Owen Mark Baptiste was a journalist, author and media entrepreneur who helped define the shape of national journalism in post-Independent Trinidad and Tobago. He was a publishing pioneer who recognised, from early, the potential of news for content creation.
He entered journalism in 1952, at the age of 19, soon after graduating from St Mary’s College. His first job was at the then British-owned Trinidad Guardian where he cut his teeth in the newsroom and editorial desk under editor Jack S Barker.
In 1963 he moved to the Daily Mirror as night editor until its abrupt closure in 1966.
After a year’s break, he returned as editor of the new Trinidad Express, the local successor to the British-owned Mirror.
In December 1974, Owen Baptiste struck out boldly with the launch of Inprint Caribbean Ltd, an indigenous publishing house that produced People, a glossy monthly magazine. In March 1982, he returned to the Trinidad Express as Editor-in-Chief but was soon called to duty as general manager when the long-standing general manager Ken Gordon resigned in 1987 to accept a Cabinet position in the NAR government.
Over the next three years, Owen Baptiste guided Trinidad Express Newspapers Ltd through the major expansion that transformed it into Caribbean Communications Ltd.
While there he launched a series of public initiatives including the Express Children’s Fund and the Express Individual of the Year.
Still pursuing his dream of widening the platform for Caribbean writers in an exchange of information with the world, Owen Baptiste launched an e-publishing company, Caribbean Information Systems and Services (CISS), in 1994. By the end of 1996, however, he was back in the newsroom, helping to hold the reins at the Trinidad Guardian following the mass resignation of senior editorial staff.
In 1996, with CISS starved of investment, he and his wife Rhona moved to China, planning to teach for a year; they ended up staying for 12 years.
Owen Baptiste was known for his many provocative columns including “Benedict Wight”; “No Sacred Cows”; and “Lies, Half-truths and Innuendoes”. He has also written several books including Crisis; Duprey; and The Seagulls Won’t Come Down. (From National Icons of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago)