Friday, August 31, 2007


It's awards time and while many of the country's well-known personalities, business leaders and nation builders will be attending the annual ceremony for the umpteenth time this evening, it will be most special for one person in particular.
Six year old Priya Seeram, the youngest person ever to receive a national award, will be presented with the Hummingbird Medal (Bronze) for Gallantry.

Kudos to the Guardian and the Newsday for picking Priya's name (which had 'Child' written next to it) out of the list of 32 awardees and interviewing her cousin, whom Priya was instrumental in rescuing when she was kidnapped last year. The Guardian's headline reads "KIDNAP GIRL GETS NATIONAL AWARD", while the Newsday has "NAT'L AWARD FOR 6-YEAR-OLD GIRL".

But the Express missed the mark. Ken Gordon (who will be awarded the Chaconia Medal (Gold)) features prominently on the front page, along with the names of Canon Knolly Clarke and cricketer Daren Ganga. While everyone is aware that Mr Gordon was instrumental in the newspaper's success, and Andy Johnson did a commendable job in espousing his various other achievements, Media Watch has to give the Express a failing mark for not even mentioning Priya beyond publishing the list of awardees.
None of your editors thought to search the paper's archives to find out who this child was and to do a separate feature on her?
Media Watch hopes this will be corrected in your Saturday edition or even the Sunday children's edition.


Kudos to TV6's Keisha David for taking up the challenge to improve her early morning wardrobe. Media Watch was pleasantly surprised to see her with shiny eyes, smooth, bouncy hair and a bright blue top on Friday morning (you certainly did not blend into the background this time around). And, no clipboard! Now that wasn't too difficult, was it? You looked much more professional and we are sure much more pleasant for your interviewees to look at.
One word of advice though; horizontal stripes add inches where you probably don't want them to, so keep that in mind for next week.


The Prime Minister's spanking new residence and diplomatic centre was handed over under the cover of darkness on Wednesday night.
To Media Watch this was the biggest news of the day, considering all the controversy surrounding the structure. But who handled it best?

Well the first hint (and we really mean hint) of things having gone wrong came from IETV in their 6-30 newscast. The anchor Miss Maharaj began her story (covered with file footage of the house under construction) saying the handing over ceremony was underway and guests were being serenaded by the Lydian Singers. Then in passing she mentioned that the electricity supply to the building had been cut during the ceremony. Didn't the producer see the potential bacchanal that this bit of information would cause?
Next she launched into a lengthy interview with architect Brian Lewis on the merits and demerits of the building's design.

Next up was CNC 3 with a live telephone report from Neil Beekhee in the 7 o'clock newscast. That's when it became apparent that this was a major brouhaha. He was at the ceremony and adequately filled in the missing details that Miss Maharaj failed to provide. But if by all accounts the lights first went out at about 6-10, why didn't Neil attempt to get that first tape back to his office in time for the newscast, and still do the telephone interview?

TV6 almost completely missed the mark. They began (perhaps as planned) with the Prime Minister's apology in Parliament over the Andre Monteil file. There was no mention of the blackout at all during the first 55 minutes of the 7 o'clock newscast. Then there was a short script read by Cherise D'Abadie with some video from the function. Where was the telephone interview from Charlene Stuart who attended the event (and which should have come high up in the newscast)? Did your producer also fail to recognize the significance?

CNMG also began with the day's original natural lead of the PM's apology. No mention of the blackout in the first 15 minutes.
The major stations attempted to make up for the missed opportunity in their later newscasts.

And if it was not clear that this was a big deal, then the newspapers the next day left us in no doubt.
"OOPS!" shouted the Guardian, with a front page picture of Mr and Mrs Manning outside the mansion prior to the blackout, followed by a page 5 story. The Express had two photos of the mansion on the front page, along with Mr Manning and his wife, with the full story on page 7. But the larger headline was "MANNING MOVES ON MONTEIL". And the Newsday seemed to miss the mark, with its main headline screaming "PM TELLS HOUSE: I'M SORRY", with a much smaller headline above the prime minister's head about the blackout, and a full story on page three.

It's interesting that in her story for the Express, Anna Ramdass wrote that the residence "became engulfed with darkness" and that "a large choir started singing a gospel song". You wouldn't perhaps be referring to the world famous Lydian Singers?
Your colleague from the Guardian, Corey Connelly put it this way: "The Lydian Singers, whose powerful musical interludes had punctuated an otherwise smooth-flowing programme, also maintained their professionalism, rendering a stirring performance of the Hallelujah Chorus."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Recently Media Watch got a look at some video from TV6's Latin America today. The story was about a bull run in a South American country and clearly showed several people being gored repeatedly by angry bulls.
Shabaka Kambon, did you stop to think of the effect that video would have on your station's young viewers? Where was the warning before the story that the images may be disturbing, like the BBC or CNN would have included? Perhaps if you had used one shot we would have let it slide, but you repeated the images without saying that we would be literally jolted out of our seats by those bulls. You need to be more responsible.
Also you use too many parentheses. Your sentences are jam packed with too much information, so the viewer gets confused, then lost then switches off mentally and last but not least changes the station. And what about all those foreign names? Are they really that important that you can't just refer to the mayor of a town rather than put in his entire name?
And you take pains to roll your r's when pronouncing those Spanish names, but over-emphasis makes you sound like you're showing off. It's ineffective if not done properly.
Your producer also needs to take a good look at your scripts before you go to air. Your sentence construction is poor and your voicing could do with some work; your stress on certain words makes you sound unprofessional.


