Feb 04, 2014 (LBO) – I first met Mel when she joined The Sunday Times business desk in the late 1990s as a cub reporter after returning to Sri Lanka from studies in the UK. Many of those professional-acquaintances-turned-friends from the early days visited her house over the last two days, called my phone or texted messages, expressing their shock and sadness. Some were no longer in the country and were emailing or sending messages from abroad.

When she left The Sunday Times and was mulling over whether to get into the corporate sector, leaving journalism, she was persuaded to join Vanguard Management Services, which at the time was producing business TV programs but had no print media products.

The message from my boss Lakshman Bandaranaike, who had been reading her stories for a long time, was to simply try to hire her if it was possible. “We will find something that would interest her,” he told me.

I recall doing a position paper saying we should start a SMS based news service and get Mel to run it along with a website to support it. A decade or more ago the there were not that many computer owners and internet users, but mobile was growing fast. Sms alerts

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