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Observer has never wavered, says newspaper chairman

BY INGRID BROWN Associate editor — special assignment browni@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, March 08, 2013    

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CHAIRMAN of the Jamaica Observer Gordon 'Butch' Stewart says the newspaper has never wavered in the commitment it made 20 years ago to stand the test of time as it monitors the performance of Jamaica in every sphere of life.

"When we started the Observer we made a commitment that it would be here to stand the test of time and would be an institution that monitor the performance of Jamaica, every aspect from rural life, church life, political life and there has never been the slightest waver," Stewart said.

Stewart, who was addressing the Observer's 20th anniversary celebration at the newspaper's head offices in Kingston yesterday, said the building a newspaper was not an overnight wonder but one which required the building of of credibility.

"It is one of the only products that every single day... you produce a new product," Stewart said.

The decision to start the newspaper two decades ago, Stewart said, was reached in light of the fact that Jamaica needed to break the newspaper monopoly and give another version of the news to the populace.

Stewart, who is also the chairman of the Sandals chain of hotels, said he wanted the Observer to be the newspaper that brought pride and showed people in their best light.

"The policeman who did a heroic job, save people's lives which a lot of them do everyday; the nurse who went beyond the call of duty to fix and save the life of a patient or a businessman, or an up and coming one... or the people in rural areas who nobody even knew existed. I want to tell these stories every single week of life," Stewart said.

He explained further that it is the intention of the publication to make the everyday Jamaican famous and identify them for the skills and efforts they employ.

At the same time, Stewart said the Observer and its newest arm — the Fyah 105 radio station — are here to educate and give exposure.

Pointing to the some of the Observer's innovative events such as the Business Leaders Awards, the Food Awards and the Observer's celebration of Fashion's Night Out, among others, Stewart said the newspaper continued to give back to society in numerous ways.

He thanked the Jamaican public who has supported the publication from day one, first when it started as a weekly, then twice per week and finally, a daily.

The Observer today, he said, is as good or even better than any newspaper around.

" In fact, I would hate to think of Jamaica without the Jamaica Observer," Stewart said.

And with Fyah 105, Stewart said it was well within the company's grasp to go regional with its electronic news.

Meanwhile, CEO and Deputy Chairman of the Observer Adam Stewart said 20 years is a landmark for a newspaper, and that he was looking forward to the next 20 years.

"Maybe one day we will get into television," he said, adding that the Observer is an innovator and pioneer.

"It is the paper that has changed news media in this country and our job every day is to make tomorrow a better day than today and you are doing a hell of a job and I am proud to be a part of it," the CEO said.

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