A look at ‘business’ of journalism

I appreciate that an editorial represents an editor’s or his publication’s opinion on an issue. Quite rightly, you head up that page in your publication on which your editorial is published as ‘Opinion & Letters’. Clearly, you and your publication are entitled to hold and express any opinion that you do. 

Having said that, you will not dispute I hope that your main business as a newspaper is pursuing, gathering and disseminating information on issues in the society – in a manner that is financially beneficial to the owners of the publication.  

It follows, in my view, that those who read your editorials have a legitimate expectation that because of your ‘main business’, you inherently have the benefit of access to more information than they may have in forming your ‘opinion’. In turn, it is because of an appreciation of this status that publications usually put great thought and consideration into the editorials that they publish. 

As I read your editorial of 25 June, 2012, I was reminded of the story of a friend of mine who ran his car out of gas one day on Spotts Straight. When he saw someone coming along whom he knew and who knew him, he suddenly felt relieved that he would be given a ride to Brown’s Esso to get some gas and get back under way. To his surprise and dismay, the individual proceeded to point out various things that he saw wrong with his car (alignment, bald tyre, broken light, etc.) and suggested before driving off that he call a tow truck to take it to a garage.  

I believe that you will recognise the analogy.  

For you to have acknowledged in your 27 April, 2012, that “something is indeed inherently wrong with allowing one person who lives in George Town to vote six times while another person who lives in East End may vote but once” but take the position on 25 June, 2012, that this ‘inherent wrong’ should be simply tolerated until other issues that you did not raise in the 27 April editorial are DECIDED is simply appalling! Why should we await a decision on whether candidates have to live in the district that they represent before addressing this ‘inherent wrong’? Why should we await a decision on whether there should be a recall facility before addressing this ‘inherent wrong’? And why should we await a decision on term limits before we address this ‘inherent wrong’?  

As a minimum, I would have expected you to seek to suggest how either: 

our current system WITH its ‘inherent wrong’ is more qualified and capable of considering and deciding on these issues; or  

the consideration of these and other issues would be jeopardised by first righting the ‘inherent wrong’.  

Instead, your editorial simply tries to stir up a cloud of dust to confuse voters and distract them from seizing the opportunity to correct the ‘inherent wrong’. 

Furthermore, since the seven issues that you raised in your 25 June editorial represents “just a small percentage of the issues” that you feel need to be decided, and since in my opinion ‘just a small percentage would be less than say 20 per cent, I presume that you will be sharing with the rest of us what you consider the other 25-30 issues are that also need to be decided before we address this ‘inherent wrong’! 

Sadly, Madam Editor, I am left to wonder whether the commercial considerations of the business have overtaken any responsibility to disseminate opinions based on knowledge, understanding and logical consideration of issues. Maybe that is what happens when your editorial on this subject becomes a source of income as it is deemed worthy by some of reproduction in the form of an advertisement – paid for by the people of these islands! Certainly your 25 June editorial should be a winner on that front!! 

 

Donnie Ebanks 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I enjoy reading the Compass but I have to say that on more than one occasion I have questioned whether the Editorial slant taken was in any way influenced by the advertising money that the elected government can choose to spend of not spend on print ads. The editorial to which Mr. Ebanks refers was one of those occasions.

    Editor’s note: We have offered the same advertising opportunities to the OMOV group and have just this week published two of their letters on the editorial page.

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  2. In reply to the The Press’ comment, it appears Mr. Ebanks perceives the Compass editorial tinged. I see nothing wrong with distain for that sort of thing. The free press epithet does not automatically place one above reproach or make one right or noble.

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