‘New Era Strikes Balance Well’

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By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK New Era Board members and part of management and staff last Friday held a workshop to discuss the corporation’s editorial policy. Chairman of the New Era Board, Vilbard Usiku, said that from the time the board was appointed in 2001, there have been complaints with regard to editorial issues hence the need to create a platform where editorial directives to both management and journalists could be reviewed. Although the Board has trust and faith in the good and professional judgment of journalists, the chairman stated, “trust is good, but control is better.” Journalists are expected to summon up their good and professional judgment in order to ensure that the stories they compile and publish are balanced, objective, accurate and credible. According to Usiku, in the absence of editorial parameters within which journalists should perform their functions, the newspaper would operate like a vessel without a compass. “In as much as we must have trust in the good training, professionalism and good judgment of our journalists, we are cognizant of the fact that journalists are fallible human beings like anybody else,” Usiku said. While journalists might have their own preferences in their reporting, he stressed the directives in the editorial policy should serve to bring editorial practices within the compass of normal and professional journalistic behaviour. This behaviour, the chairman added, should strike a healthy balance between the need to serve the interests of the shareholder and the quest for a competitive product that is not simply viewed as a government praise-singer. Currently, New Era is striking that balance well, he added. “Our mandate (is) clear and that is to provide policy direction to the management and employees of New Era Publications Corporation so as to ensure that New Era lives up to the ideals enshrined in the enabling legislation, the New Era Act No 1 of 1992”, he said.