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News Last Updated: Nov 5, 2018 - 12:22:07 PM

Ivan Johnson to receive Pioneer Award at Press Club Media Awards Ceremony
By The Bahamas Press Club
Nov 4, 2018 - 3:42:03 PM

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NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Bahamas Press Club announces that Publisher of The Punch, Ivan Nicholas Johnson is this year’s recipient of The Pioneer Award for newspaper publication.

Said to be provocative and controversial but eminently successful, Johnson is the only Bahamian to have worked as a Star sub-editor and journalist at newspapers on Fleet Street, London. 

Johnson is founder and editor of The Punch, a controversial Bahamian tabloid newspaper, which also offers other genre of media including hard news, politics, religion, commentary, features, Government notices and private advertising.

Johnson will receive the honour on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at the British Colonial Hilton, in a Black Tie, Red Carpet event. Other members of the media will be recognized for their work in various capacities.

Again, Her Excellency the Most Hon Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, will serve as Patron.

This year’s theme is: “Celebrating 45 Years of Bahamian Media 1973-2018”, and Title Sponsor is IL Cares Foundation and Verizon Media Group. Other major sponsors are Aliv, Sunshine Holdings Ltd. Royal Fidelity, ZNS, The Nassau Guardian, The Tribune, The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and many other supporters of Bahamian media.

Ivan Nicholas Johnson was born on June 27, 1953 in Nassau, The Bahamas. He was educated at Queen’s College in Nassau, Bahamas and at the Seaford Court Preparatory School at Malvern Link, Worcestershire. His high school education was completed at Malvern College where he took O and, A levels in English literature and Spanish. He later studied Spanish during a summer break at the University of Valladolid.

This journalist is also a former professional, all rounder, English first-class cricketer, who played for Worcestershire County Cricket Club from 1972 to 1975.  From 1972, during the English county cricket offseason winter months; Johnson was employed as a trainee reporter at The Tribune newspaper in Nassau.

In October 1975, Johnson became a trainee journalist with Thomson Newspapers, owned by Lord Thomson of Fleet. He worked at the Hemel Hempstead Evening Post-Echo and studied at the Harlow College of Journalism in Essex. This training was followed by one year's cadetship at Reuters.

Johnson returned to Nassau in 1976. At The Tribune, two chief reporters had quit without warning. Johnson agreed to act as the newspaper's chief reporter up to the 1977 general election.

In October 1976, Johnson clashed with the Progressive Liberal Party leader, Prime Minister Lynden Pindling during the ZNS-TV radio programme, Contact. Contact was a monthly, live broadcast where Sir Lynden was questioned by journalists. Sir Lynden became angry when answering Johnson's questions. In November 1976, Sir Lynden refused to appear with Johnson. Johnson continued to goad Sir Lynden in The Tribune. After the 1977 election, Johnson returned to England and in 1979, he gained employment at The London Sun newspaper as a staff sub-editor.

In 1985, Johnson was seconded to Australia and worked as a sub-editor at The Daily Mirror (Australia), The Townsville Bulletin and The Sunday Times (Western Australia). In 1987, Johnson again returned to London. He worked as a freelance sub-editor for the London Sun, News of the World and The Sunday Times before gaining employment as a staff sub-editor at the Daily Star.

In August 1989, Johnson returned to Nassau and in February 1990, began his own tabloid format newspaper titled The Punch; its office located on Farrington Road in Oakes Field.

In 1992, on the morning of election day, The Punch ran a headline predicting the Free National Movement win over Progressive Liberal Party by 32 seats to 17. The tabloid was hence called The Prophet Punch.

To his credit, Johnson is the first and only Bahamian to have played professional cricket at the first-class and junior Test cricket level.

Johnson is the son of the late Basil L. I. Johnson, CBE DFM RAFVR who was a World War II flight sergeant.  Johnson's father was the only black Bahamian to fly in the British Royal Air Force during World War II.

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