CNMG's Golda Lee is by far one of the prettiest women on tv. And she looks approachable. But Golda have you sent your stylist on leave? Your recent appearances have not looked professionally put together at all. Those inner blouses you wear with your jackets look like tops you were hoping to wear to a party after the news, and you decided to just throw a jacket over them. Makes you look sloppy.
Oh and Golda, ask your bosses to send you to someone who can tell you what colours are right for you. It seems you have some yellow in your skin tone, so recently when you wore that bright yellow jacket, you looked like you had been dipped in a watery curry sauce before you went on air. Would have been perfect for a cooking segment, but not for national news.

And your competitor at TV6 Samantha John goes a little overboard sometimes with the jewellery; on Tuesday night she wore a shimmery chandelier necklace with matching earrings and an animal print inner blouse. While her colleague Cherise D'Abadie went to the other extreme and perfected the old school marm look with the high neck on her inner piece, minus the jewellery.

Well WIN TV's Bobbie Jeffrey insists on using light blue eye shadow, even with a green jacket!
And CNC's Shelly Dass finally got the point and lightened up on her black eye liner and shadow. It's probably OK for a story about Halloween, but on a day to day basis it just looks like you had a good cry before the news began.

WIN TV's Deborah Maillard needs to get a stylist. Perhaps it's difficult to get someome else out of bed for your early morning show to give you a few tips, but the end result is that you always look like you rolled out of bed late and didn't bother to brush your hair or iron your shirt.
And Keisha David of TV6 you are walking that very fine line between professional and sloppy for your morning show as well. Neaten things up a bit and vary the wardrobe. Don't you have at least one light coloured jacket? You seem to be blending in with the background of early morning Port of Spain. And why do you need that clipboard for a five minute segment? You look like a waitress rather than a reporter; great if you are offering breakfast to your respondents. Otherwise you need to memorize your question.


Newsday, how did you come up with that headline from the Prime Minister for Monday's edition about a "secret" PNM convention? As far as Media Watch is aware, Prime Minister Manning stood on a platform and said at least three times that the party would hold a "special" convention on Saturday. You would probably say it's the printer's devil at work, right?

And Sharmilla Persad of TV6, your continued use of the term "PNM regime" is all wrong. Everyday use of the word "regime" in a western world sense gives a negative connotation and refers to a government that is a dictatorship. None of the major international bodies which associate with Trinidad and Tobago like the IMF, World Bank or the IADB have ever referred to ANY government in this country as a "regime". Does your producer carefully check those scripts?
And while it seems you've picked up the pace in your voicing, you still have not grasped that when you end a sentence, the pitch in your voice should drop considerably to indicate to your audience that you are at the end of a thought.

And Sasha Mohammed, it's passing strange that your story about Andre Monteil on Friday night did not fully highlight the fact that Mr Monteil did not breach any laws with his transactions with the Home Mortgage Bank. That was only mentioned in the last two paragraphs of your minute and a half long report, while it was the first thing that was said in the Express report the next day. How do you decide what should be highlighted in your story? Remember you must give the viewer the freshest bit of information first, then you can rehash the old details.
And while we are at it, Media Watch is still trying to make up its mind about you. Most of your stories begin with a 15-20 second sound bite, and end with another soundbite. You may say nothing is wrong with this, but it suggests laziness on your part as you did not put any thought into choosing an effective piece of video to begin your story, as you would have to write to your pictures. Beginning with a sound bite suggests you cannot adequately capture with your script the essence of what the speaker is saying; this is effective for profound sound bites, but not every sound bite is profound.
You also need to make your sentences shorter and declarative. You write in parentheses too often so you end up with long sentences which have too much information and which confuse the viewer.

And for all reporters, the rule is that you MUST address your speakers with a title. You cannot say just "Rowley" or "Seetahal" or "Panday"; it is always Dr Rowley or Miss Seetahal or Mr Panday. The title is dropped only if the person you are referring to is a convicted felon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Media Watch has been on a short break, but don't for a minute think we have not been paying attention. Should we spare you?
We think not. Where shall we begin? How about where we left off at the 7pm news on budget day?

First of all, none of the reporters who actually covered the budget bothered to do a stand up, but all wrote voice overs.
How difficult would it have been to grab a cameraman before 5pm and run off to do a stand up? Better yet on your way back to the office from the Red House, just stand outside the Parliament (although all the stations took the live feed from the Parliament Channel).

Kudos to CNC3 for snagging Junior Finance Minister Conrad Enill on the set, the man mainly responsible for the budget. It's interesting that Mr Enill was TV6's studio guest last year. What happened this time around? And later on the station also had the other Junior Finance minister Christine Sahadeo. Both of them appearing on a cable station which according to the recent media survey has 3% viewership. Well let's humour TV6 and say they did not want a government minister on the set, and you may say they already had post budget analysis. But any good producer would know that while it's the same station, they are separate shows and there needs to be continuity, plus you have to factor in that there's going to be a different audience. They decided to go with no studio guest at all.

