Former Nation editor Ridley Greene passes

The Nation Publishing Co Limited has lost one its stalwarts.

Ridley Greene, the soft-spoken, bespectacled editor who also dabbled with anything under the sun musically, passed away on Friday night.

He was 77.

When contacted, his daughter Adaiah confirmed that he died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after a lengthy illness.

Nation Group Chief Executive Officer Noel Wood paid tribute to Greene.

“It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Ridley Greene, one of the past stalwarts at the Nation who contributed to the development of the newspaper. He joined the company in 1976 and assisted in the development of the look and feel of the paper, and the training of several generations of journalists. While his service was broken, it did not detract from the impact of his contribution. As we celebrate our 50th year, he will be missed. Our sincere condolences to his family,” Wood said.

Greene, with his trademark curly hair and thin-framed eyewear, was a steadying hand for the Nation for more than three decades before his retirement.

During his tenure, the Combermerian was responsible for the coordination of all correspondents, contributors, freelance writers as well as syndicated content.

He also had a column on Tuesdays which dealt with a multiplicity of topics, inclusive of politics, religion or Caribbean affairs.

During his long career in journalism, Greene also worked with the former Daily News and the Barbados Advocate.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley remembered Greene for his attention to detail.

“It has been quite a few years since Ridley retired from the newsroom of the Nation newspaper and decades since he left the Advocate, but I am sure that neither time nor absence has been able to erase the contribution he has made, not just to these organisations, but to those who had the privilege of working with him,” she said in tribute.

“While, like me, countless newspaper readers will associate his name with the Nation columns he authored for so many years during an era when newspaper columnists often set the agenda for public debate in this country, across the profession the scores whose work he edited, or who otherwise benefited from his training, respected him for his devotion to quality and detail. For Ridley, I am told, even a misplaced comma could be viewed as a serious infraction.

“What the public would not know, however, is that when it came to newspaper design and layout, Ridley remained unchallengeable until the very end. Headline size and type, the number of columns used, photo selection and display, juxtapositioning of items on a page, were not matters to trifle with under his watch,” Mottley noted.

Associate Editor (Subs) David Ashby was one of those who learned at Greene’s feet in the newsroom.

“Ridley Greene was very instrumental on the Subs Desk. He was responsible for the training and guiding of young sub-editors on the Nation design style and headline writing. He was a stickler for not deviating from the design style, and also for neatly planned pages,” Ashby noted.

“Every element on the page had to be properly aligned, and pictures had to be appropriately cropped. You also learned a lot from Ridley after he edited a page. If you gave Ridley a page to look over, and he did not change your headline, you could give yourself a pat on the back because he often changed your headlines. Ridley was a complete journalist. A master at writing, headline writing and sub-editing, a talent that has been very difficult to replace since he retired a few years ago. He will always be remembered in the newsroom, and particularly the Subs Desk.”

Greene’s box guitar was never far away, and he was always ready to play a tune, day or night.

He was awarded by the Barbados Landship in 2000 for his contribution to folk music in Barbados.

Greene also managed the Celebrity Tent, which saw several folk artistes and senior calypsonians participating in the Crop Over Festival. He even sang in the tent, as The Masque.

The former Society of Journalists and Mediapersons, of which Greene was founder and president, named an award after him in 2001, in the design section.

Greene is survived by son Ridley Greene Jr and daughter Adaiah. (BA/PR)

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