JIS News

The Honourable Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports has expressed the view that sports journalism, like entertainment journalism, has always been critical to the commercial success of the media.
Addressing the Press Association of Jamaica’s Annual Veterans’ Luncheon yesterday, Minister Grange said for years sports journalism had been considered as not quite up to the level of journalism “generally speaking” and was often left off the curriculum of journalism schools.
She said that in the last two decades, however, there had been a virtual explosion in the amount of time and space allotted to sports and that it was an indication of the value that the media now placed on sports coverage.
Minister Grange said she welcomed the recognition of the importance of sports journalism and she praised the emphasis on sports coverage evidenced by the PAJ Veterans’ Luncheon honouring sports journalists this year.
The Minister also used the Veterans’ Luncheon as an appropriate forum to observe that, “we at times ignore the personal tragedies attendant on the profession …journalists who retire without even a pension to help them through the evening of their lives.”
“People like Bob West, from the Gleaner, who wrote sports and entertainment until he was laid off and who later experienced a very serious accident and was never able to raise the funds to do the necessary therapy.”
She said the situation was not dissimilar to that of some persons in politics as just recently a Bill was tabled in Parliament for an amendment to Section Nine of the Retiring Allowances Legislative Act, to facilitate payment of a pension to some retired Parliamentarians who were meeting hard times and had no pension.
The Information and Sports Minister said that she was appealing to the PAJ to continue to make the plight of veterans without pensions and in need of help, a primary agenda issue during the term of this administration.
“I hope that sometime in the near future, we can sit down and discuss how we can work out a plan that will help those journalists who, probably, were on contract or were stringers for years and ended up near to destitution,” Minister Grange added.
Minister Grange congratulated the six veteran sports journalists honoured by the PAJ in 2008.
Equally, she had a word for persons just entering the field of journalism and eager to make a name for themselves, imploring them to “remember no great journalist has ever made his or her name at the expense of other people.”
The objective should not be to tear down, the Minister said. “We can all get along, as long as we learn to trust each other.”

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