Sat | Dec 16, 2017

Increased entries but concerns about PAJ submissions

Published:Wednesday | December 6, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Ruel Reid (centre), Minister of Education, Youth and Information, chats with representatives of the Press Association of Jamaica (from left) Michelle Wilson-Reynolds, president Dionne Jackson Miller, Karen Findlay and Audley Boyd during last week's journalism week.

The judges who assessed submissions for this year's Press Association of Jamaica's national journalism awards were happy with the increase in the number of entries which rose from 143 to 215, reflecting a 50 per cent increase. However, the appalling quality of some entries remains a matter of grave concern, chief judge Patrick Harley told Saturday's night's stellar event at the Courtleigh Theatre, New Kingston.

"As is customary, there were some very good entries in some categories and there were some categories that were very competitive. However, I have to again report that an increasing number of judges commented on the unsatisfactory standard of a few entries. Whereas in the past we were focus was on the reporter or the producer, this time the common question was: 'How did the editor who signed the form allow this entry to be submitted?'" Harley noted.

"So it is another call for us to be vigilant. We are all very pleased about the increase in the number of entries but we are calling on the managers in the newsrooms to more carefully monitor the quality of the submissions that they approved."

Last year, the judges complained about guidelines that were not followed in some categories, an issue Harley also addressed.

"If the guidelines ask for three stories that's what it means, it means three stories only. Not two, not four, not six," the chief judge reiterated

But there were some other improvements worthy of notice, he reported.

"Last year there were also problems with entries that were not properly labelled and there were some other basic issues. We are happy to report this year that there has been a marked improvement in that regard," Harley stated.

"Some other good news. Last year we reported a decline in the number of submissions in the radio category. We are very pleased to report this year that there was an increase. We are not saying that we are satisfied with the number of entries but we're encouraged that it is trending upwards."

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com