(St. Lucia News Online) — Andrews Media Services Corporation, operators of St. Lucia News Online, on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, launched Phase 1 of the rebranding project of its news website.
St. Lucia News Online is the largest online newspaper in St. Lucia and one of the largest in the Caribbean, boasting 719,304 unique visitors (September 2018) — and over 3 million page views per month.
It is Saint Lucia’s first online-only daily/up-to-the-minute news medium, bringing news from the island and around the world.
Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, Merrick Andrews, said Phase 1 began several months ago but was stalled several times due to financial constraints and the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the development of the new site required a lot of personal, business, and financial sacrifice.
“Like many small businesses, particularly media businesses, it has not been easier over the past years due to declining traditional advertising which is a worldwide phenomenon, economic-political strangulation, and the coronavirus pandemic. However, one cannot sit back and let negativity win. Once there is life, there is hope. And even without help or little help, there are many ways we can strive to survive. The race is not always for the swift but for the fittest. Survival is key,” he said.
The new site, he said, is still a work in progress.
“Our skilled and loyal webmaster worked around the clock to get this done. We are indeed very grateful for the great job done. We are also grateful for everyone who contributed to the development of Phase 1, which is basically launching a new logo and a new website,” he said.
The logo is that of a fighting dark knight with a spear in his hand on a rearing horse.
According to Andrews, the knight represents courage, sacrifice, forward motion, high spirit, drive, and determination. He said these are the essential ingredients in surviving as a media in the 21st century and beyond, particularly in this region.
The other phases of the project will be launched over the next several weeks.
“Many more improvements and new features are in the works and we will inform the public each time one is completed,” he said.
Andrews, on behalf of the management, also apologises to the public for the days the website went without regular updates.
“We apologise for this but there was a reason for it. While we encountered difficulties beyond our control we were working hard behind the scenes to survive and launch Phase 1. The site, however, was still busy with activity because we have a large archive,” he said.
Founded in December 2008, St. Lucia News Online was first published online in late March 2009. Publication ceased temporarily shortly after, in 2009, to facilitate two other projects, but resumed publication officially on Oct. 1, 2012. It has been online non-stop since.
The aim of St. Lucia News Online is to bring accurate, professional, reliable, and entertaining daily and up-to-the-minute news, photos, videos, audio, and commentary, from St. Lucia and around the world, to people in St. Lucia and the St. Lucian Diaspora.
In 2007, Andrews founded dominicanewsonline.com and published it continuously through Andrews Publishing Company Ltd. for four years before selling the business, in December 2011, to Duravision Inc.
BVINews.com, founded by Andrews in 2006 and operated through Alliance News Ltd, was fully sold to Graphic Design BVI (now operating as Media Expressions Limited) on April 19, 2013.
BVINew.com and dominicanewsonline.com were the first in their respective countries to provide daily up-to-the-minute breaking news, online.
Andrews started his journalism career in 1998-1999 in high school as a correspondent for a community weekly, and as head of his school’s magazine and founder of his school’s newsletter/newspaper. He eventually moved on to work for other publications in his native Jamaica, including the Jamaica Gleaner where he was a sports reporter, lifestyle reporter, and Youth Link magazine coordinator. He also won several national journalism awards while working at the Gleaner. He freelanced for a number of regional and international publications, and news agencies, and worked in several Caribbean islands as a journalist and businessman — in print, broadcast and online media.
“Never give up, no matter what people or life throw at you. Once there is life, there is hope,” Andrews said while calling on St. Lucians to work together to combat the effects of COVID-19.