St Helena Online

Tag: Penguin News

Stanley’s no toy town for UK to play with, says Penguin News

Suggestions that the capital of the Falklands should change its name from Stanley to Port Margaret, or even Port Margaret Thatcher, have been treated with scorn by the islands’ newspaper, Penguin News.

“Once the laughter had died down,” it said, “we began to consider the suggestion more seriously and some pragmatic factors began to emerge, like the sheer cost and annoyance that such a move would involve.

“For starters, anything that is currently printed with the word Stanley, from business cards to milestones, would have to be re-printed, or re-chiselled. Would UK MP Tobias Ellwood, who considers such a move appropriate, be prepared to meet the costs involved? I doubt it.”

The paper said the suggestion showed that sections of the British press and political establishment seemed to regard the Falkland Islands as “some kind of quaint toy town to be re-named, re-painted, or perhaps abandoned to the back of the cupboard, according to their whim”.

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Penguin News editor sets out need for rigorous reporting

Screen grab from Telegraph website, featuring picture of Lisa Watson smilingThe editor of the Falkland Islands newspaper, Penguin News, is the subject of the regular “My perfect weekend” feature in London’s Telegraph newspaper. She notes that 95 per cent of students return home to the islands after going abroad to university – a figure St Helena might envy.

She also sets out the value of journalism.

“The islanders take Penguin News very seriously,” she says. “They often choose to phone me rather than the government when they have an issue, and they rely on the paper to give them the facts. For this reason, we tend to do a lot of rumour control and avoid speculation.”

Read the Telegraph article here.

The Sun shines a light on Lisa’s defiance

Penguin News

The day Wayne picked up a penguin (not a chocolate one)

Two Gentoo penguins onj a grey pebble beach - actually Antarctica
Gentoo penguins: hitch-hiking's tricky when you haven't got a thumb (photo by Martha de Jong-Lantink on Flickr)

Even in the Falkland Islands, it seems, a penguin can be a slightly surreal sight. It’s not often, for instance, that they’re seen hitch-hiking.

Quite how a flightless sea bird ended up 30 kilometres inland is not explained in Catherine Lengyel’s article in The New York Times. Perhaps it was in training for the world’s most southerly marathon.

She tells how Wayne, her host at Port Howard Lodge, pointed the spot where he’d spotted the black-and-white stray. “We picked him up and put him in the back seat of the Land Rover. Drove him to the coast at Fox Bay.”

The story provides the opening anecdote in an engaging, intelligent article.

It was spotted by Lisa Watson, editor of Penguin News (“It’s not just news about penguins”). She shared the link on the Twitter messaging website, with the comment: “I’ll put money on it you won’t be able to help smiling at the first anecdote in this Falklands article.”

Read it here.

Gentoo penguin numbers on the Falklands have hit a record high, according to MercoPress news agency. The population is estimated to be 132,321 breeding pairs, the largest number since estimates began in 1933.

The Falkland Islands are thought to be home to more Gentoo penguins than anywhere else.

Rockhopper numbers have “become stable,” according to a census report by Falklands conservation officer Al Bayliss, but well below 1930s levels.


Tristan penguin rescuers triumph – maybe


Gentoo penguins – BBC images and videos
Rockhopper penguins – BBC

This isn’t colonialism, says visiting congressman

If the governor of the Falkland Islands ever visits the United States of America, he should make it clear he is, ‘not a colonial Governor but a Governor of an Overseas Territory and there is a big difference between the two.’ So said Congressman F. Jim Sensenbrenner, a US republican, when he spoke to the islands’ Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

He also said rhetoric from Buenos Aires needed to be cooled, ‘otherwise mistakes might happen.’ Read the Penguin News report of his visit here.

The Sun shines a light on Lisa’s defiance

The Sun newspaper tells the stirring tale of the 12-year-old Falkland Islander who defied an Argentinian invader 30 years ago. It says Lisa Watson refused to budge for the “twitching” commander with the machine gun and faced him down.

Lisa Watson in The Sun. Click the pic to read the story

Lisa is now editor of the islands’ newspaper, Penguin News – a role that has put her in the firing line for Argentinians’ anger once again.

The feature’s headlined: “I defied Argies aged 12 and I’ll keep doing so. Truth is people here are proud to be British”.

Sun man Oliver Harvey gives an assessment of the current situation on the islands, including the implications of oil wealth coming to Stanley.

He quotes the islanders’ offer to use its extra income to share the cost of military protection at RAF Mount Pleasant.

It’s an intelligent, if slightly jingoistic piece of writing, though it should be said that it doesn’t actually have any quotes from Lisa that haven’t already appeared elsewhere, including on this website. Read it here (with thanks to UK-based Falkland Islander Graham Bound for the link).

See also:

Editor Lisa is hatched, thatched and mis-matched
File’s a bitch, and then penguins fly

Dawn search finds missing crewmen in Stanley (updated)

A search operation involving a helicopter and private launches took place around Stanley Harbour in the Falklands in the early hours of Sunday 12 February, reports Penguin News. Seven crewmen missing from a foreign fishing vessel were eventually found safe and well.

No mention is made of who was flying the rescue helicopter. Prince William is serving a brief tour of duty on the islands as a search-and-rescue pilot.

Update: Penguin News now reports the crewmen, all Vietnamese, had jumped into the sea and gone ashore because they wished to contact their families. Read the update here.

Editor Lisa is hatched, thatched and mis-matched

It doesn’t bear thinking about in too much detail, but this message from the editor of Penguin News, on the Twitter messaging website, is too good to resist:

Lisa Watson @Lisafalklands
Best tweet to me this week said I was the unwanted love child of Margaret Thatcher and Ian Paisley +once a year I paint my naked body orange

(Lisa has reported this week how she and other islanders have suffered abusive phone calls in the night from strangers in Argentina).

File’s a bitch. And then penguins fly.

On days when no one’s emailing you, just be grateful you’re not the editor of the Penguin News. Lisa Watson has been getting lots of messages in recent weeks, mostly from strangers in Argentina:

‘Mainly I am referred to as a prostitute, liar, thief and pirate, other words I really wouldn’t like to mention,’ she told The Guardian in London.

That was before someone on her staff uploaded a picture of the Argentinian president on the website of Penguin News – the Falkland Islands’ newspaper.

There was nothing offensive in the text that went with it, you understand. But online pictures have a behind-the-scenes ‘file name’ that isn’t intended for anyone to see, and when people downloaded the picture of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, they found the file name was ‘bitch’.

The file was removed from the site, but the media got hold of the story and it took off: the Penguin was flying. And soon, so were the insults.

A search for “Penguin News” and “bitch” on Google News yielded 1,484 stories, and rising. Plus 151 in an alphabet that might be Greek.

There were also pictures of the offended president, and one of a penguin. Was someone having another dig, you ask?

Actually, no: this particular picture was from a story in Louisville, in America, under the headline:

Paula the Penguin Poops on Kentucky State Senate Floor [News]

No comment – none needed.

Twitter users are encouraged to follow @lisafalklands. This might also be a good week to subscribe to the online edition of Penguin News. As Lisa’s Twitter page says, ‘It’s not just news about penguins.’