WL Tucker Building. We thought we had arrived.” The camaraderie was put to the test on the worst night of the riots in Decem-

ber, 1977. Mr Barritt said even though the staff was trapped in the building because of the riots and curfew, there was never any doubt that they were going to get a paper out. “A lot of us were worried about our families. My wife was at home with a young child, but we couldn’t go because police wouldn’t let us go. “We had to stay in the building all night and no one slept. We heard all this noise and wondered what was going on. We were without communication — there were no cellphones back in that day and no Internet.

“The fact that we were reporters and newspaper people — even the printers downstairs — understood this is what newspapers do. They report the news and try to be first with it. We were bitten by that bug and we were trying to be professionals about it. “When morning broke we got out, took photographs, did stories and delayed publication of the newspaper. We completely scrapped what we had planned for that day. We managed to publish on the day of the riots with photographs. We were first. We felt that we had done a good job of reporting.” n


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THE SUN @ 50

MAY 16, 2014

THE BERMUDA SUN

n LOOKING BACK / The people who made it happen

Where are they now? Former Bermuda Sun journalists reflect on their time here Adrian Drummond, Editor When were you with the Sun? March 1986 to September 1991 Your job title? Reporter/sub-editor, then editor from early 1988 Fondest memories? When I joined, the Sun was still located in offices in King Street next to the fire station. Creaky wooden floors, back issues piled high, and clouds of cigarette smoke wafting across from the desk of Tomasina ‘Tommy’ Fountain, the shipping reporter, mingling with my own output. Not sure it would meet today’s health and safety requirements! Worst memories? Awkward Friday morning phone calls with the late Sir John Plowman, the chairman, if a story had upset a big advertiser or other

vested interests. Any funny moments that stand out in your memory? The Christmas party was always fun. There was also the time when a member of staff made off with the Police Commissioner’s hat at the boxing do. Can’t say any more about that as the statute of limitations has still not run out. What do you miss about Bermuda? In no particular order: Meatball subs for lunch from the Trattoria shop, friends, crisp winter days, my Honda 90, Paradise Lake, Friday night allnighters at the Squash Club, South Shore, Hinson’s Island, Amstel beer, my little orange boat, North Shore, Cup Match, Tuesday night “fun runs” from the Botanical Gardens,

Thursday night feasts in Prego’s on Church Street after putting the paper to bed (we only published on Fridays then), the sea, the ferry, the phrase “what’s happening”, Bermuda Day, Sunday brunch at the Waterlot, the Sun, the sun. Your current job? Assistant Sports Editor, The Times Where do you live? Near Petersfield, in Hampshire Family of your own? I married Sheila in May 1987 at Marsden Memorial Church in Smith’s and we had our reception at Ariel Sands with all the Sun staff. Daniel, our elder son, was born in Bermuda in 1989. Matthew arrived shortly after we left. Still hoping to celebrate our 30th anniversary there. n

n PHOTOS SUPPLIED

TOP RIGHT: Former editor Adrian Drummond at the Sun’s old offices on King Street RIGHT: Adrian with his wife Sheila and sons Matthew, 21 (far left) and Daniel (25) LEFT: Adrian and Sheila

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Serving the Bermuda community is a privilege earned over time Congratulations to the Bermuda Sun on reaching the half century milestone. We know the responsibility that comes with serving the community. BELCO has played a vital role in Bermuda’s history for over 100 years, growing with the Island. At BELCO, we understand that a secure, reliable electricity supply is essential to ensure comfort in our homes and continued progress in our international business and visitor industries. www.belco.bm

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THE SUN @ 50

THE BERMUDA SUN

MAY 16, 2014

n WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The people who made it happen

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I miss so much about Bermuda Nigel Regan, Chief Reporter When were you at the Sun? January 1999 to February 2008 Job title? Chief Reporter Fondest memories? I have so many great memories and most are attributable to the friendship and guidance of editor Tony McWilliam and national treasure Meredith Ebbin — together we took great pride in our work while also having a lot of fun. I can hear Meredith’s laugh now, howling through the newsroom! From a professional perspective, this coming together was best illustrated in the paper’s General Election coverage. Meredith, who had been a reporter since the 1970s, had unparalleled historical knowledge, while Tony sprinkled his magic dust over everything to ensure the content remained fair, accurate and, most important, interesting to read. These two people taught me how important it was to get the tone right for a Bermudian audience. They steered me away from the British expatriate journalists’ tendency towards hysteria and helped me become a credible, respected reporter. Worst memories? n Seeing a colleague, a recovering crack addict, relapse. n Being forced to hand over a memory card at knifepoint. A crime victim took me to take photographs of the house where he was tortured. As we were leaving, another man, high on drugs, eyes like saucers, raced up to us, pulled out a blade, and threatened to use it if I didn’t hand over the card. He meant it. n Interviewing the four fami-