CNMG's Golda Lee had a guest on set, but somehow the interview came across as stilted. Golda did not ask a single follow up question to her guest's answers, and she seemed to be tripping over herself to move on to the next question which was written down for her.

One of the stories which stood out was the piece by TV6's Sasha Mohammed (it was the second story in the newscast but should have come first) about the fiscal measures in the budget. It stood out because of the psychedelic graphic that looked like a child's pinwheel of dollar bills catching a very strong headwind! And pasted on top of that were the actual figures, which of course got lost. Too much action; the graphic probably could have been used to spice up Miss Lashley's unimaginative piece about budget expectations a few days earlier.

Sharmilla Persad's story on the national security package should have come much higher up in the newscast, considering that ministry got the second highest budget allocation. Instead it came way down to the end of the newscast, as if she forgot to write it. But Miss Persad you did not do the story justice. I did not get the sense that you fully grasped the prime minister's presentation on the issue. The lead in said the Prime Minister admitted that crime was down. That's the most important thing you pulled out of his presentation? Most of the main details were instead used in Sasha Mohammed's story high up in the newscast, so in the end, your story was not even deserving of a voice over. You could have written it to camera and just dropped in the sound bites from the Prime Minister. Also Miss Persad shouted at her audience throughout the story. Were you perhaps upset that the story came so low down?

And there was no mention at all about the allocation to education in the 7pm news! Media Watch found that very strange as the Education Ministry received the largest allocation. At least TV6 recovered and the story was used in the 10pm newscast.

Hema Ramkissoon of C News kept referring to the "PSIP". Those who know anything about finance would have a clear idea of what you're referring to. But for the uninitiated, it just sounded like you were showing off by using a big word without bothering to spell it out. There seemed to be some problem with the story about the allocation for health, since Natalie Briggs' story about a fallen tree went before it.

CNC had the best news programme. They began with a precis of the entire budget with a very simple graphic, then went to analysis with Mr Enill, and later Miss Sahadeo, plus the voice pieces. However Mr Enill seemed to be looking at the camera rather than at Shelly Dass, while Shelly was looking at him. In the end we saw her in profile and eventually the director went to a split screen with the two of them to make up for, no try to make up for the discrepancy. But in the end it looked like they were in two different studios, which we know they were not. Very distracting.
And Shelly your producer should have told you when to end the interview; it ended up dragging on for a long time. But the actual stories on the budget were not bad. But while CNC said the agriculture sector's allocation had been doubled based on last year's figure, TV6 said agriculture got the smallest allocation. Which is it?

Oh and TV6 what happened to the news conference that was hosted by COP Political Leader Winston Dookeran at the Red House following the presentation of the budget? Your competitors carried the story, where was yours?

And when it was time to move on to other stories, Cherise D'Abadie of TV6 gave the viewer no indication that there was a shift in thought ten minutes into the newscast.
And on the day after the passage of Hurricane Dean, none of the stations gave adequate coverage of clean up efforts in the region. Miss D'Abadie again introduced a story on Jamaica and Belize, but the packaged story did not say a word about Jamaica. While C News ran a BBC story which had been running since 6am, which still showed winds whipping trees. Near the end of the newscast though, C News recovered with some fresh video out of Jamaica, but CNC had nothing new.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Talk was the order of the day. Who said government didn't do enough for the people, who said they did, who said pensioners needed more, who said Cepep workers didn't.
Before and after Prime Minister Patrick Manning's near three and a half hour budget presentation, the gurus were in full flight.
We've already told you about the pre-budget panels, but post-budget remained much the same.

First let's deal with the immediate reactions. Kudos to TV6 for going live to the Parliament chamber for responses from COP Leader Winston Dookeran and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. However. Does Sasha Mohammed not understand that her microphone is live until she is told otherwise? There were audio problems at the beginning of the interview with Mr Dookeran so we missed most of what he said, then Miss Mohammed piped up with "I don't know what happen there!" Your engineers could not have been pleased with you announcing the obvious to the entire country.

Then she could not seem to remember where she was reporting from so she said "Parliamentary Channel" twice before correcting herself. Sasha we've seen you on camera before, why were you so nervous this time?
And when you went to Mrs Persad-Bissessar, you introduced her and she said "Thank you Sasha" and waited for your first question. Well after about 10 seconds the Opposition Leader figured out that no question was forthcoming and she launched into her response. You are the reporter. All you had to ask her was "What's your reaction to the budget?"; it would have suggested that you were in charge, not the interviewee.
Then the lighting on both interviews made it seem like they were speaking from a dark, dismal dungeon rather than the seat of the country's government.
TV6 tried to redeem themselves by replaying Mr Dookeran's interview in its entirety, but the audio problems persisted.
Overall poor execution.

Only TV6 and to a very small extent CNC3 attempted to spice things up after 4-30. TV6's revamped panel included Gregory McGuire, William Lucie-Smith, Sven Miki Grant.
CNMG had the same panel, along with CNC3, but CNC at least got in a comment from UNC Leader Basdeo Panday.

