Veteran journalist shares thoughts on social media culture

Communication Specialist at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, Granville Newell

Communication Specialist at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, Granville Newell, recently shared his take on the current social media culture and the virtues of journalism.

Newell does not believe there will ever be a time that social media will render traditional media obsolete; a sentiment echoed by experts in the past.

“What has social media culture taken over? Certainly not good journalism,” he asserted.

“I recognise social media for what it is; a great instrument for getting information out into the public space with amazing speed. But alas, oftentimes accuracy and truth are sacrificed by social media,” he shared.

Co-existence

He continued; “social media is here to stay and should certainly be made use of in the spreading of information. As to it taking over, I may be blind but rather I see co-existence, not traditional journalism ceding its position to social media as the credible presenters of news. Not in the immediate future anyway.”

Granville Newell’s career in journalism spans decades. It started in 1970 at the RJR newsroom on Lyndhurst Road.

“Though I was a bit of a writer, I knew very little about the field of journalism,” Newell admitted. “But I had great ‘teachers’ and an eagerness to learn the trade which I found exciting from the start. Among my ‘teachers’ in the RJR newsroom were journalists such as the ‘late great’ J. C. Prout, who was the news editor when I got there; Terry Smith, Clifton Segree and Basil McFarlane. And then there was Keeble McFarlane and Janet Mowatt.”

“The platform on which good journalism is built is truth.”

— Newell

Throughout his expansive career, he helped to conceptualise two prominent talk shows, Exposure and Beyond the Headlines, the latter of which he collaborated on with the likes of Dionne Jackson-Miller, Earl Moxam, and Paulette Williams.

Between 2001 and 2003, he was press secretary to the Most Honourable PJ Patterson. Newell cherished this role as it had “opened up [his] eyes to a new world” and was an “enriching contribution to [his] development as a Communications Specialist.”

Newell is among the first Jamaican graduates from CARIMAC

Newell is among some of the first Jamaicans to receive their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the Caribbean School of Media and Communication [CARIMAC].

Indeed, he has come a long way from the district of Johnnies Hill at the foot of the Bullhead Mountain in northeastern Clarendon. He describes his upbringing as a humble but “enriching” experience.

From Johnnies Hill to CARIMAC, to the RJR newsroom, and beyond, Granville Newell has, over the years, developed his own philosophy on ‘good’ journalism. A belief he was only too happy to share. 

“The platform on which good journalism is built is truth. In their book, ‘The Elements of Journalism’, authors Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel say that ‘journalism’s first obligation is to the truth’,” said Newell.

“[These are] truths by which we can operate on a day to day basis. If truth is not the aim, the journalist has failed even before he or she sets out to inform.”