-Gets PUL’s ‘Best Newspaper 2007/2008’ Award
-Management Upbeats, Calls It Deserving
Endurance and commitment, they say, are the linchpins for success. That though may not be so unless it is tempered with professionalism dedicated to achieving goals that meet the needs and aspirations of an institution, a people, and a nation. It seems it is this yardstick that the Press Union of Liberia used to tip, for best performance awards, its media houses and practitioners for 2007/2008. The Analyst was one of the recipients of the Union’s laurels and its management is upbeat. “But for what?” seems a begging question. The Analyst Staff Writer, reports.
The Analyst newspaper has bagged the prestigious and coveted “Best Newspaper 2007/2008 Award” of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), prompting Managing Editor Stanley Seakor to exclaim, “It’s an excellent, overdue achievement!”
PUL awarded the “Best Newspaper 2007/2008 Award” to The Analyst, known to many as the “Nation’s Most Analytical Newspaper”, during its traditional annual award program over the weekend in Monrovia. The Analyst snatched the award from The Public Agenda newspaper, which won it last year.
As proof of its recognition of The Analyst’s services to the nation and to press freedom in Liberia, PUL yesterday handed The Analyst Management a certificate that reads, “Certificate of Award to The Analyst Newspaper by the 2008 PUL Award Committee as the Best Newspaper of the Year”. It was signed by the President of PUL and the chairman of this year’s Award Committee.
The Press Union awards laurels, as part of the celebration of World Press Freedom Day on May 3 each year, to deserving institutions and personalities whose performances were rated above board in the year under review
Sources close to PUL’s 2008 Award Committee told our reporter that The Analyst was selected from a list of several institutions that were nominated by a number of civil society institutions and opinion leaders.
“Many papers had been winning this award. But The Analyst’s selection is a milestone decision since no one lobbied for the paper. The paper was selected purely out of objective analysis of its news content guided by balanced reporting,” the source said.
This year’s Award Committee members included Megg Riggs of the US Embassy Public Affairs Department as Chairman, Spencer Brown, Co-chairman, Ms Ruth Foday, member, Jonathan Refell, member, and Moses Zanga, member.
“But why did the 2008 Award Committee select The Analyst as the ‘best newspaper’ and why did the management say it is an ‘excellent, overdue achievement’?” is the question that observers say needs a follow up.
PUL says the paper is best because its news contents were quantitatively analyzed, giving readers the background and the issues behind the news.
“The paper doesn’t just report news; it analyzes the news and gives the reader the needed insight into the issues. That prepares them for informed opinions and decisions. I think this is commendable and worth emulating,” said one committee member who preferred not be named.
Without saying so, according to one observer, the PUL committee has studied the trends of the paper’s news stories, columns, and feature articles and agreed that they met the good journalism requirement for insightfulness, balance, accuracy, and objectivity.
What the committee did say however is that a substantial number of stories published by The Analyst during the period under review were “well sourced and grammatically correct”.
“They conducted enough interviews to balance their articles, or give them as much backgrounds as possible,” the 2008 PUL Award Committee was quoted by our reporter as saying in justifying the selection of The Analyst.
Besides balance and background, according to the Award Committee, it was The Analyst’s presidential advisory feature article, “Memo To The President”, that distinguished it as a serious-minded news organ dedicated to the revival of the nation.
“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 further quoted as saying in justification.
It said besides the professional yardsticks used in the evaluation, it conducted interviews with vendors who were unanimous that The Analyst was one of the best papers “readers go for”.
When The Analyst’s Managing Editor Stanley Seakor was asked what he made of the selection of The Analyst as the “best newspaper of the year” he simply smiled, shook his head, and said, “Well, it is a great achievement that is simply overdue. We should have captured this title long ago; but it did not come. Perhaps this is the time God has set for our honor.
“Honor comes from above; you can’t force. God spoke to our colleagues this year. I however stand in awe of the wisdom of the 2008 Award Committee which comprised great, level-headed individuals such as the director of public affairs of the United States Embassy in Monrovia.”
He said in past years, media leaders, professionals, members of the international community, members of the diplomatic community, government officials; opinion, political and community leaders, and even newspaper vendors, all approached him at separate times under different circumstances to commend him for the outstanding performance of The Analyst.
“The American and Chinese governments even rewarded our efforts by taking our reporters and senior staffers on short study and reporting tours. And we waited for our colleagues to recognize what we were doing. We waited; it was overdue. But it came and that is all that matters: to be recognized for doing your best in what you believe in and hope will save your country and people from themselves,” Seakor said.
Indeed it came and it’s is all that matters, but Seakor says “it aint no stopping for The Analyst; it is on the move”.
In a related development, this year’s Judicial Reporter of the Year award went to Bruce Boweh of Star Radio and the Legislative Reporter of the Year award went to Moses Kuo of Sky FM while Momolu Dukuly of Daily Observer snatched the Sports Reporter of the Year Award.
Winston Weeks of Heritage is the Photo Journalist of the Year while the Best Radio Newscaster of the Year award went to the only female honoree, Vivian Garty of Star Radio.
Old media hand Jonathan Paye-Layleh of the BBC took the Stringer of the Year award while the Best Columnist award went to Ekena Weslay.
Star Radio, Real TV, and Radio Tappita took, respectively, the Station of the Year, The Best TV, and Best Community Radio awards.