But the post-budget coverage did not last very long. After a recap of Mr Manning's speech by Sunil Ramdeen, WIN TV went to "Ellen", IETV stuck with VOA, Gayelle stuck with replaying its early morning post-hurricane interviews, Channel 4 went to an interview with an elderly man. TV6's coverage ended at 6pm, while CNC3 and CNMG went right up to news time.
However at 6 o'clock, WIN TV's Bobbi Jeffrey was back up (minus the fancy jacket) and said "The budget was presented just under two and a half hours ago and it is indeed over." Yes Bobbi the time/space continuum suggested that the budget was indeed over.

Monday, August 20, 2007


The lunchtime reports were probably a rehash of what was said by the analysts on the morning shows ahead of the budget.

But while TV6 began with the Hurricane and moved to the budget, CNC3 began with the protest in Malabar, and CNMG actually began their pre-budget discussions at noon, with Dr Winford James, Dr Hamid Ghany, Subash Ramkhelewan and a young-looking Dr Henry.
But Media Watch believes the desk for the panellists was way too small. Dr James was left sitting out by himself with his arms folded throughout the day, unless host Julian Rogers addressed him.

Two corrections during the news though. Fabian Pierre of TV6 said someone "had gotten into an argument" (gotten is not in the English dictionary), and Sateesh Mahabir of CNC3 spoke of a "preliminary assessment of damages" while reading a story about a fire. Damages should be left for court rulings.

CNC's budget coverage began promptly at 12-30 with sports anchor Roger Sant interviewing economist Dr Dhanayshar Mahabir. Coup. He stuck with them for the entire day.

WIN TV began at 12-30 with panellist Garvin Seemungal of the Greater Chaguanas Chamber. Unfortunately he looked like he was watching a tennis match because the hosts Bobbi Jeffrey (finally wearing a decent jacket and with a proper 'do) and Sunil Ramdeen sat on either side of him.

IETV and Gayelle did not even pretend to be interested; IE went to Voice of America, and Gayelle's fare was not memorable.

But alas TV6 was out of the blocks last. Their coverage began at 12-40. What was the problem? At least the panel wasn't bad. Robert Mayers, Indira Sagewan-Ali, Dr Eric St. Cyr, Diana Mahabir Wyatt.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Well it's the day after Hurricane Dean and D-Day for the national budget. EVERYONE pulled out all the stops. Media Watch was very pleased because we had our hands (and eyes and ears) full.
Where shall we begin? We'll start with Gayelle (and it's not necessarily the best first!).

We must admit right off the bat that we have not seen the morning show for a while so we'm not sure if the host of Cock-A-Doodle-Doo is new or not. Well young Khamal you didn't do too badly in your post-Hurricane Dean interviews. We couldn't tell if anyone was feeding you questions when you spoke by phone with Kingsley Cooper and D.K. Rostant (Trini student) in Jamaica. Almost flawless (however someone spelt Cooper's name as Copper).
But aam, we don't aam, understand why aam, you find it necessary to aam, use that aam, annoying word so often! Within a two minute period we counted eleven.

That MSNBC feature on Hurricane Dean looked as if your producer planted a camera in front of a computer and hit record. The video and audio were terrible. We don't mind the idea, but do it properly next time.
And Khamal you didn't mention the budget. We fully understood why later in the day because you did not carry the Prime Minister's presentation, but preferred instead to rehash D.K.'s phone interview. Eight hours later that information was no longer relevant.

IETV's pre-budget coverage was Vernon Ramesar interviewing former PNM senator Nafeesa Mohammed.
Channel 4 stuck to its magazine format with a few bits and pieces about the hurricane, but someone could have put the weather updates in the teleprompter for Ruskin Mark. Every time he bent over to read the information, all we saw was the top of his shiny head, and he stayed in that position for a long time.

CNMG/Talk City 91.1 was pretty good, a la Imus in the Morning (on the radio but also simulcast on television). Jessie May Ventour (formerly of 104 and 93) and Fazeer Mohammed (formerly of TBC and TV6) had quite a good mix with the hurricane interviews and the pre-budget discussions.

Andy Johnson is back on TV6, and co-host Dr Morgan Job looked very disinterested in the pre-budget discussions when they were on the set together with Vasant Bharath, Hazel Brown and Carolyn Seepersad Bachan (formerly of the UNC). Their coverage went to
8-30, along with the post-hurricane interviews (again we had former beauty pageant contestant and journalist Nasma Mohammed-Chin).

CNC3's morning budget panel included Robert Mayers and Dr Ronald Ramkissoon.
But CNC, after your show ended at 8am, why did you re-run that CMC newscast from last Friday night with passengers scrambling to get out of Barbados AHEAD of Hurricane Dean? Thankfully CNMG had the up to date version with Desmond Brown interviewing someone in Jamaica post-Dean.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


At first we thought IETV had just one reporter for Friday's news in Melissa Williams. She anchored the newscast, as well as she did three packages in the first segment, and she read two stories to prompter. Melissa you need more expression in your voice if we have to hear it for eleven minutes.
But maybe she was left to edit her stories alone as well because one of her stories on Hurricane Dean had serious video and audio problems. No one caught that?

