The stuff of giants
January 22, 2007
The Kaieteur News is not in the business of putting anyone out of business. From the very first day that our printing press rolled we made it clear that we were not here to compete or to put anyone on the breadline.
We have adapted our newspapers over the years in keeping with our strategy to ensure the widest possible coverage and circulation. One merely has to take a look at yesterday's edition of the Kaieteur News to understand how successful we have been and how responsive we have been in providing the sort of news that the public needs.
Our Sunday edition of yesterday was far superior in all respects to our sister newspapers.
It is true that we do not have a business supplement. We have not as yet seen the need to have one because we believe that business issues are adequately covered in our newspaper which provides balanced coverage on a wide range of issues.
We also believe that our columnists do a good job of dealing with economic and business issues.
That one of our sister newspapers has felt the need, historically, to identify with the interests of the business class is a position that we respect. This column also pointed out years ago the limitations of one of our sister newspapers' business page, since the person writing the page was also associated with other companies and therefore could not share with readers his opinion on the performance of those companies since this would have been a conflict of interest.
Despite this reservation and other criticisms, it took years before this situation was addressed by the publishers.
I do not share the mistaken belief that simply because one newspaper carries a business supplement once weekly that it somehow is a superior newspaper or is entitled to a greater share of government advertisements, for as was argued in these columns before, merely having a business supplement does not automatically translate to circulation.
During the ten-year drought of the Kaieteur News, a period in which we did not receive any Government advertisements, the Stabroek News whose market share was gaining because of the opposition instigated boycott of the Guyana Chronicle, began to publish what it deemed the audited figures of its circulation.
This, I believe, was a terrible thing to do in light of the deliberate campaign waged by the opposition against the Guyana Chronicle. It was akin to rubbing salt into the wounds of the injured. It was a terrible thing to be grandstanding when a sister newspaper was suffering.
When this newspaper climbed its way to the top, when our circulation surpassed that of all of our competitors, we could have if we wanted, also published the figures of our circulation. In fact this matter was raised with the staff since some felt that by announcing that we were on top, we could attract more advertisements, including State advertisements which we were still not obtaining.
However, Kaieteur News is not in the business of running anyone out of business. Even today after our circulation can no longer be ignored and we have begun to receive some State advertisements, there are still things over which we can complain but which we have opted not to do.
For example, Uncle Freddie has pointed to certain hotels which do not offer to their guests the Kaieteur News but only the Guyana Chronicle and the Stabroek News. How is it that the GHRA has not complained that the tourists in Guyana are entitled to read the views of the Peeper?
Uncle Freddie has also pointed out that even today many Government ministries do not subscribe to the Kaieteur News. Should we raise this as breach of press freedom? Are we not entitled to complain that certain Government Ministries to this day simply do not subscribe to the Kaieteur News?
We will not do so because this newspaper is not about dominating. We do a great deal of good things within this country without blowing our trumpet.
The Peeper simply asks which newspaper in this country offers to religious groupings free advertisement. Which newspaper does this? Kaieteur News of course.
We also, upon request, assist a number of social groups by not charging them for promoting their activities. This newspaper also has a track record each year of hosting a medical outreach team to this country, an endeavour in which hundreds of Guyanese are offered free medical services.
In addition, we also run public service announcements free of cost. We do not boast about these things.
Kaieteur News does not boast about the humanitarian work that we do, much of which is often not publicised because we help out of a willingness to do good and not to build goodwill.
It was this newspaper that organized the largest relief package every in the history of this country to help the victims of the Tsunami and later the earthquake victims of Asia.
Earlier this year, we lost five of our staff members and we did not ask anyone to assist. However, because people love this newspaper so much there was an outpouring of unsolicited donations that ran into millions to help the families of those who were killed at our printery.
This has been our record. We have hardworking and dedicated staff that will jump out of their beds in the wee hours of the morning just to get a breaking story to bring to the readers. This newspaper goes into dangerous situations just to get the news to bring to you the readers and this is what sets us apart from the competition.
On that tragic night of August last year, Uncle Adam, with grief and shock written all over his face, looked upon his five dead colleagues who were cold-bloodedly murdered, and said that the greatest tribute we could pay to these men would be to print the paper for the next day.
And when Glen Lall, with tears streaming down his face, said, “Let's do it!” it showed the stuff that Kaieteur News is made of. It is the stuff of giants.