As indicated in an earlier post, I-Witness News is now on an indefinite hiatus, which began at midnight on July 15, 2012.
After writing for I-Witness News for the past three years — while I was studying in Taiwan — I have decided to return to mainstream, commercial media. I am now employed at Searchlight newspaper in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Interestingly, I joined the company 10 years after they provided me with my first training in journalism.
I will consider converting I-Witness News into a commercial venture some time in the future, depending on the circumstances. Hence, I encourage you to keep your subscriptions and to continue to use our discussion forum, where all comments will continue to be subject to moderation.
It was a pleasure to have served you, my readers, over the past three years. I-Witness News began as a requirement for my Internet journalism course while I read for my undergraduate degree in journalism and mass communication. It continued even as I read for my master’s degree (in international affairs).
Our first story “Dean: Insufficient Courses Result in ‘Required Electives’ at MCUIC” explained to students of Ming Chuan University in Taiwan why they were forced to take certain elective courses, and our latest article, “UK journalist writes book on Black Carib Wars”, reported on Christopher Taylor’s book about indigenous Vincentians.
We reported on the 2009 Constitution Referendum in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), the 2010 general election and, among other things, was among the first Vincentian media to warn of the approach of Hurricane Tomas, which devastated SVG’s banana cultivation and significantly damaged the nation’s infrastructure at the end of October 2010.
Because of my work at I-Witness News, I have been accused of being an arm of the opposition New Democratic Party, the Internet version of the Agency for Public Information — and, hence, a public relations medium for the Unity Labour Party administration — and, among other things, a spokesperson for both Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace.
In all of this, I have tried to be true to my profession notwithstanding the limitations of the confines in which I operated and some people’s seeming inability to understand or unwillingness to accept that there are still people who will provide such a service — free to the reader and at no financial gain to the provider — simply because of the love of a profession — in my case, journalism.
I have invested much of my time and money with very little if any financial gain. About two of my readers — one of whom is a relative — contributed to my effort, with their contribution totalling less that US$100. I used the money to purchase space to allow me to upload audio files, change the domain name, and to defer some of the cost of the many phone calls I made from Taiwan to St. Vincent.
But that is not to say that I did not benefit from this exercise. I have honed my skills and kept the name of “Taiwan-based Vincentian journalist Kenton Chance” in the public domain and marketed my skills as a reputable and efficient media practitioner.
In total, I have posted 1,365 articles, fewer than 20 of which were written by other people. There were 9,867 comments, 9,795 of which were approved. I am a firm believer in freedom of speech and while I personally disagreed with much of what was said, I did not approve comments only if they were spam or if I considered them to be potentially libellous. And while most writers of such comments used fake email addresses, when they did not, I offered them an opportunity to modify their comments to avoid potential legal implications.
At the time of writing this, the blog had amassed 2,049 followers and has received 765,910 hits — about 60,000 hits per month since last October, when I asked readers to subscribe after I stopped sending out email updates, as was the case previously.
So, as I move on to my next venture, I say thank you to all my readers and contributors, including those who submitted articles, provided information, photographs, audio or video recording, or any other contribution that helped in my effort. I thank also those who contributed their money. All of your various contributions went a long way and was appreciated by the rest of the I-Witness News community and I. A special thank you to those who help to proofread and those who provided legal advise — all done without any sort of compensation. Whoever you are and whatever your contribution was, I sincerely thank you.
If you wish to stay in touch with me, the contact portal on the blog will remain active — as will the archives and discussion forum. You can also reach me via Facebook or Twitter. Also, please consider subscribing to my personal website, where I would sometimes share my views on issues, not necessarily relating to journalism.
Once again, it was a pleasure to have served you at I-Witness News and I look forward to serving you again in a similar capacity should the opportunity present itself.
With sincerest regards,
Kenton X. Chance
St. Vincent and the Grenadines