Delaware, USA – The Liberia Broadcasting System (L.B.S.) former celebrated news anchor, Kwame Clement says Liberian journalists in the United States operating under the banner of the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) will become a force in Liberia if, they remain united. Mr. Clement, who is a lawyer in the US, said sponsoring university students who are interested in the field of Mass Communications and the electoral process are some of the ways ALJA can become relevant in the country.
According to an ALJA press release, the LBS former Assistant Director General for News and Public Affairs spoke Saturday, January 31st when he delivered the keynote address at the Association’s reorganization meeting held in New Castle, Delaware. Mr. Clement said with the improvement in media technology and availability, Liberia has seen a growth in media institutions, but said these institutions are faced with many challenges that include the lack of training opportunities for promising journalists. He said ALJA could play a pivotal role in “polishing the raw talents” of these young journalists in the areas of news writing and television production as there are more newspapers and TV stations in the country now as compared to the past when he was a young journalist.
Attorney Clement encouraged the ALJA Interim Administration to lead by example by involving members in the affairs of the Association, noting that most organizations collapse because of the lack of transparency and the multiplicity of goals. He said it would serve the Association well if the leadership is transparent and focuses on one achievable goal at a time, instead of simultaneously undertaking many projects at once.
Also making remarks at the occasion, former Presidential Press Secretary Patrick Kugmeh said he was excited to have flown from Minnesota to Delaware to be part of the meeting, and pledged his support to make the Association vibrant once again. For her part, former LBS Television personality, who now teaches communications and television production at the Morgan State University in Maryland, USA, Welma Ma-she-ne-ne Redd, commended the organizers of the meeting, and spoke of the need for every professional to get involved in how the country is run, with members of ALJA being of no exception.
Earlier in his opening statement, ALJA's Acting Chairman Moses Sandy recounted the challenges that led to the Association's dormancy, but said with the gathering of over 25 journalists from across the country, it was a signal that they were ready to move forward with a renewed vigor for a better ALJA. He praised members of the organizing team whose support, he said, brought about a successful meeting of US-based Liberian journalists.
In a statement to ALJA marking the historic gathering, the President of the Press Union of Liberia (P.U.L.), Abdullai Kamara, said “we respect you for getting over the misunderstanding that caused such setbacks for ALJA over the years, and look forward to more constructive dialogues and undertakings that would strengthen the relationship you gained through your professional collaboration.”
ALJA was founded in 1998 in Washington, D.C., to promote camaraderie among Liberian journalists in the Americas, and promote press freedom and good governance in Liberia. However, the Association crumbled in 2004 due to differences amongst its members. ALJA has, meanwhile, elected former LBS Radio Producer, Volcano Shelton and the Monrovia based Inquirer Newspaper Melissa Chea as the Association’s Acting Co-chairman and Treasurer respectively. Journalists Shelton and Chea were elected by attendees of the January 31st ALJA mass meeting.
During the meeting, Acting Chairman Sandy appointed Mr. Jackson Seton, former News Editor of the Inquirer Newspaper as the ALJA Coordinator for the States of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. In furtherance of the ALJA resuscitation process, a post crisis convention of ALJA members is expected to be held in October 2015 in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.