The Full Story
Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with responsibility for Information, Hon. Robert Morgan, says the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) is an example of public-sector transformation. He is lauding the JIS for maintaining its reputation as the lead agency for credible government information.
Minister Morgan notes that the agency is a very important part of the government communication ecosystem. “I think that you have done a lot of work over the last few years,” he said recently when he addressed the staff.
He notes that the production and public relations departments have been doing a lot of work assisting government agencies and offices with their events, recordings, advertisement production and placement. “The reward for good work is more work and the reward you are going to get over the next couple of years is more work because there is nowhere else that the Government can go to that has an infrastructure and professional staff as good as you,” said Minister Morgan on his recent visit to the agency.
The JIS is on a continuous path of innovation and transformation. Its latest accomplishment is the ISO 9001:2015 certification by the National Certification Body of Jamaica (NCBJ) for its core process – events coverage and news production
“The ISO 9001:2015 certification is a significant achievement for us at JIS,” says Chief Executive Officer, Donna-Marie Rowe. “It means that our Quality Management System is certified to international standards,” she explains, adding that she believes the JIS is the first media house to receive the coveted certification.
Through the certification process, the JIS has developed a quality policy that drives its operations and service to clients.
“Ask any JIS employee and they will be able to tell you their role in making the quality policy a reality. This is our commitment to our clients… to produce high-quality products and services to their satisfaction. In fact, our strategic theme this year is to surpass their expectations,” the CEO explains.
She further notes that team members have embraced the concept of continuous improvement, making it a part of the culture.
The CEO is also proud of the fact that the JIS has, over the years, been recognised by the Press Association of Jamaica and other media partners, who appreciate the credibility, timeliness and accuracy of the agency’s output as well as its social media presence.
She notes that the reigning Civil Servant of the Year is a JIS team member –Andrine Davidson, Special Projects Manager.
“This is a testament to the outstanding performance of our team members, made possible through constant investment in building capacity and creating an enabling and empowering environment,” says Mrs. Rowe.
With a mandate to inform the public of the policies and programmes of the Government of Jamaica, the JIS became an executive agency in 2001, signalling the start of its modernisation process.
While its core duty remains the coverage of government’s events and initiatives, the entity has evolved as a one-stop media production and public relations hub, supported by a team of skilled professionals, sound managerial practices and cutting-edge technology.
The JIS utilises a range of media skills and talents in print, radio, television, digital, graphics, video production, and public relations and marketing to provide communication services to the public sector and to reach the wider Jamaican audience.
The agency operates at three locations – a head office at 58a Half-Way Tree Road, a television studio at South Odeon Avenue in Kingston and a regional office in Montego Bay.
Mrs. Rowe explains that as a Model B Executive Agency, the JIS is mandated to earn between 40 and 65 per cent of its expenditure from fees. This, she says, is made possible through revenue generated from services offered to the more than 200 ministries, departments and agencies.
“We have generated more than 200 per cent in gross revenue [and] 78 per cent in net revenue over the last five years. Our employee morale has moved from 42 per cent in 2010 to 71 per cent in 2020, our favorability rating is also at 71 per cent among Jamaicans,” says Mrs. Rowe.
Meanwhile, Senior Director, Corporate Services, Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority, Amorley Hibbert, says that over the years, her organisation has used JIS’s services in several ways.
“We recently concluded our virtual conference, which was a tremendous success, and in that JIS assisted us in social media, [and] our brand awareness. They have created storyboarding for us, they have done all our videos and it was to the international requirement,” she says.
For the JIS, customer satisfaction and service delivery are driving forces behind its performance, and as such, several initiatives have been implemented to enhance revenue, expand its reach and modernise services.
These initiatives include social media management, web development and live streaming services, digitising and monetising the agency’s intellectual property, Studio 58A and the establishment of the Quality Management System.
The agency’s flagship Jamaica Magazine programme continues to be a source of information for all Jamaicans. Each programme is uploaded on the agency’s YouTube channel and website.
Senior Photographer, JIS, Dave Reid, who also worked at JAMPRESS, the then national press agency, says that he is happy with changes at the JIS.
“Working at the JIS now, there is more excitement in what you do… because of the new technologies that we are working with we’re able to reduce our turnaround time, which allows us to do more work… satisfy more clients… which is good for revenue,” he says.