lies who lost loved ones to Hurricane Fabian — hours after the storm while there was still hope bodies would be found. Any funny moments that stand out in your memory? Learning The Mid-Ocean News was closing. What, if anything, do you miss about Bermuda? I miss Bermuda so much. I miss waking up to months of guaranteed blue sky and sunshine; I miss fish sandwiches with hot sauce, tartar sauce, lettuce and tomato. I miss being a storyteller and helping to set the record straight. And it’s corny, I know, but I mostly miss the people. I made some great friends and it’s a sad truth that you don’t really appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone. Current occupation? I am self-employed and am somehow managing to scratch out a living selling vinyl records! But my real joy comes from looking after my nephew Jack: I’ve been his main carer for at least three days a week for the past three years. Where do you live? Birkdale, Southport, Merseyside. I am a 15-minute walk from the home of Liverpool Football Club legend Kenny Dalglish and a hop, skip and a jump away from Royal Birkdale Golf Club. n

n PHOTO SUPPLIED

STILL BY THE SEA: Nigel Regan with his dog Archie on the Birkdale sand dunes. (His Bermuda rescue dog Roxy died on Valentine’s Day last year).

T H E P R O’S H AV E G AT H E R E D … … to congratulate you on 50 years of publishing! And while the Men in Blue monitor, service and maintain air conditioning activity at Media House, we’ll leave the News to you.

BERMUDA AIR CONDITIONING

441-292-0881

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NEWS

MAY 16, 2014

THE BERMUDA SUN

n WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Catching up with the Sun’s alumni

Emma Farge, cub reporter

Our girl in Africa When were you at the Sun? University holidays from 2002-2006 Job title? Cub reporter/intern Fondest memories of the paper? n At the risk of sounding like a narcissist, I will never forget my first front page Sun scoop! It was about Premier Jennifer Smith’s secret visits with a “spiritual sister” who forecast that Bermuda was going to be hit by a tsunami. I remember waiting on the Cabinet Office lawn for hours to get the snapshot of them together. I’m surprised security didn’t turf me out!

n Friday

A FAR CRY FROM HAMILTON: Main photo: Emma Farge crossing from West Africa’s Senegal to Gambia in a small fishing boat known as a pirogue. Above: On The Gambia river in the former British colony

Irish coffees with the team at the Trattoria were also lots of fun. n Having a sneaky lunchtime “whine” with soca star Kevin Little at Grotto Bay during a lifestyle interview ahead of his concert. Worst memories of working here? The first (and last time) I spelled somebody’s name wrong. I was in the newsroom dog house the whole day. Any funny moments that stand out in your memory? Silly season stories. I remember Tony asking me in a perfectly serious tone to go out on assign-

ment to cover the story of Bermuda’s largest home-grown pumpkin. What do you miss about Bermuda? Lots of things! Having childhood friends and family just a few minutes away, lobster diving, Johnny Barnes, special sauce for sushi. Current job? West and central Africa correspondent, Reuters Where do you live? Dakar, Senegal Family of your own? Engaged and soon to be married! n

EDITOR’S NOTE: Later this year we will feature more ex-employees of the Bermuda Sun and many more stories about our 50th anniversary. Watch this space!


THE SUN @ 50

THE BERMUDA SUN

MAY 16, 2014

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Editor guided the Sun through major changes

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Paper still has a vital role to play, says Tom Vesey

BY DON BURGESS dburgess@bermudasun.bm

When Tom Vesey became editor of the Bermuda Sun in 1992, the island was moving towards political change. Mr Vesey was joined the Sun from The Royal Gazette and was at the helm of the paper when the PLP broke though to finally unseat the UBP as the Government in November, 1998. He had previously worked as a reporter on the Washington Post. Mr Vesey took the Bermuda VESEY Sun from weekly publication to the addition of a second, Wednesday edition. “I was the business editor at the Gazette and was doing political stuff briefly and I was finding it a bit frustrating — so their timing in approaching me was not bad.” Mr Vesey took over the editor’s position from publisher Randy French. He said: “I was really impressed with Randy’s knowledge about the technical aspects, like layout. He had obviously worked hard to learn it.”