Then later we heard reports from Robin Morais and Vernon Ramesar.
Robin needs some voice work and perhaps a closer look at his script. The sitting of the House of Representatives was adjourned to Monday and this was "accepted by all concerned". We are concerned about what takes place in the Parliament and no one asked us if we wanted the sitting adjourned!
The story on Ian Ali's death was well written but devoid of a single image of the artist. If we were visiting Trinidad we would have switched off because we would have had no clue and no interest in who you were speaking about.

Golda Lee on C News looked fresh with the wavy hair, but she did not sustain our interest with the Hurricane Dean stories.
The first story of course was Dean, but right after that she went to a story of the UNC calling for the Chief Magistrate's suspension, and eventually came back to Dean.
Curtis Williams did a comprehensive story on the country's gas reserves, but a word of advice Curtis, pick up the pace.
Sport anchor Robert Dumas was mixing and matching with the mint green tie and the cream jacket, then he introduces a story from "the beeb". The what? Robert, you might be forgiven for referring to a BMW as a "beemer", but we have never heard anyone outside of the BBC referring to the Corporation on air as "the beeb".

Well CNC3 had most of the right moves with Dean coverage, however they used the same video ad nauseum for all the stories. The only story that had fresh video was the one about the damage to vessels at the Power Boats pier. That was actually a good story from Neil Beekhee.

Otto Carrington's story about Nelson Island naturally began with video of the boat they travelled on rocking to and fro in the rough waters, but then he said they "...braved the bad weather....
despite the bad weather." in the same sentence.
Splitting that Nelson Island feature in two was not a bad idea, but the first one about the conspirators should have had pictures of the 1970 Revolution, to give a sense of what actually happened; even newspaper clippings would have jazzed it up a bit. The second feature actually took us inside the prison, which was interesting, but still, no pictures from that critical time in our history.
Marcia Hope of TV6 stuck to the actual event, with again, no sense of the history of the event.

Francesca Hawkins of CNC is perhaps still one of the best on tv. But next time you read a story about a far away country, make sure you know how to pronounce the name of the place correctly. The earthquake in Peru was centered in "Ica" NOT "Inca".
And later Roger Sant was all over the place with "areas in Mayaro was affected" and the "car slammed into an electricity pole and ripped into flames." Come on.

The bright spot for the day's news coverage was perhaps CNC's weatherman Eric Mackie. Take a bow Eric.
His coverage of Hurricane Dean knocked everyone else out of the water. He came in for the midday news and gave comprehensive coverage, then again during the evening newscast he wrapped things up quite well.
Second place went to TV6's Meteorologist Joey Stevens. Nice graphics, but we did not get a true sense of how the bad weather affected the Caribbean.
And last but not least was Ean Wallace of C News. Tut tut. Ean was left to look over his shoulder at the weather graphic floating on the big screen monitor behind him. Well this is his first taste of a real hurricane. He went missing in action from TV6 as the hurricane season was heating up ahead of Ivan three years ago.
Maybe Eric can give you a few pointers.

Overall TV6's news coverage was ho hum. The only thing that stood out to us from the divas was Samantha John pronouncing the French football team's name as it's spelt (Nice), and Cherise D'Abadie saying "tragedy and beauty all at once" after the Latin America Today segment (one story was the devastation following the Peru earthquake, and the other was a ballroom dancing competition).
To which one of the stories should we attribute that huge smile?

And the producers did not do justice to that story at the VERY end of the newscast about so-called everyday people who were talking about rising food prices ahead of the budget.
We had no clue it was coming up. Luckily we did not switch to another station permanently after your second commercial break or we would have missed it. Why didn't you tell the viewers to look out for it? Well one clue that something was up was the fact that the story by Sharon Hamilton Cudjoe was cut at 7.50pm. It jarred us because the clock on the wall told us it was too soon for that story to end.

But Miss Lashley with the very British accent, we don't know that we agree with your choice of a cross section of the society that's affected by the increased cost of living in Trinidad and Tobago. We saw the single mother (who is a business owner), the university student (getting free education courtesy the government) and a dentist (who by your admission is living a life of luxury and has famous friends).

While we don't discount the fact that they are citizens of this country and have a rightful say in what happens here, Media Watch did not see their struggle to survive, which is how your story was introduced. We saw the shots of the vendors at the side of the road at the beginning; why didn't you try to get one of them to tell you how they survive on less than minimum wage with five children to feed? Or what about the Cepep worker who gets only a fortnight of work per month? And what about the pensioner who has to survive on just one thousand dollars a month?
Are you a Trini with a British accent or a visitor trying to put some order to what Trinis are facing? Do you really understand the issue?
Otherwise it would have been better to deal with each case separately over the course of the week, rather than lump all the interviews together and not telling anyone it was coming up.


Well the Caribbean's first real hurricane swept through the region on Friday, and of course we had full fare on the interviews, video of wave-swept piers and people running for cover.
The overall coverage from the various stations was palatable, but there were a few things that irked us.

