ANYONE who has been around for a while will tell you that age is just a number. But in the case of Newsday, this month’s birthday on September 20 is a particularly significant milestone. After all, this is a newspaper which, when it hit the streets in 1993 as the new kid on the block, was not expected to last a week. It’s now been 25 years.
Founded in 1993 with Therese Mills as its first editor in chief, Newsday soon became known as the people’s paper, carrying news people can trust. As a travelling exhibition which opens today at Trincity Mall shows, our front pages have always sought to tell it as it is, covering pivotal developments both home and abroad and in the process capturing the hearts and minds of readers. Successive teams of journalists and other employees have ensured this, and we will be honouring specially our long serving staff at a special awards ceremony later this month.
At a time when the media landscape all over the world is fraught with peril, Newsday today stands for freedom of the press, for truth, for telling it as it is, mindful of the fact that no democracy can flourish without freedom of expression and without an unfettered media sector. As Schopenhauer remarked, “Freedom of the press is to the machinery of the state what the safety valve is to the steam engine”.
We have been tried and tested before, surviving a withdrawal of government advertising under the Patrick Manning regime; attempts to silence stories through frivolous actions; and even challenges posed by unforeseen production problems and natural disasters. Through it all, we have endeavoured to remain faithful to our vision to serve the public interest and to inform, educate, entertain and persuade.
As we today embark on the start of the commemoration of our milestone silver anniversary year, we re-commit ourselves to these ideals, mindful of the responsibility we bear as a member of the press and with an eye toward the dynamism and change within the media sector as a whole. We are also mindful that none of this would be possible without our readers who, in communities throughout TT, have supported us and who continue to take advantage of our pages as a forum for public discussion and debate. This is why we are partnering with community organisations in order to mark our silver anniversary.
We seek an even closer relationship with communities, particularly those that are sometimes disenfranchised because their voices are not represented. In the process, we seek to give voice to unrepresented sectors of our society.
As George Orwell noted, “unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban.”
Which is why we pledge to continue our service in whatever form required in these fast-changing times in which one thing is certain: we must have a free media.