T&T Mirror, Sunday Punch close doors

(Trinidad Guardian) After 36 years in existence, the T&T Mirror and Sunday Punch newspapers are no more.

The last copy of the weekly publications went on sale yesterday at news stands as the Curepe based Mirror Group Publication Ltd company established in 1982 has ceased operations, citing financial difficulties and declining advertising revenue as contributing factors for its sudden death.

The founder of the papers was the late Patrick Chookolingo.

Chookolingo first came out with the National Target, which was eventually scrapped.

Shortly after Chookolingo lashed out with Tuesday and Friday Mirrors, as well as the Sunday Punch.

The birth of the Showtime Newspaper came years later. The Tuesday Mirror and Showtime became defunct.

In an article in the final T&T Mirror publication dated November 9, it bid its final farewell to its readers.

Former editor of the Friday Mirror and Sunday Punch, Ken Ali said the wrapping up of the publications was a refusal to innovate, as the media landscape has been evolving. “The weekly press made itself obsolete. My greatest sadness over this is that it appears to be the end of the Chooko era….the end of an era in the media. Patrick Chookolingo was one of the finest journalists of modern times. He stood for free speech. He stood up for the sacred cows in society.”

Ali who worked alongside stalwarts such as the late Keith Sheppard and Raffique Shah described the death of the newspapers as a great disappointment.

Shah, who worked as managing editor from 1986 to 1999, said he was taken aback by the news.

“Given the state economy on the one hand and the world of technology… in particular social media this would have contributed immensely to the Mirror not being a viable enterprise again,” Shah said.

Patrick’s son, Daniel Chookolingo, who served as CEO for 20 years, said he was shocked by the news.

Chookolingo admitted that he had taken the company to court “for shares” stating that he could not provide any information.

“This is a long story. The company will exist but the publication will close up. I am saddened by that. I feel a heaviness in my heart. The legacy my father built is now dead,” said Chookoling

Chookolingo said the newspaper was a training ground for many journalists.

Chookolingo remembered Andy Johnson, Dale Enoch and Wesley Gibbings cutting their teeth in journalism at their establishment.

The first sign of financial woes came when the company cut its workdays from five to three a few months ago.

 

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