First, IETV's 7pm story from anchor Melissa Williams was actually file video from Hurricane Ivan's passage in 2004, yet she made specific reference to several incidents in St Lucia, Dominica and Martinique. Shame on you Melissa, it would have been better to just read the story to camera. Oh and by the way, Hurricane Dean was a Category 2; in your headlines you said "Category Hurricane Dean....".
But we're getting ahead of ourselves; let's go back to the midday news.

Roger Sant why did you kick Sateesh Mahabir off the CNC set? The hurricane story was too big for him to handle? Well you messed up on more than one occasion. Your director couldn't find the interview with the lifeguard at the top, so he went to the UNC call for the suspension of the Chief Magistrate, and the lifeguard story eventually came down to the end of the newscast. Then there was a long stretch of dead air before the interview with Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt, but why wasn't it edited properly? We know CMC's Desmond Brown was conducting the taped interview, but at the end why wasn't his sign out cut out by one of your editors?
We knew the hurricane was coming, but the execution of the entire thing was flawed. Roger maybe you just needed to relax, your neck tie seemed a bit too tight.

TV6 too had its own problems. Fabian Pierre finally got a taste of "things are all going wrong today".
The start of the newscast was OK. A package from Charlene Stuart on the hurricane, various pieces after that on the passage of the storm, I don't recall hearing the Roosevelt Skerritt piece from CMC. Things seemed to be going well, then Fabian hit us with this faux pas. He was reading a story on French football when he pronounced the name of one of the teams as "Lion" (Roar!) when in fact it's spelt "Lyon" and pronounced "lee-or" (and he did not correct himself). Then he pronounced the other team's name as it's spelt, "Nice" (no joke), but at least he caught himself and corrected it to sound like "niece".
(Well Fabian you should have told your colleague Samantha John about that because in the 7pm newscast she happily made the same mistake with "Nice", but alas she did not correct herself.)
Mon Dieux!

Then while that football story was playing at noon, we saw a shot of Fabian reading his script, then the director cut back to the football story, but the yellow bar at the bottom of the screen was actually for the next story with tennis star Roger Federer. Well the Federer story came up, but there was no audio for a good ten seconds, so it was back to Fabian to cut to a commercial break. But where was the apology for whatever went wrong there?
Then for the story about protesting WASA workers, we heard a telephone voice clip from one of the union's representatives, Rodney Lewis, but we're sure the picture TV6 used was that of the union's branch president Salim Muwakil.

Well before they put him out of his misery there was time for one more mess up. Just as Fabian was about to go to a final commercial break, he was told to wrap it up, so he instead had to catch himself and wish the viewers Adieu. If looks could kill! We would have loved to have been a fly on the wall of that studio when the news went off the air.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Kent Fuentes
Samuel McKnight
Sharmilla Persad
Otto Carrington
Marcia Hope
Neil Beekhee
Joanna Bharose
JQ Baptiste
Peter Richards

We bet you can't guess why we lumped them all together.
Oh gosh, train dem voices nah! (Pardon the lapse into the vernacular).

We hear them and we even see some of them, but they all need to be trained how to use their voices properly. Sonia Moze and Barbara Assoon should have some free time to assist. Every day our ears are assaulted by these people who for some reason have not taken the time to fine tune what God gave them.

But the rest of you shouldn't start gloating yet. Alisha Nurse you can slide into the monotone on too many occasions, Sampson Nanton often sounds like he stuffed too many words into his mouth all at once and can't figure out how to get them out again, and Richard Graham (TBC Network) has too much of an American accent (as do many of the dj's on radio) to do justice to the newscasts handed to him. For that matter Richard just needs to READ his scripts before he goes on air. Tumbles over himself too much.

But talking about presentation, can anyone remember that bad nail job on Sasha Mohammed when she did that story on the gold credit card? We'reguessing the cameraman didn't have the heart to tell her she should have used the card to buy a small bottle of nail polish (we don't think the PM would have missed $10).

And still on presentation. People really get around in the media.
A little birdie told us that TV6 presenter Cherise D'Abadie used to work behind the scenes at CNC3 producing The Big Story.
Well the birdie says she was apparently let go after she enraged Miss Dass by trying to set up an interview with Mrs OSHA when the Act was proclaimed.


Raise your hand ...stretch your limbs...if you see the need for a newscast that's 1.5 hours long! Anyone?

Well CNC 3 has captured that slot easily. While TV6 goes to Smallville or some other American show and CNMG goes to CMC's Regional Roundup, the good people at TV3 find it necessary to hand Shelly Dass' baton to sports anchor Roger Sant at 8pm.
Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea if there was some fresh content. But on day one of the consultation on food prices, CNC's first story at 8pm was a piece from farmer Norris Deonarine; that's ok you say, but the exact same piece was used at 7.55pm while Shelly was anchoring. He was eloquent five minutes before, so we guess that was the logic in using it again?
And they also used the same two soundbites from Hazel Brown at 8pm that were used in the earlier newscast. We had to hear Hazel asking a second time, in the same way, why women aren't breastfeeding their babies.

