Question: I read some comments on CNS that Cayman Marl Road is a blog, and you all are not a journalist or newspaper. Is that true? What qualifications are required to be a journalist in the Cayman Islands?
Answer: Let's start with your last question first. There are no qualifications to be a “journalist” in this jurisdiction per se. There are some procedures if you wish to obtain GIS press releases and court access as a journalist – all of which CMR has satisfied.
Further, CMR contributor Sandra Hill has both an academic writing background and experience in news media. Many people will make uneducated commentary and not realize that her first bachelor's degree is in Professional and Technical Writing. Additionally, back in the early 1990s, she wrote for her university school newspaper. At that time, the university had a campus size that was the equivalent of the current population size of the Cayman Islands. They may be surprised to know that in this capacity, she interviewed some highly esteemed academics and political figures.
Additionally, Hill has written for several Cayman publications, some of which inaccurately refer to her as a blogger.
It's amazing how confused people get about such a term. Several recent comments regarding CMR have left us baffled as to why some persons call what we do “blogging” and make it sound as though it is a lesser form of writing than “traditional journalism.” They throw the term blog around in such an insulting manner whilst at the same time apparently having no true understanding of the concept.
People appear to be genuinely confused about what CMR does and incorrectly refer to it as blogging. So it appears necessary to start with that most basic definition.
Blogging is defined as:
blogging is the process of writing a blog, an online journal in which you share your thoughts about a particular subject with readers.
By that very simple and accurate definition, CMR has never been a blog, and what we do is not blogging and therefore, no administrator is a blogger. We are not writing a journal or diary. Most bloggers focus on a particular area of interest, such as photography, parenting, etc. None of these basic criteria for what a blog is describes with CMR does.
It's important to recognize that often, when people misuse the term blog they are seeking to not legitimize you as a news source. You may not, for example, like the Daily Mail, but they are still an online newspaper. They write about a wide variety of news and topical issues.
There are different quality journalists and publications. CMR was established and founded on the principle that we are for the common person on the street. People don't need to be college-educated in order to read and understand our content. We are not a high-brow publication. Despite this, ironically, we have been widely accepted in the Cayman Islands and around the world by people from all walks of life.
With CMR's newly launched and revised website, we now have the appearance of traditional news forums. The web format previously used was not a blog but a forum – two entirely different things. The site has content contributors who write and provide articles for publication, just like a traditional newspaper.
The concept of the original “Marl Road” was that everyone had access to the news no matter who they were. So we have digitized that process and made the news available online. We carry traditional content such as government releases and information. However, CMR knows that people want the news behind the news – often, the true untold stories. That is where we are willing to go that others are not.
In fact, some of the methods that we introduced, such as naming arrested persons, are now being obviously adopted by other new mediums on this island.
CMR appeals to people and makes no real attempts to sugarcoat what we do. We are a combination of traditional news, investigative pieces, commentary, gossip, and so much more. We are relatable and will touch on topics often seen as taboo. Precisely what the average person is looking for.
Truth be told, we like to give our viewers the news as it's fresh, and we do push the envelope in doing so. The competition has meant that many others have followed suit. We have had “journalists” from other organizations inform us they watch us to know what news is breaking.
The popularity of our unusual format has been no mistake. We are experts at marketing and understand the true desires of the people – some who are unwilling to admit that they love the Marl Road the most. We bring you stories about people – people just like you living in a less-than-perfect place we call paradise.
Admittedly we are not everyone's cup of tea, but the beauty of the online news options is there is something for everyone.