National and external recognition and acclimation of the work and contributions of The Analyst have been mammoth throughout its 14-year existence. Doubting Thomases were brought to their knees when, two years ago, the Secretary of State of the world’s sole superpower, Hilary Rodham Clinton, visited Liberia and singled out the paper, raised it in the air, and made fond remarks about Liberia and its emerging peace and democracy.
The United States’ third powerful, and therefore the world’s third public official, was actually responding to journalists’ question on what she made of Liberia’s recovery and development in just few years after a destructive long-running civil conflict.
An epitome of what the US Foreign Minister thought demonstrate a progressive achievement was expressed in the quality content and stylish outlook of The Analyst newspaper. She flaunted for public view a copy of the special edition of The Analyst when was specifically prepared for the visit. That edition appealed to Clinton whose country has some of the world’s greatest print media empires. The Analyst’s special edition tickled her mind so greatly that she brandished with it as a testament of Liberia’s post-war development strides.
For the management of The Analyst, that was a momentous day; that their paper, when also was recognized by the Press Union of Liberia as the “Best Newspaper of the Year” would excite the attention of the world through a revered diplomat and stateswoman.
The incident was followed by wonders and graciousness amongst the newspaper’s many readers and admirers, who perhaps hold the belief that taking up The Analyst from a horde of other newspapers made available to her while talking about the progress of Liberia, was an outstanding recognition.
Associated Press writer Matthew Lee, who attended the press conference during which Secretary Clinton made that magnificent gesture of recognition, described the event this way:
“Asked about that during a news conference in Monrovia, Clinton ignored the question and referred Instead to an approving headline in a Liberian newspaper. Holding up the front page of a local tabloid, The Analyst, Clinton pointed to a smiling photograph of herself and to the headline, ‘HILLARY ARRIVES, LIBERIA GLEES’.”
He then quoted the top US diplomat as commenting further on her impression of The Analyst, ‘I opened this newspaper, and I think she looks like she’s having great time’.
The Analyst’s management missed most of the event that callers said was broadcast on local television live, but the Managing Editor of The Analyst, Stanley Seakor said what was missed was supplied by callers who were upbeat about the paper’s gold class recognition.
“That was gold. The Analyst has hit gold,” said one caller who was shouting above her head to dramatize her impression about what she was watching on television from home.
“Managing Editor, where are you right now? Are you watching the press conference being jointly hosted by President Sirleaf and Secretary Clinton? Well, if you are not, let me tell you that Hillary Clinton, the No.3 person in the US Government has The Analyst in her hand; I mean she lifted it up in her hand. I never really got what she was saying, but the fact that the US Secretary of State could lift your paper in the air brought joy to me. Let say a big thank you to you and your able working staff. Journalism in Liberia is improving,” the first caller said.
Another call came in just while the Managing Editor Seakor was trying to place the identity of the first caller.
“Chief our paper is in Secretary Clinton’s hand, showing it to everybody. She is talking about Liberia on the move. Chief I am too happy,” said the familiar but rushed voice of the paper’s Executive Mansion Correspondent, Nathaniel Daygbor, who was calling from the scene of the press conference.
Several more callers pitched in, repeating the scene and saying how grateful they were that the paper’s analytical effort was paying off and holding the attention of international visitors and diplomats.
“In Liberia, we often measure progress by cash return. Nothing is worth being happy about unless that thing brings in monetary kickback. But this is not how we at The Analyst see it. That someone, under no obligation to do so, recognizes our efforts brings to us all the happiness of professional achievement,” said Mr. Stanley Seakor.
Meanwhile, members of the paper’s fans and readership continue, up to yesterday, to call in to praise the management and staff of the paper and to congratulate them on the occasion of their 14th Anniversary.
The Analyst was established some 14 years ago not only to put advocacy journalism to test in Liberia but also to go beyond the news, pry, and analyze the issues of national significance that prompt the headlines. This brand of journalism, though new to Liberia, has since been accepted by many national and international readers.
A few readers who are acclimatized to quick, spot news reading are however slowly catching up, according to an internal survey conducted by management recently on both the hardcopy and internet edition of the paper.
“This has strengthened our resolve to do even better,” said the paper’s Editorial Consultant, B. Ignatius George, who is currently residing in the U.S. On the 20th Anniversary Celebration, many calls eulogizing the paper and its management have come from various personalities and groups.
Certainly, The Analyst success story does not come from the vacuum, said Timothy Jusu Kingston, an AMEU student who says he has been reading the newspaper from his high school days.
A Canadian-based Liberian executive wrote in 2010, “The Analyst has pioneered vibrant print journalism by breaking the record as the first Liberian paper to obtain and operate its own website. The Analyst venture has brought to an end the inconvenience we face here in the Diaspora by surfing several websites before accessing news from back home.” The Analyst website is currently down for technical reasons.
Resident Liberians have also continued to send words of commendations. Classroom teacher James Tarjuo wrote a note, saying: “Every media friendly Liberians as well as non-Liberian residents are not surprised by the gains that The Analyst has made. Even while it was erratically on the market during the hot days of Charles Taylor, The Analyst was great reservoirs of quality writings and information.”
“As you celebrate this year’s anniversary on the cyber traffic beyond the fall of tyranny, I salute you comrades for your resilience, fortitude, and creativity. I implore you for making The Analyst remain a source of delight for all Liberians, particularly students of literature who are mostly attracted because you are maestro of pen and fact,” states an email from a former senior staff writer of the paper, Sherman C. Seequeh
“We are on the move to uphold the dignity of Liberian media,” Managing Editor Stanley Seakor, smilingly, said. “Most countries around us do publish quality magazines to educate, inspire and entertain their citizens. We’re going to prove that Liberian journalists can do likewise or better. Again, we at The Analyst will lead this effort in the new Liberia.