Well we guess the extra half hour is just CNC's way of trying to hang on to viewers who switch off at 8pm or change to less dramatic fare. But really the 8pm news is just ten minutes of rehashed local news, then 10-15 minutes of international sport, then "Weather World" with Eric Mackie. Anyway, the half hour is just enough time for Shelly to go powder her nose before "The Big Story" at 8-30pm. We've heard that name before on one of the American networks Shelly. Where's the creativity?

And on the issue of weather, CNC Media Watch actually likes Eric Mackie's interpretation of Tropical Storm Dean rather than the presentation by TV6's Joey Stevens. Eric was much more indepth.


So many new television stations, so little time to watch! It feels like news overload sometimes. Almost everyone has a morning show, a lunch time newscast, news updates on the hour, 7pm news, 9pm news and 10pm news. Can't say we have a favourite for any one of them though.

Let's start with the morning fare. Ho hum Deborah Maillard and her side kick who looks like he would prefer to be on a surf board somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Boring. A lot of producers feel that the way to go is to buy a big screen tv and have presenters stand/sit in front of the tv and say the first thing that pops into their heads at 6am. No producing skills necessary so we hope they are being paid accordingly.
Then there's CNC's morning show with the new co host Cordielle Street. She is very pretty, very eloquent, not afraid to tackle the big boys on hard issues, but often looks out of place next to Dr. Clifford. Which one is the square peg?

Gayelle is a story by itself. Again the format (which they have fine tuned) is sit in front of the camera, open up the phone lines and talk. (Sigh!) Come on people, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Robin and Company. Do any of these sound familiar?
Even though their anchors also sit in front of the camera and talk to the audience, there is evidence that some thought went into the shows. There are pre-packaged segments, live segments with reporters outside as well as experts on the set, structure (first ten minutes for discussion on topic x, then toss to reporter's story) etc. There are lots of examples that need to be looked at.
The presenters also move within the sets, eg. Robin Meade on CNN's Robin and Company usually starts the show behind the news set, then she might move to the seating area with the couch, then she tosses to a reporter's story while standing in front of the flat screen. It's one way to keep the viewer interested.

We know CNMG has the Morning Ritual, but we'll save comments on it for next time.

And last but not least is TV6's Morning Edition. Andy Johnson is the coolest talk show host we have ever seen. Nothing ruffles him. Good if you're dealing with a very rowdy guest.
Dr Morgan Job, since you are not learning from Andy in that respect, maybe you should subscribe to cable and set your television to turn on at 10.30am for BBC's Hard Talk (Channel 27) with Stephen Sackur. Recently Stephen was interviewing Pakistan's Foreign Minister, and he kept interrupting the minister to ask a new question. Naturally the minister got upset and told Stephen not to say another word until he was finished making his point. Well Stephen was not offended (even if he was he did not show it) and did not shout at his guest. He politely allowed him to make his point, then jumped right back into the fray with another loaded question. At the end of the interview, he thanked his guest and they shook hands.

Media Watch doubts very many people want to see your verbal boxing matches before breakfast. Maybe TV6 would consider giving you a slot after the 10pm news?


Kudos to CNMG/Channel 4 for giving all day coverage of the consultation on food prices. But why didn't the powers at be advertise that it was going to be live? Media Watch found it by accident while flicking through the channels.

CNC 3 carried a full story at noon on Day 1, complete with the Prime Minister and the Central Bank Governor. But poor TV6 seemed to be playing catch up with just a phone interview with Charlene Stuart, and some video from the sypmosium. Then about a minute into her interview, Fabian Pierre cut her off to go to a story about people saying what they want to see in the budget. What was so new about that? All the newspapers would have had responses already. In the end we did not get the full story of what happened from 6.

Different story for the 7pm news. Charlene Stuart wrote a good story, this time with the Prime Minister and the Central Bank Governor included, as well as she wrote a few other stories.
One of them highlighted the response of Consumer Activist Hazel Brown to the symposium. She called it an election gimmick (typical Hazel), and there was also a response from the coal pot man himself, David Abdullah.

Kudos too to Rosemarie Sant of CNC3. She had similar stories, and also used the Hazel Brown piece about the breast feeding. But Rosemarie, why did you need to use so many soundbites from the Prime Minister? He spoke more than five times in your story and in the end, it sounded boring rather than informative. CNMG already gave live coverage of his speech. All we needed from you was a synopsis of the salient points.

But a big failing grade to C News. After all-day live coverage, one would have thought that they would have been reeling off stories for the 7pm news. But alas, it was not to be. Golda Lee introduced the one and only story from the symposium at the top of the newscast, and that was it.

At least CNC 3 also had the sense to use the food prices symposium as a side bar story for their business feature at the end of the news. But another failing grade for TV6. Their Inside Business feature was a BBC story on the increasing price of ingredients for Nestle products. Tut tut, TV6. Where were the producers?

And we guess C News producers were also missing in action, since they ran a story about a new Blackberry on offer from TSTT within the first 15 minutes of the newscast (and it was long!).
Wonder if TSTT paid for that spot?


