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No discrimination with publication of Common Entrance Results

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27.JUNE.08

The fact that the Common Entrance Examination results were published only in Searchlight newspaper this year had nothing to do with discrimination, political partisanship or any other evil ascribed to Ministry of Education officials in the ill-informed, irresponsible editorial of the Vincentian newspaper last week.{{more}}

On the contrary, the fact that we published the results had everything to do with the persistence, vigilance, efficiency and hard work of the Searchlight team.

Had the Editor at the Vincentian done the basic investigation that is expected of a good journalist, he would have determined the following: On the morning of Wednesday, June 11th, Searchlight contacted the Ministry of Education to find out if the results would be ready for publication in the Newspaper of Friday, June 13th. We were told to call back. At 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, a senior ministry official told us that the results would not be ready until the following week. We were, therefore, surprised when on the afternoon of Thursday, June 12th, we learned that the results had been released to the schools. We immediately contacted the Ministry of Education who confirmed what we had heard and agreed to provide us with a soft copy of the results.

Our team sprang into action, as we realized the importance of publishing the results that week. Publishing the results eight days after they had been released would significantly diminish their news value.

Within two hours, we had produced an eight-page Common Entrance pass list supplement. Thankfully, unlike some other occasions, it was not too late for our printers, SVG Publishers, to accommodate us, and they agreed to print and insert the supplement in our newspaper.

This is not the first time that Searchlight has been the only Newspaper to publish news that broke on a Thursday in the next day’s paper. A report of the November 29th, 2007, earthquake was carried in our November 30th paper; the March 6th, 2008, bomb scare at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital was reported in our March 7th paper. These are just two examples of at least eight occasions since last August that we have been able to respond to news events in this manner.

A Newspaper that sits back and waits for information to fall in its lap or to be “divulged” to it seems not to be ready for today’s world of competitive journalism. We went after the information, and got it.

So let us not use accusations of partisan political agendas, impoliteness or “political correctness” to deflect attention away from shortcomings which may exist in other quarters.

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