He said the Bermuda Sun was known for, and continues to be known for, having “a great core of very loyal people who through troubles and turmoil stuck with the paper and believed in it”. It was amazing for a small paper… to have such a high-quality staff like Tony [McWilliam], Meredith [Ebbin], who are two respected senior reporters, and Roger [Scotton] who was the business editor and at that time was ‘Mr Business Reporter’ in Bermuda.” Mr Vesey said: “The team, despite whatever grousing may have been going on, most of the people, most of the time, really believed in what they were doing. They were enthusiastic most days of the week, Fridays excepted. There was a sense we were on a roll. We were doing the right things and we were playing a part in Bermuda’s development and making forward progress for journalism in Bermuda.” He said previous to his arrival “the Sun was a very small town, childish version of British tabloidism without the genuine material for big scandalous headlines most of the time. “We became better at tackling real issues at a fascinating time in Bermuda’s history — there

we lost in which we had six days to be scooped by other people.” He said with the quality of staff the Bermuda Sun had, there was a number of stories that could not fit in just one paper, and going twice weekly helped find a place for them.” He said the biggest story the paper covered during his tenure was the switch from the UBP to the PLP.

Build-up

were major political changes underway.” He said the Bermuda Sun had become more stable with a steady stream of advertising, which in turn helped lead to the growth of the Wednesday edition of the paper. Mr Vesey said: “It was really exciting but a bit scary. It was good being able to do more than one paper a week. One of the frustrating handicaps of being a weekly paper… there was a hideous number of stories that

“It was a six-year story — the build-up to the end of the UBP Government in 1998 and the start of the Government of a different party. That was the dominant theme for the six years — Bermuda getting ready for change and the growth of the PLP.” Mr Vesey said during his tenure “there wasn’t any story that I lost sleep over thinking ‘I wonder if this is true?’, but there were loads of times I worried and had second thoughts wondering if we got the angle right or had the right perspective. Was it blown out of proportion or was it given enough emphasis?” He said there was some anxiety on whether the story was fit to be printed or whether he was “dithering” on getting it published.

He says the Bermuda Sun’s role in the community is still vital: “[It’s] especially [important] in this day of the Internet, [for] people get information that has been prepared by experienced journalists with experienced oversight. “It’s also important to be a part of the community so you have the right to tell the community things they may not necessarily want to hear. “The Sun also has an important role to play vis-à-vis The Royal Gazette, where the newspaper is a check-and-balance on Government. The Bermuda Sun plays a check-and-balance on The Royal Gazette, which is the biggest and most influential media on a dayby-day basis in Bermuda.” Mr Vesey added that even though the Bermuda Sun is 50-years-old, “it’s not a part of the establishment like the largest daily newspaper anywhere, is. No matter how liberal the largest daily paper may be, it tends to preserve the status quo because that has what has benefitted it. “This has given the Bermuda Sun a huge advantage when it comes to looking at controversial political issues, social changes and examining inequity in society.” n

And happy birthday to you, too Sheena Maybury! BY DON BURGESS dburgess@bermudasun.bm

The Bermuda Sun is not alone in celebrating its 50th birthday today — Sheena Maybury (nee Manders) was also born on May 16, 1964. Mrs Maybury’s 50th will be a quiet affair with a few friends and family over to help her celebrate the occasion. We reached out to her to share in the joy of our shared milestone. She told the Bermuda Sun: “I really wanted to have a party to celebrate… but right now it looks

like I’ll have a quiet one. I will go to the spa to pamper myself for the day and probably just spend the time with the family in the evening.” Mrs Maybury, an accounts administrator with Montpelier Re, said some of the biggest highlights of her life involve family. “One would be giving birth to my beautiful daughter Sasha and marrying my husband Perry Maybury.” While brothers Andre, Anthony and Arnold are well-known sportsmen and husband Perry a former Somerset Cricket Club captain, Mrs. Maybury has her

Read more About Sheena Maybury online at www.bermudasun.bm

own athletic legacy. She travelled to various countries representing Bermuda in netball and softball. She played softball for Royal and netball with PCC. One of her favourite local news events was when Somerset won Cup Match in 1996. And there’s plenty to look forward to, as well; Mrs Maybury’s daughter Sasha graduates from Bermuda Institute

next month: “I am also looking forward to seeing her graduate form college.” After Sasha gets her degree, Mrs Maybury intends to travel more. As a national team sportswoman, she has already travelled quite widely to places like Cuba, St Lucia, England, and Scotland. But her favourite place is Florida. Mrs Maybury took some night classes after secondary schoo, paid for by International Risk, and has been keen to watch and learn from others throughout her career. She started off as a filing clerk at International Risk and worked

her way up. “I’ve worked in the marketing department and with the underwriters and now I’m in accounts administration. I’m handling most of the accounts in Bermuda for Montpelier Re.” Mrs Maybury said the one news event that sticks out in her mind over the past 50 years is 9/11. “I remember waking up and turning on the TV, but it was on mute. I saw this plane go into a building and thought ‘What movie is this?’ When I turned off the mute I realized it wasn’t a movie — I will never forget what I saw that morning.” n

Bra vo!