Well, well, well, TV6 and CNC3 are showcasing their newest anchors on their midday news. Fabian Pierre for 6 is not bad but he reads his lines a little too slowly at the end, like he's not sure what he really wants to say. Also Fabian, lighten up on the make up. You know the old saying, a little goes a long way. Oh and one more thing, we're almost sure TV6 is making some money these days, so ask them to tailor that black jacket to fit you properly. It looks like one of the jackets Desmond Brown left behind when he went to CMC in Barbados.

Sateesh Mahabir for 3 is not bad either, but where is the facial expression? Oh but actually we did see some expression when something went wrong somewhere with one of your scripts. You looked really pissed off and shook your head. Why do we need to see that? Keep it professional on camera and cuss the script writer during the commercial break or after the news.

Well Sateesh at least you realised there was a mistake with your script. On the TV6 7pm news, Sammy Jo (oops, Samantha John) got confused somewhere in a sport story and said (this is verbatim) "the black cats had went behind". No apology, no correction and on to the next story. We'll leave that there.

We can't leave out Shelly Dass on CNC's evening news. Shelly, the television monitor to your right and our left is not there so you can stare at yourself for a few extra seconds before you go on to the next story!

Haven't seen Colleen Holder of TV6 and Charlene Ramdhanie of
C News in a while, where are they? And another "anchor" missing in action is Oneka James of I95 FM. A birdie told us she's heading to the Newsday. Is that true Oneka? We will miss your voice.
Shame on you Dale Enoch for letting her get away.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Hey CNC and TV6....guess someone switched off the spell check on your computers ahead of the midday news on Wednesday.
CNC - Balleram Maharaj, Past Preident of the Supermarkets Assoc.
TV6 - Trinicity
Come on guys...impressionable young minds are at home watching.

But what about the scripting as well? Sampson Nanton's piece on the police presence in Morvant and Mt. D'Or Road contained the phrase that the man was "chopped to pieces and burned to death".
Well we hope he died after being chopped up so he wouldn't have felt the flames when he was being burned.

And in TV6's headlines, Fabian Pierre said prison "conditions is substandard", while CNC's Sateesh Mahabir said "reoccurrence". Well not to be outdone, WIN TV's anchor Bobbi was interviewing attorney Prakash Ramadhar and asked him if someone's office "has no weight on the situation". Should that be influence?? Maybe that question wasn't in the teleprompter.

Oh by the way Bobbi, can you ask your set/graphic designer to tone down the whirling graphic in the monitor behind your head? Talk about psychedelic! We are never sure if we should be looking at that or listening to what you're saying. Then again maybe that's the point....hypnotize us so we don't change the channel! If that's it... then kudos!

Oh and while you're at it....give Johnathan Chase some lessons on posture. He looks a bit sloppy hunched over in the chair next to your very erect form...and those brightly coloured shirts are not flattering on him.


Hey Sampson Nanton's back from the media wilderness...he voiced up a couple of reports for CNC 3's midday news Wednesday (although we hear he's been quietly working behind the scenes producing the station's morning show).
Well Sampson welcome back....although we would have thought you would have used the quiet (no pun intended) time to brush up on your voice work! You still read too's not conversational and very distracting.

Speaking of distracting....Johnathan Chase (WIN TV sports anchor) has a goatee that would look better on a rock star. We stare at that instead of paying attention to his reports....which aren't bad....except when the prompter breaks down and he has to revert to reading the scripts. Try not to get flustered...if you wrote the script....shouldn't be a problem to finish reading it on air.

Monday, August 6, 2007


Okay, it's unacceptable to see grammatical and spelling errors in the news, but moreso in the headlines! English 111, it cannot be the "Minister accuse opposition." Singular noun, plural verb.
Commissioner has two m's.

Robert Dumas, Joanne Briggs, Sherwin Long, and Sasha Harrinanan, please give Sonia Moze or Barbara Assoon a call; your voices could do with some work.

Ms Naette Lee, the C network has invested millions in its new set, surely it cannot hurt to buy you a few more jackets and inner pieces. On the point of inner pieces, maybe you will consider choosing lighter colours, please pass this note to your make-up artiste. While you are making those changes, take the nose ring out. It's distracting and needless to say unprofessional.

Never saw Lyse, Paula or even the ever-pushing-the-envelope Katie with one.


TV6 and C News where were your producers today? How is it possible that the biggest news story of the day: the JFK Terror suspects losing their extradition fight, was buried somewhere in the newscast?

Did someone forget the outrage felt by all of the Caribbean when it was revealed these men were involved in a plot to blow up one of the busiest airports in the US? Okay, let's say you did forget, but what about what today's ruling means?

Lost opportunity.

Kudos CNC.

And oh Sammy Jo, oops, Samantha John it's the John F. Kennedy airport not the J-F Kennedy Airport. Never really heard of that one before.


It's clear the media is not where it should be here in Trinidad and Tobago. So we thought, why not give them some feedback?
Perhaps that's the reason reports come out sounding as though no real thought was put into them, almost as if people's keyboards no longer have the "delete" key on them, and all proof-readers, editors and producers take a break when the time is near to check the final copy, to rid them of opinions, to flip the stories, to add the opposing view, and if only to put them into perspective.

Well in the absence of this self-monitoring, Media Watch will do just that for you.

How do they say it in French? Bon Voyage!