LMC Boss “Man of the Year” – Heritage Newspaper
Monrovia (LMC/PR) -11 Jan '12:
| LMC Executive Director Lawrence Randall
As the saying goes: “give a man his flowers while he is still alive to appreciate them”, so has the mercurial rise and phenomenal achievements of one of Liberia's promising youth given cause for commendation from one of Liberia's independent dailies, The Heritage Newspaper. The Executive Director of the Liberia Media Center, T. Lawrence Randall, was recently singled out as its “Man of the Year”.
According to the Heritage, the decision was reached in keeping with the paper's tradition of choosing and recognizing several personalities and institutions for their good roles played in the year 2011. “The selection of our personalities and institutions of the year 2011 was based on the invaluable contributions they made over the year for the good of humankind and our beloved country, Liberia,” averred The Independent Authoritative Heritage Newspaper in its December 23, 2010 publication.
HERITAGE's Man Of The Year
Raised in the dark alleys of the sprawling Sinkor suburbs of Plumkor, the skinny and unassuming little chap, showing grit and an incredible penchant for “words game”, had not the slightest inkling he would be the symbol and face of his boyhood community just a stone throw from his current office. He leads one of the most enterprising and successful local Media NGOs in West Africa and boasts a track record of growing industry, ingenuity, and knowledge in his area of calling. Our pick for MAN of The Year speaks volume of the hard work, sacrifice, and outstanding leadership young Liberians are bringing to the forward movement of our country.
When the rest of the world and a country of close to 4 million people were on a knife edge after Liberians went to the polls for an elections billed as “defining”, the little known www.lmcliberia.com domain name captivated the world. In the early morning hours of October 12, 2011, thousands of internet users had got stuck to the site, currently ranked by Google as number 1. Not just the site and its users were afforded for the first time in Liberia an opportunity to digest unofficial aggregated numbers from county to national level but ordinary residents tuning to radio stations were saved the headache of crunching piecemeal numbers themselves.
By Thursday evening, when the official election management body began releasing tiny meal results, it was clear the contest was heading to a run-off as projected by several international news media relying on the Liberia Media Center unofficial data powered by their army of local reporters.
This was a milestone indeed for the media, whose role as catalysts in the democratization agenda of post-conflict nations such as Liberia is often overwhelmed by issues of empowerment, which hamper institutional development and undermine the media's overarching watchdog mandate.
Today, however, the sorry state of the media has taken a turn for the better, due in no small measure to the extraordinary vision and foresight of a youthful Liberian media magnate whose stewardship of the country's premier empowerment entity, the Liberia Media Centre (LMC), is providing media institutions and practitioners the necessary leverage to effectively and efficiently champion democratization and participatory governance.
Our selection of Mr. T. Lawrence Randall aged 32, as Man of the Year is no fluke; for indeed, the success story of LMC can never be divorced from its energetic Executive Director. A student of the Louis Arthur Grime School of Law at the University of Liberia, Randall is the brains behind the LMC success story. From a humble beginning in 2005, when the Centre was housed within the premises of the Press Union of Liberia on Clay Street, to basically provide media practitioners space to access information, LMC under the capable leadership of Randall is today the single largest Liberian non-governmental organization engaged in media empowerment, providing the media technical and professional support in the broader context of enhancing freedom of expression, public participation in national decision making, good governance and economic growth and development.
The LMC through numerous development and partnership programs, notably the Civil Society and Media Leadership Program supported by USAID through IREX USA, INFORMOTRAC and Good Governance through the Strengthened Media Project supported by Radio Netherlands Training Center and DfiD, provided training for more than 500 journalists in the last three years in a wide variety of interventions in 13 of the 15 counties in Liberia, with the exception of Gbarpolu and Grand Kru Counties.
The role of LMC as a trailblazer in media development was clearly amplified during the 2011 elections when for the very time in Africa, the Centre utilized SMS computer-based and web-based applications to provide accurate unofficial results of the elections. Heralded locally and internationally, the LMC provisional elections results became the premier source of information for all candidates, members of the international community and Liberians within and outside of the country.
Throughout the electoral process, the LMC accurate reportage of provisional results simmered down anxiety among the electorates and reduced tension on the National Elections Commission whose results were in most instances 48 hours lagging behind.
Furthermore, the Centre's Face book page, “Liberia Elections 2011 Media Monitoring Group” served as an ideal network dialogue platform where Liberians and friends of Liberia expressed their feelings about the elections and other related issues concerning the country. The page was constantly flooded with news, pictures and short videos on the electoral process.
LMC currently partners with IREX (USAID), UNESCO, ActionAid Liberia, World Bank, EU and TrustAfrica/Humanity United and OSIWA in wide range of programming geared towards fostering growth and development in the media development sector.
While Mr. Randall runs a media outfit, the impact of his work on a country in dire need of stability was phenomenal and monumental.