THE PRESS UNION of Liberia (PUL) announced, last Saturday, that it has endorsed its 2008 Award Committee’s selection of The Analyst for this year’s “Best Newspaper Award”. Subsequently, Monday this week, the Union made good its endorsement by presenting a certificate to the paper’s management. The certificate reads: “Certificate of Award to The Analyst Newspaper by the 2008 PUL Award Committee as the Best Newspaper of the Year”. The Union moreover said it considers The Analyst deserving of this prestigious, covetous annual award more than other contestants for several reasons, outstanding amongst them being its “qualitative analysis” of news stories. Besides, the Union said the paper’s news stories came from well-researched backgrounds and were presented with thoughtful balance, accuracy, and objectivity often in grammatically correct terms. And that was not all. The Union said the paper distinguished itself by publishing thought-provoking presidential advisory feature articles under its “Memo To The President”, which discuss issues of national significance with the President of Liberia. “The paper’s editorials were substantial in terms, touching the nucleus of what the focus is, [and] it published photos that did not breach journalistic rules,” the Award Committee was quoted as saying in justification of its award.
SINCE THAT ANNOUNCEMENT, scores of professional media colleagues, politicians, civil society leaders, newspaper vendors, the paper’s business associates have been swarming our offices or making phone calls congratulating us and praising the PUL 2008 Award Committee for its objectivity and wisdom. One caller was in accord with Managing Editor Stanley Seakor that the selection of The Analyst as PUL’s best newspaper was overdue. “We do not know where previous awards committees kept their heads,” he said. No one in or out of the PUL will ever know what had been happening and that is not our concern right now. All we can say is we are mighty grateful for the recognition of what we do by our professional colleagues in and out of PUL.
WE WILL RATHER search out the challenges the PUL award brings to our professional growth; and using the 2008 Award Committee’s lead, we will seek ways to perfect where we are graded strongest and adjust where we may be lagging behind other media houses in the country. This is because we read into the award a challenge for growth and expansion rather an accomplished honor, lest we rest on our oars or bask in vain glory. So as we celebrate this professional accomplishment of our times, we resolve to assure the Press Union of Liberia, its award committee, and all those who wish The Analyst well, that we have resolved to press ahead on several fronts.
NOT ONLY WILL we clutch to death our banner call to support and cooperate with “those who strive for a better Liberia” as we remain the “Nation’s Most Analytical Newspaper”, but we pledge, so solemnly also, to endeavor to uphold the professional ideals and goals of the Union. We will maintain our independence, but we will not shy away from holding discussions with the government and opposition political parties through our Memo To The President Column, lead stories, and feature articles. No, we will continue to remind the government that good governance can never be overwrought and respect for and amending to the rule of law will never be acts of patronizing. We may take shots for going too close or drifting away too far and we may cringe, for we respect public and professional opinions on what we do as a national media institution, but we will not lose focus. Our focus being to help save this country through our news and editorial contents, through free and fair journalism.
BUT THESE ARE not only what we pledge to do, having being given a boost by the PUL award as the lead newspaper for 2007/2008. We pledge to expand our coverage and circulation in country by reaching out to our rural readers and advertisers since more than 100,000 readers visit our website daily already. We will seek to revive our dormant columns, amongst them, Analyst Doctor, Analyst Arts & Culture, Analyst Focus, and Analyst Environment, etc as part of our expansion program. In order to achieve these, we look forward to acquiring production equipment of our own – the lack of the equipment seriously undercutting our daily production schedule and our expansion and circulation programs. We look forward, in this endeavor, to support from our friends in the business and international communities and in the civil society to lend us a hand in meeting these great challenges that are now heightened by the PUL award.
JUST AS WE read challenges in the PUL award, we urge the PUL to continue the good work of vetting media houses and media practitioners for honoring. This is a healthy exercise that keeps the media on its heels as it helps Liberia’s recovery efforts. We, having said that, call on the Union to consider propping its evaluation and award program with seed support funds that will prepare for its honorees instant springboards for improvement. This will make the award ever more competitive, creating the inner craving to earn for keep. Regarding this, we call on the government of Liberia and the international community to help the PUL package boost funds for its annual vetting program. We believe that by doing this, the government and the international community will be contributing to press freedom and freedom of speech, two universally acclaimed fundamental guarantees for the building of a free society. They will also be contributing to the building of professional journalism in Liberia.
FINALLY, WE THANK our well-wishers for being with us during our happy hour. We urge them to continue with us in our hours of endeavor to build a greater Liberia by doing whatever lies within their powers. They could do so by placing advertisements in the paper or by purchasing a newspaper daily. In this way they will help The Analyst grow and meet its commitments to the Liberian nation.
All Hail The Analyst, PUL’ Best Newspaper of the Year 2007/2008.