BUTTERFIELD CONGRATULATES BERMUDA SUN ON 50 YEARS OF PUBLISHING!

www.butterfieldgroup.com


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the sun @ 50

May 16, 2014

THE BERMUDA SUN

n The Future / Sun embraces innovation, collaboration

Jones and Buddz in celebratory golf rematch R

eggae sensation Collie Buddz and media man Glenn Jones will square off in a golf showdown for the second time. The rematch will be bigger than the original, part of a Bermuda Tourism Authority-funded golf event featuring visiting VIPs and local residents who love the game. The Bermuda Invitational, slated for September 12 to 14, will showcase Bermuda as a golfers’ paradise to potential vacationers and also mark the culmination of the Bermuda Sun’s 50th anniversary celebration. Buddz will invite notables from the worlds of sport and entertainment to make up members of his team while Jones will invite overseas media to

form his squad. Along with scores of local golfers, the two sides will face off Ryder Cup-style for the Dark n’ Stormy Cup. Like the Capital G Golfer in the Making series from March 2013, Bermuda Sun and VIBE 103FM are media partners for the event. Gosling’s and BTA are onboard as major sponsors. A campaign for additional sponsors is underway. Talks to determine a host hotel and golf club venue are underway too — a decision is expected soon. The weekend will be rounded out with exclusive hospitality and entertainment events. Part of the money raised will benefit local children’s charities. Corporate teams or individual golfers who want to

be a part of the event September 12 to 14 can email their request for an official invitation to bdainvitational@bermudasun.bm. Efforts will be made to include as many people as possible in the Bermuda Invitational, but preference will be given to visitors, sponsors and clients of VIBE 103FM and Bermuda Sun. n

game on: Collie Buddz, left, and Glenn Jones bond during their original golf match last year. Their rematch takes place during the Bermuda Invitational slated for September 12 to 14. n File photo

Scan with Layar for digital content

It’s official! MediaHouse a certified Layar partner

Scan with Layar for digital content n Photo supplied

new beginnings: Maarten Lens-Fitzgerald is the co-founder of Layar. He said he is impressed with MediaHouse’s use of the application.

The Beatles have a #1 hit with I Want to Hold Your Hand

MediaHouse is now a Layar Certified Partner, cementing its foot hole as market leader of augmented reality technology in Bermuda. The media company, which includes Bermuda Sun, Island Press and bermuda.com, became the first in the country to launch augmented reality (AR) in March and now becomes the first in Bermuda certified by Layar, a global AR technology developer. AR allows readers to make print digitally interactive via the Layar app on their smartphones and tablets. “This designation is an example of our company’s commitment to augmented reality and the technology’s expected growth over the next five years,” said Glenn Jones, MediaHouse general manager. “We’re in this for the long haul. We want to grow our expertise and share it with our advertisers and readers.” The certified partnership provides MediaHouse and its subsidiaries with added technical support, client referrals and insider information on new

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technology trends. Layar will also help MediaHouse grow its augmented reality product offerings with opportunities in 3-D and geo-targeting, for example. Layar co-founder Maarten LensFitzgerald said: “Layar is happy to have MediaHouse as part of its Layar Partner Network. They have shown they are great with the design and production of AR content. “With partners and augmented reality specialists such as MediaHouse, the medium of augmented reality is a sure thing in revolutionizing print marketing.” The April cover of bermuda.com Guide featuring a flyboarder, as well as two advertisements inside the magazine, caught the eye of Layar and the company has featured the

publication on the inspiration page of its website. Similarly, the March 26 edition of Bermuda Sun was featured on Layar’s blog to announce a new “frontier of interactive print”. Layar is based in Amsterdam and its app is used in more than 200 countries around the world. In North America, it has offices in New York and Toronto. About 38 million people have downloaded the company’s free app which, as of March 26, can be used for interactive print experiences in the Bermuda Sun, bermuda.com Guide, Island Property News and in products printed at Island Press. Lili Bermuda, Crystal Caves, PW Marine, Cranfields Property and Lennon Bermuda are among the local companies already using augmented reality in their print advertising. The City of Hamilton has begun using AR technology in its event signage. “We’ve learned very quickly that with augmented reality the possibilities are truly endless,” said Mr Jones. n

and The first edition of The Bermuda Sun was printed

Fiddler on the Roof opens on Broadway

In 1964 Peggy Fleming wins the US Figure Skating Championship

Arnold Palmer wins the Master Golf

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