The media is too concentrated, too few people own too much. There are really five companies that control 90 percent of what we read, see and hear. It's not healthy.
Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.
There's less critical thinking going on in this country on a Main Street level - forget about the media - than ever before. We've never needed people to think more critically than now, and they've taken a big nap.
I am the voice of a generation
Greeting once again Montego Bay, after some introspection, rummaging through the remains of the day, I have realized I wrote a slew and rash of Open Letters tackling many of the National Institutions and Government Ministries, and realized that there is one entity or body I failed to tackle and that is the MEDIA. The media in western Jamaica particularly, and the Western Mirror is not exempted from this. For I believe the media in western Jamaica has been lackluster and underdeveloped for too long now. Once people could have escaped under the notion that we are a small demographic without a very intellectual or reading population. Not so anymore. This is the Mobay and western Jamaica of big names, characters and events like Brown Sugar, Usain Bolt, Colin Channer, Jah Cure, Queen Ifrica, Mackie Conscious, Sumfest, ATI Weekend, Jazz & Bluesfest and such. We are now witnessing a growing intellectual community with UWI now officially here and a whole host of other cultural and artistic facets growing fast behind it. Hence it seems odd we have the same floundering fledgling television stations, and only two surviving newspapers of note, and two radio stations.
I believe the western media has been slow in growing fostering and honing great talent. I sincerely believe in the second city lies the next set of big television personalities. I believe Mirror has been long overdue in becoming a western paper, with a western edge and vantage point with NATIONWIDE distribution. I believe western media has also been slow in harnessing new technology and grabbing the new generation’s attention. They have also been slow in reaching deeply and widely into the western Jamaican diaspora abroad. The media out west now needs to be a platform and voice, giving legitimacy and credibility to its talents, writers, columnists, TV personalities, to its audience.
Self-examination by western news and media organizations is always useful and crucial at this junction in Western Jamaica’s growth. In this great future, the Western Mirror needs to mean more to the minds of the people than SUSS and Death notice and Murder updates it is time we seriously go about "Preserving Our Readers' Trust." Because, politics, a republic, a democracy cannot operate without an independent, critical, and responsible press, it is now MOST incumbent on western news and media organizations to continually assess their own performance to see if they are fulfilling their obligations to the PUBLIC.
Because of its importance to the functioning of our political and social life, the press and media will always be subject to criticism and critique. It is then our obligation to take such critiques seriously; doing so requires not only responding to legitimate criticism, but having the fortitude and integrity to reject baseless attacks and the more basal natures in our society.
Today the western media is polluted and clouded with a mountain heap of archaic and ancient media pundits and demagogues it is time to whole heartedly embrace a real and legitimate generation that is of age and time and deserving of having their opinions heard. It is time to “diversifying our vantage point", but not out of fear of sales, but out of a genuine desire to report on the full scope of Montego Bay and Western Jamaica’s social and political life. We the media need to stop perpetuating some of the crudest stereotypes of the nation holds of those outside the main metropolis, like the idea we are small, backward or unentertaining and lacking in vibes or opportunity.
The Wesern Mirror in particular must understand that this paper occupies a unique place in Montegonian and western journalism, with an ability to set the news agenda and the larger political agenda that is unparalleled among news organizations, even those with vastly larger audiences. This power confers upon you a particular obligation to act responsibly and uphold the highest standards of our profession.
Reality for Old Media representatives and executives is self-fulfilling. That is, the reality broadcast through the airwaves and printed on dead wood has for so long influenced the way that the general public perceives reality, it has become inconceivable that a time would come when our pictures and words would no longer drive public opinion.
I am writing this to you as a final warning. That time has already arrived. With the advent of the Internet, people from all over the world, able to tell their own stories and reflect their own perceptions to willing eyes and ears have provided an awakening and shake at the very foundations of what you currently perceive to be reality. A whole generation will be influencing opinion through their peer groups and relying on YOUTUBE and blogs to influence and inform their understanding of our city and how it is perceived. The radio or the paper may not affect this generation if you don’t begin to reflect a modern reality and not the dream of sleeping giants the western media and news organizations have become.
Yannick Nesta Pessoa