By Antoinette Sendolo
Venerable Journalist, Kenneth Y. Best, has called on journalists in the country to be ethical in their daily reports by reporting balanced stories and stop reporting only negative happenings, but should also concentrate on positive developments that are worth reporting. Speaking to this paper to mark his 50th year in journalism, Mr. Best said journalists play a major role in the development of a country because the public relies on them for information so they should be objective, being fully aware that there are two sides to every story.
The Publisher of the Daily Observer Newspaper encouraged journalists to stick to the ethics of Journalism which he described as a noble profession highlighting honesty as a major tool in becoming a professional journalist.
He said the mission of the Journalism profession is to inform, educate and entertain the listening and reading public and as such journalists need to always put out information that are reliable in order to help their country grow.
The veteran journalist called on journalists in the country to be pro-development journalists in order to help in the progress of the country.
“Journalists need to be pro-development journalists because there are so many positive things that happen which need to be reported rather than reporting the negative things all the time. Not just negative, Negative, Negative. As a journalist you need to report stories for the good of the profession and not for money to put in your pocket,” Mr. Best asserted.
Comparing the Press Union in the past to our contemporary Press Union, Mr. Best described the operation of the Union as a one-man show something he said is rather unfortunate.
According to Mr. Best, a former president of the Union, who was one of the founding members of the Union 50 years ago, said the Union was established to provide protection for its members and to strengthen the Press in the country.
He said when the Press Union of Liberia was established, they had meetings monthly and came out with decisions but said today, the Press Union leaders come out with statements without the consent of the Union members.
Mr. Kenneth Best said the leadership of the Press Union of Liberia should be getting in contact with some experienced members of the Union. “I have been in the Journalism profession before the establishment of the PUL and not a single person from the Union has come to get advice from me even during the observance of the Union’s 50 years in existence.”
Meanwhile, the Publisher of the Daily Observer Newspaper encouraged young and aspiring journalists to take their job seriously in order to keep the profession going.
Giving his personal experience as a journalist, Mr. Best explained that it was not an easy journey to reach where he is currently in the Journalism Profession. He said there were times when he was sent to prison for not publishing stories in the interest of government.He recalled how the newspaper was sent ablaze.
He said whatever the situation, journalists should always be objective in their reportage and do not allow themselves to be used by others because of money.
“It is not about how much you can get from this profession but your integrity matters a lot; I was sent to prison so many times for publishing stories that were not in the interest of the government but the good Lord always set me free. You have to put God first in whatever you do if you must become successful”.
”I am almost 76 years old and celebrating 50 years in the journalism profession; it is not because of my wisdom but the grace of the Almighty God who took me through my challenging period and has brought me thus far,” he said.