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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, August 11, 2022
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WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DECADE MAKES

What a difference a decade makes in Virgin Islands journalism.
It was about that long ago that the husband of the owner of the St. Croix Avis went on trial for killing a man.
On the day the jury was to begin deliberating whether to find him guilty or innocent, the Avis ("The Truth Shall Set You Free") ran a large photograph on its front page. The picture was of the Avis owner, her defendant-husband, and their young children.
Under the photograph was a remarkable caption. In large type it said simply "Family Man."
It was the only newspaper front page we have ever seen that was directed at only 12 persons, the members of the jury.
At the time, we had some personal sympathy for the publisher; she was young and had pushed journalistic ethics aside in an attempt to keep the father of her children out of prison (unsuccessfully, as it turned out).
We've resurrected this piece of local journalism history only because of last Friday's editorial in the Avis and its St. Thomas spinoff, the Independent.
Never in our memory has a newspaper(s) excoriated a rival in such terms. The target was the Daily News and its four pages of coverage Thursday about Jeffrey Prosser (he owns the Daily News) and his deal with the government to exchange St. Croix land for retroactive salary increases owed current and retired government workers.
"It was journalism of the most objectionable ilk," cried the Avis/Independent, and it was just warming up.
We assume the young writer of the editorial was unaware of the 10-year-old incident related above when he then declared that a newspaper owner "has no right — none whatsoever — to use the pages of a putatively objective source of news to promote his or her own interests…."
"Such abominable journalism gives all newspapers and other media a bad name and besmirches them….The entire coverage read like a cheap and transparent press release." The Avis/Independent editorial ended by piously pulling out all the stops.
"On this blessed Good Friday, we pray that the Lord will not allow Virgin Islanders to be fooled by Prosser's smoke-and-mirrors act."
Whew!
So the Avis and Independent believe Prosser spoon-fed the story to the newspaper he owns. The Daily News denies this. We wrote in the Source last Thursday that we believe the Daily News denial because, among other reasons, we can't figure out how it would have been to Prosser's advantage to upstage Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's announcement of the deal, originally scheduled for Tuesday but now postponed until later this week.
However, not too many people believe the Daily News denial (or this writer, we reluctantly admit). That's because most Virgin Islanders don't like or trust Jeffrey Prosser.
Prosser has a giant public relations problem. If one of his motives for making the deal with the government was to improve his public image, it didn't work.
And in an interesting way, his own newspaper's scoop about the agreement and its over-the-top presentation of that scoop — "Prosser bails out the V.I." — hasn't made it any easier for him.
Editors' note: Frank J. Jordan is a local radio commentator, former UVI journalism professor, and former NBC news executive.

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What a difference a decade makes in Virgin Islands journalism.
It was about that long ago that the husband of the owner of the St. Croix Avis went on trial for killing a man.
On the day the jury was to begin deliberating whether to find him guilty or innocent, the Avis ("The Truth Shall Set You Free") ran a large photograph on its front page. The picture was of the Avis owner, her defendant-husband, and their young children.
Under the photograph was a remarkable caption. In large type it said simply "Family Man."
It was the only newspaper front page we have ever seen that was directed at only 12 persons, the members of the jury.
At the time, we had some personal sympathy for the publisher; she was young and had pushed journalistic ethics aside in an attempt to keep the father of her children out of prison (unsuccessfully, as it turned out).
We've resurrected this piece of local journalism history only because of last Friday's editorial in the Avis and its St. Thomas spinoff, the Independent.
Never in our memory has a newspaper(s) excoriated a rival in such terms. The target was the Daily News and its four pages of coverage Thursday about Jeffrey Prosser (he owns the Daily News) and his deal with the government to exchange St. Croix land for retroactive salary increases owed current and retired government workers.
"It was journalism of the most objectionable ilk," cried the Avis/Independent, and it was just warming up.
We assume the young writer of the editorial was unaware of the 10-year-old incident related above when he then declared that a newspaper owner "has no right -- none whatsoever -- to use the pages of a putatively objective source of news to promote his or her own interests...."
"Such abominable journalism gives all newspapers and other media a bad name and besmirches them....The entire coverage read like a cheap and transparent press release." The Avis/Independent editorial ended by piously pulling out all the stops.
"On this blessed Good Friday, we pray that the Lord will not allow Virgin Islanders to be fooled by Prosser's smoke-and-mirrors act."
Whew!
So the Avis and Independent believe Prosser spoon-fed the story to the newspaper he owns. The Daily News denies this. We wrote in the Source last Thursday that we believe the Daily News denial because, among other reasons, we can't figure out how it would have been to Prosser's advantage to upstage Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's announcement of the deal, originally scheduled for Tuesday but now postponed until later this week.
However, not too many people believe the Daily News denial (or this writer, we reluctantly admit). That's because most Virgin Islanders don't like or trust Jeffrey Prosser.
Prosser has a giant public relations problem. If one of his motives for making the deal with the government was to improve his public image, it didn't work.
And in an interesting way, his own newspaper's scoop about the agreement and its over-the-top presentation of that scoop -- "Prosser bails out the V.I." -- hasn't made it any easier for him.
Editors' note: Frank J. Jordan is a local radio commentator, former UVI journalism professor, and former NBC news executive.