The Fijian Media Association expressed sadness over the death of Fiji Sun publisher and media industry veteran Peter Lomas.
Described as a “giant of journalism and media development in Fiji and the region,” Lomas died at a hospital in Suva yesterday after a long illness, bringing down the curtain on a remarkable career, spanning more than four decades.
“He is an industry pioneer and one of the last surviving old school ‘newspaper man’ of the Pacific, someone who lived and breathed the news business and practically lived his life in the newsroom,” FMA General Secretary Stanley Simpson said.
“He lived a very private life, more comfortable in the newsroom than out in public.”
Lomas left behind a legacy of modernising and improving content at a number of major newspapers in the Pacific including his final home at the Fiji Sun, and one whose passion for media training and the development of the industry in the region saw hundreds of Pacific journalists go on to hold senior positions in various newsrooms across the region.
“He helped the Samoa Observer and Solomon Star expand to publishing seven days a week and spearheaded the Fiji Sun’s move to digital with investments in technology and training.
“He has guided many journalists in the basics and business of the media, and the art of journalism and was as thick-skinned as they come, standing resolutely on his views and beliefs even under overwhelming criticism about his stand or positions. He was never afraid of being unpopular. “
Lomas started out as a reporter and went through the ranks to become an editor, a media manager, and then a trainer in a career that took him to New Zealand, Australia, and throughout the Pacific. He was chief editor of both Fiji’s major daily newspapers the Fiji Times and Fiji Sun, as well as editor of Islands Business, the leading regional news magazine of the 1980s and early 1990s. He also worked for Elijah Communications in the Cook Islands.
In 2001 Lomas shifted from mainstream media to take up full-time role as media development training coordinator for the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA). He used his connections and international networks including at UNESCO to help channel funding and training opportunities for the media in the Pacific.
Lomas then rejoined Fiji Sun as publisher in 2007 and as such has been involved in penning the front-page headlines and cover stories of almost every major historical event in Fiji until his death.
“The FMA sends its condolences to Peter Lomas family and to our colleagues at the Fiji Sun and commits to continue Peter’s legacy of training and development. Moce mada Peter.”
Lomas died aged 74.
Photo: Fiji Sun