Sun | Dec 4, 2016

EDITORIAL - Serving up news for 180 years

Published:Saturday | September 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Today, The Gleaner celebrates its founding, 180 years ago, by brothers Joshua and Jacob deCordova, on September 13, 1834.

Few businesses can boast 180 years of existence and even fewer newspapers have enjoyed such longevity. There is something magical about peeling back the layers of our own history, understating fully that we owe our longevity to the men and women who have produced The Gleaner, and to the readers and advertisers who continue to rely on it.

Even though today's Gleaner appears visually different from the advertising sheet of 1834, the spirit of the men and women who produce the paper you are holding in your hands, or scanning on screen, remain as strong as ever.

The decision by the deCordovas was made at a crucial time in the country's history, just when slavery was coming to an end. The newspaper, therefore, became an effective force to awaken the consciousness of the former colonists and locals alike. The history of The Gleaner is very much intertwined with the history of Jamaica, and its role in reflecting the life, growth and tone of the country cannot be overstated.

That debut edition included a promise to "please, amuse and to inform while holding domestic life sacred no attacks on private lives would be made".

And to fulfil its mission, The Gleaner has closely covered the drift of events, both local and international, and tried to explain the world around us. Editorial success has been matched by commercial performance with hot-metal type giving way to modern computerised, digital equipment. We have adapted to the latest technology in order to become a 24-hour news-gathering service.

Our journalists, columnists, photographers, editors and other staff put their heart and soul into producing a package of news, business, sport, features and advertising, which reinforces The Gleaner's reputation as a trusted source. It is as much a paper of interest as it is the paper of record, documenting in words and pictures epidemics, wars, hurricanes, fires, elections, athletic triumphs, biographies, lifestyle, religion, poetry and prose, all of which embodies the Jamaican experience.

Additionally, The Gleaner has enjoyed enormous reader engagement by opening up its opinion pages to a diverse marketplace of ideas conveyed through articles and letters which run the gamut of the analytic to the amusing.

This newspaper has offered important social, political and cultural perspectives on every important event in the life of the country. That is why Gleaner stories are conversation starters at every turn.

The Gleaner has significant brand value and consumer trust built up over these many years. Its management, with savvy and insight, has embraced the Internet in order to increase the media choices available to the average person.

Going forward, The Gleaner's mission will be one of greater empowerment, through information and civic engagement, in service to its loyal readers and the generations to come.

On this milestone day for The Gleaner, our pledge for the next 180 years is that we will continue to be all that a venerable newspaper stands for integrity, authority, curiosity, community, scepticism, compassion and fortitude.

We will continue to stand up for the defenceless and vulnerable, expose the corrupt, and keep a watchful eye on politicians and the powerful.

And something else: We will never be deterred from following the truth, no matter where it leads us.

The opinions on this page, except for the above, do not necessarily reflect the views of The Gleaner. To respond to a Gleaner editorial, email us: editor@gleanerjm.com or fax: 922-6223. Responses should be no longer than 400 words. Not all responses will be published.