Saturday, 23 November 2013

11 QUESTIONS: Journalist and author Ian Boyne on his intriguing new book and wearing multiple hats

JOB WELL DONE: Boyne gets a congratulary peck on the cheek from PM Portia Simpson-Miller at the King's House-hosted book launch earlier this week. Below, with the PM and Education Minister Ronald Thwaites. (Photos: Skkan Media)

From career journalist to long-serving television host, this celebrated socio-political commentator and family man has just published an intriguing new book, Ideas Matter. Mr. Boyne is now available for questions. 

Why was it important to publish Ideas Matter, and what does it offer readers? 
This is a book of writing that I love because of my fascination with ideas. I loved the [Profile of Excellence] book that I put out earlier this year, but this is the one I looked forward to the more because it represents the compilation and distillation of my work over the years. Some of my most essential and hard-hitting articles are available together for the first time. 

Not many journalists in the region write books. This could be the start of a fashionable trend. 
Absolutely. It's important for us in media to leave something of a permanent record because many of my fine colleagues have died without leaving anything behind. So this is an important thing for me as a journalist. So I was glad to have had the opportunity. 

Are there more books in the pipeline? 
I probably would love to do something on theology, seeing that I still have Religious Hardtalk

Your award-winning interview programme Profile has been on the air for over 25 years. What's next for the show? 
It's been on for two decades and still going strong. We're still number one in that [time] slot. And nobody has been able to dislodge me, but I am determined to stay on top. 

How do you manage to take on so much, with a dizzying schedule, and still maintain your sanity? 
It's a lot of juggling to do, time management-wise because I'm also a senior executive and deputy CEO at JIS. So it's a matter of structuring your time. I also spend a lot of time reading, which is evident in this book. I love writing; I love the romance of language. 

Let's talk about your reading life. Are there any particular titles you'd like to recommend? 
Sometimes titles escape me, but read something on the Great Divergence recently; a very fine work. I also read a biography of the former Chinese leader Deng, and that was a massive book. There is also a very fascinating book that Henry Kissinger did on China that I read recently. 

Your write very passionately about the Jamaican dancehall, yet your critical analysis is usually very far from flattering. 
I agree, but my work on dancehall in the wider culture is very important because I've brought my intellectual rigour to the critique of the dancehall. And the Vybz Kartel trial is going on right now so it's very relevant. 

Speaking of the deejay, what do you make of him (and his still-strong) presence in the dancehall? 
I oppose the kind of lyrics that he has been spouting because as an artist, he has the responsibility to project positive things. I think that these guys have to use the power of our music to help people, to empower people, not to hold them back. 

Who is Ian Boyne outside the spotlight? What do you enjoy? 
I like to go to dinner. My wife and I go out every Saturday night. I do enjoy retro music, vintage music. We go to oldies sessions. I like suspense movies. I go to watch plays; we saw Ladies of the Night last. But we definitely go out every Saturday night. We love to eat out. 

There are so many misconceptions about public figures. How do you deal with the sniping and negative criticism? 
I mention that in the book, as well. I don't answer critics. People criticize me all the time. When you're in the public eye that happens, so you have to be prepared for that. It comes with the territory. 

I hear you turned 56 this year. Looking back, what do you consider your most memorable achievements? 
The first year I entered journalism (1975), I won an award, and to still be at the top of my game after so many years, feels amazing.

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