St. Croix visit
On Saturday, a Beaconite joined other media outlets and a group of farmers from Tortola on a journey to St. Croix for the island’s annual Agricultural Fair. The three-hour-long journey there was through rough seas, and to prevent seasickness the reporter had to lie down and close her eyes until arrival. At-large Representative Neville Smith helped make sure guests reached the fairgrounds safely and with adequate transportation to and from the ferry. The Beaconite was met with kindness from each person she spoke to at the fair. One source offered her lavender lemonade. Another was so pleased to hear that people from Tortola came just for the show that he gifted Mr. Smith three books, and then gifted the reporter those same books for being the messenger. After three or four hours of enjoying the festival, attendees returned to the ferry. The reporter was famished and grabbed a cup of chili and a bottle of Carib at a nice restaurant by the dock called No Bones. The owner there took special care in making sure the reporter got her food with enough time to make the boat. While on the ferry back, she joined her colleagues from other news outlets to share her experience on camera. She’s looking forward to seeing the video on social media soon, and hopes for another experience to connect with neighbouring islands. She also hopes that this territory will reinstate its own annual Farmers Week. The last one was held in 2016, and she believes it is high time to resume the tradition.
Sometimes trying to get in touch with sources can be the most frustrating part of reporting an article. This is especially true when a reporter is being ignored by a particular public officer or government agency. In a perfect world, government would consistently relay information to the press, who would pass that information to the public so they can hold accountable and/or reward their elected officials. Of course, life is complicated and people are busy, so if a Beaconite cannot quickly extract information from a government office, he understands it is part of the job and just keeps trying. When the opposite does occur, it can feel like a small miracle. That is what happened last week, when he called the Deputy Governor’s Office to confirm a rumour, left a message describing his query, and was promptly called back by a communications officer who was able to provide the essential facts confirming said rumour. The Beaconite then wrote an article updating the public on crucial matters regarding the criminal justice system. The Beaconite understands why reaching sources can’t always be so easy, but he sure wishes it was. He thanks the officials at the Deputy Governor’s Office, who also have been helpful with other requests, for their professionalism and kindness. Everyone benefits when public agencies are responsive and open to providing information to the media and the wider public.