It is good to know that my letter attracted a response from Dave Martins which makes me wonder whether it is the popular Dave Martins from the Trade Winds. (editor’s note: it is indeed). Nevertheless, I do agree with him that negativity sells and that bad news is good news in the news business.
However, for many of the newscasts and papers worldwide, while they report on the tragedies and latest happenings, they also highlight positive events in their respective countries. My letter never urged Stabroek News to carry only positive events on its front pages or even in the first half of the paper. But what is depressing is that nothing positive is ever carried on a daily basis and that for me discloses an agenda with a negative motive.
While looking to sell the paper, the media house still has to have a sense of national duty to its country to help in whatever way to promote good relations among the people and to aid in whatever way it can in the development of that country. This could be put simply as a sense of patriotism.
I agree that it is within the purview of the editorial staff to decide what goes into the papers and what should be sent to the trash and that would be in line with working to ensure that the paper sells and that they are able to keep their employees in pay. However, one cannot close one’s eyes to everything that is happening in his surroundings and say nothing good is happening here and thereby label the entire country as a ‘hellhole’ for want of a better word.
It is dishonest and anti-national to say nothing good is happening because you prefer to play up the negatives and then say that Government is doing nothing to make Guyana a better place. Over the years we have seen so many developments. Guyana for this year alone has hosted two major events and will be hosting yet another in a few days’ time. How could it be that nothing good is happening when our people have so much more now?
I feel that the picture being painted about our dear Guyana by the Stabroek News is unfair and although the newspaper would look out for its interest it also serves the people and as such has a responsibility to them.
Bad news sells but it also frustrates. The good little stories stuck in the middle pages of the newspaper will work wonders not only for the locals, but will show others at least a little bit of the real picture rather than have them dumbstruck when they venture to these shores. The surprise would indeed be a nice one when people come here with dread and can experience a sense of ease at the reality. But it would be better to paint the right picture so that more people would be encouraged to visit and aid in the development process of our country.
The letter Mr Martins replied to was written by Mr Charles not by Ms Saywack as Mr G.H.K. Lall has pointed out.
It is absurd to say that this paper does not print positive news about the government. We routinely cover fully all government press conferences and highlight any new investment or other positive development.