The Virgin Islands Daily News


The Virgin Islands Daily News

Infobox Newspaper
name = The Virgin Islands Daily News


caption =
type = Daily newspaper
format = Tabloid
foundation = 1930
ceased publication =
price =
owners = see history
political position =
publisher =
editor =
staff =
circulation = 17,000 Daily [Cite news | url = http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/index.pl/omk_print_advertising_rates | title = Product Description | work = virginislandsdailynews.com | accessdate = 2007-08-28]
headquarters = 9155 Estate Thomas
St. Thomas, V.I. 00802
ISSN =
website = [http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com virginislandsdailynews.com]
The "Virgin Islands Daily News" is a daily newspaper in the United States Virgin Islands headquartered on the island of Saint Thomas. In 1995 the newspaper became one of the smallest ever to win journalism's most prestigious award, the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The newspaper is published six days a week, every day except Sunday. The paper maintains its main office on Saint Thomas and a smaller bureau on Saint Croix.Cite web | url = http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/index.pl/omk_index | title = The Virgin Islands Daily News, a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper | accessdate = 2007-08-28 | work = virginislandsdailynews.com]

Business history

The "Virgin Islands Daily News" was founded by Ariel Melchior Sr. in 1930, with partner J. Antonio Jarvis and $1,000 borrowed from family and a bank loan cosigned by friend Adolph Gereau. He first produced an updated guide to the island and with the proceeds bought a second hand press. With the profits of the newspaper, he repaid the bank. Melchior was just 21 at the time. The paper was founded with the motto "More and Better Business for St. Thomas." In 1940, Melchior bought out Jarvis's share of the company.Cite news | title = Virgin Islands newsman Melchior dies at age 93 | date = 2002-07-29 | work = Associated Press]

In 1978, after serving as publisher for nearly 50 years, Melchior sold the newspaper to the Gannett Company for $3.5 million. Melchior is credited with instilling the newspapers aggressive journalism. After the sale, Melchior remained involved with the paper. Under Gannett, the paper won a Pulitzer Prize, but in 1997, Jeffrey L. Prosser, a businessman of whom the newspaper had been critical offered Gannett $17 million for the paper.Cite news | title = Critics say sale of paper to governor's ally threatens press freedom | date = 1997-10-21 | author = Michelle Faul | work = Associated Press]

On July 31, 2006 Prosser's company Innovative Communications Corp. declared bankruptcy after defaulting on loans. In February 2007, a trustee was appointed to manage the assets, including the "Virgin Island Daily News".Cite news | work = Associated Press | author = Mat Probasco | date = 2007-02-15 | title = U.S. Virgin Islands will not explore buying bankrupt telecom]

Journalism awards

In 1994, the paper had a circulation of 16,400 and a staff of 18 full-time editors and reporters. In June 1994 the newspaper began to inquire about why there had been little investigation into the death of a policeman known for his integrity. The reports resulted in a 10-part series "Virgin Island Crime: Who's to Blame?"Cite news | title = The Pulitzer Prizes: Journalism and the Arts Bestow a Most Prestigious Honor | work = The New York Times | date = 1995-04-19 | accessdate = 2007-08-28] The series determined that the police were catching too few criminals, that prosecutors were losing too many cases, and that judges were handing out light sentences. The chief reporter of the series, Melvin Claxton, received such severe threats that he relocated his family to the U.S. mainland.Cite news | title = Virgin Islands Daily News Wins Pulitzer for Public Service | work = Associated Press | date = 1995-04-18]

The series created a stir on the islands. After the articles ran, a new police commissioner and attorney general were appointed for the U.S. Virgin Islands, and a top narcotics official quit.

In 1995, the series was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The Pulitzer Committee made the citation: "Awarded to The Virgin Islands Daily News, St. Thomas, for its disclosure of the links between the region's rampant crime rate and corruption in the local criminal justice system. The reporting, largely the work of Melvin Claxton, initiated political reforms."Cite web | url = http://www.pulitzer.org/year/1995/public-service/ | title = 1995 Pulitzer Prize Winners | accessdate = 2007-08-28 | work = pulitzer.org]

The "Virgin Islands Daily News" with limited resources, beat out the much larger "Charlotte Observer" and the "Philadelphia Inquirer" to claim the prize. The "Virgin Islands Daily News" is one of the smallest newspapers to ever win the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the smallest being "The Point Reyes Light" in Marin County, California. [Cite news | date = 2002-12-15 | work = The Los Angeles Times | author = David Shaw | title = Media Matters; Yes, papers chase Pulitzers, but society benefits from it]

The paper has continued to pursue award-winning journalism. In 2003, the Society of Professional Journalists awarded the "Virgin Islands Daily News" with its public service award for small circulation newspapers for an investigation into the use of deadly force by Virgin Islands police.Cite news | title = SPJ Announces Recipients of 2003 Sigma Delta Chi Awards | url = http://spj.org/news.asp?ref=364 | work = Society of Professional Journalists | date = 2004-04-13 | accessdate = 2007-08-28] In 2007 the paper won the Associated Press Managing Editors Award for Public Service in the small circulation category for its investigation into incompetence and corruption in the police department's major crimes unit.Cite news | title = APME Announces Awards | url = http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003621308 | work = Associated Press via Editor & Publisher | date = 2007-08-03 | accessdate = 2007-08-28]

References

External links

* [http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com The Virgin Islands Daily News on the Web]


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