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The press should be unbowed in its pursuit of the truth and not engage in self-censorship for fear of public backlash, says veteran journalist Kaymar Jordan, the new editor-in-chief of The Gleaner.
Addressing a Press Association of Jamaica public forum yesterday evening at The Jamaica Pegasus in New Kingston, Jordan was emphatic that the news must be a factual reflection of the society it serves, “be it in terms of the spiralling crime situation, our fast-depreciating dollar, corruption at the highest level, or red flags in other areas, such as entertainment and sports”.
A self-confessed “unapologetic news hound”, Jordan waded into the controversy over a recent Sunday Gleaner story that explored a charity show hosted by Jamaican entertainer Orville ‘Shaggy’ Burrell to raise funds for the Bustamante Hospital for Children. She defended the story as fair and balanced, covering all the bases and airing the views of the relevant parties.
Jordan, a Barbadian with more than 20 years of experience in radio, television and print journalism, said that although The Gleaner had taken flak for being “anti-Shaggy”, the newspaper would be unafraid of probing hot-button issues.
“There are certainly no sacred cows when it comes to the truth,” she said.
Likening journalists to doctors who are guided by the Hippocratic Oath, Jordan said media practitioners should rigidly adhere to professional principles, ethics and standards. She urged journalists not to be swayed by political or other persuasions because biases or personal agendas should play no role in the production of the news.
“I wish to assure you, as I stand before you today, that I am neither pro-JLP, or -PNP, or pro- anything else for that matter, except pro-journalism, and this will be the only marker used in making editorial decisions,” she said.
Jordan also called for media organisations to invest in newsrooms sufficiently in order to promote the culture of investigative journalism, supporting the quest to unearth truth. Reporters, she said, “especially in instances where details are in short supply”, should “dig deeper and deeper until they arrest that elusive guy, the one we all know but can’t seem to pin down – the truth”.
While acknowledging views that the news was too negative, the editor-in-chief urged readers and viewers to focus less on the message and messenger, challenging them to partner in reshaping cultural norms and realities.
“If the news is merely mirroring what is taking place in our communities, it stands to reason that the behaviours and daily happenings are what are too negative,” Jordan said.
News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20191119/journalists-must-be-tough-and-fair-says-gleaner-editor-chief