AS WE celebrate our 25th anniversary today, we take a moment to pay tribute to our long-standing staff members who have, in one way or another, contributed to our enduring presence on the local media landscape. We thank the many people who have served this paper throughout the years. In particular, we pay tribute to those who devoted between 15 years and 25 years (and counting) to this organisation. A total of 81 such staff members were honoured on Tuesday at a long-service awards ceremony held at Newsday’s administrative headquarters in El Socorro.
We are all too aware that deep and unstinting service is increasingly rare at a time of great transformation within the media sector and as such express our heartfelt appreciation. Given the economic challenges facing the country as a whole, we are also aware of the need to have experienced hands on deck as we steer through uncharted waters.
Being a journalist is not just a job but, in effect, an identity or a lifestyle. Practitioners often have to make many sacrifices. It is the nature of the profession. While reporters are at the forefront of any media organisation, those who work in the press room and in other areas of operations are in effect journalists as well. Each staff member plays an important role. Anything a newspaper achieves it achieves as a team. The profile of those honoured on Tuesday is a reminder of this. If only this lesson of teamwork were understood by all those with the power to make a meaningful difference in the corridors of power. And by power we mean at all its levels.
As the special supplement published in today’s paper shows, this is a vibrant organisation which has sought at all times to provide a public service; to inform, educate and entertain and, crucially, to assist in the deepening of democracy by covering the issues which need to be ventilated in any open society. We have never been in the business of currying favour, rather we have sought to tell it as it is.
While there have been many advances over the last 25 years of our existence, it is clear the media face many challenges. Rhetoric against the media, even among high-level public officials, and practical challenges such as overly draconian legislative provisions as well as the not infrequent risk of litigation being used to frustrate scrutiny are among the hallmarks of the media environment of countries all over the world today.
Notwithstanding, we reaffirm our ideals and pledge to remain committed to the idea of a free press in Trinidad and Tobago. And last, but not least, we say thank you to you our readers.