Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Elizabeth Williams Allard or is it just Elizabeth Williams reporting for TV6 news? That young lady needs to make up her mind which one she is. If she can't get her own name straight, why should the viewers believe that she has anyone else's name correct?
And Miss Williams/Allard, you also need to be put in that class that is currently being tutored on how NOT to do a stand up! Are you doing yours just so we can see your face at the end of your story? We don't mind if it's tight, script-wise, but make sure you give your viewers pertinent information to camera that you have not already written into your script.
And your lipstick is too loud; leave it for Friday night at The Shade.


Sometimes we journalists, or should we say maybe the editors of journalists, sometimes try to make the point so succinctly that we tend to mislead just a little. The Newsday story about the first day's opening of the Parkade in Port of Spain was titled "Only 800 park at Parkade", suggesting at first glance that only 800 drivers CHOSE to park there on the first day. If that were the case, then the first question would have been, why? Is it that there was not enough advertisement of the space by NIPDEC? Or did drivers just stick to their usual haunts, suggesting there really was no urgent need for Parkade?
But when you read the very first sentence, it explains that "only 800 of the 1,600 car park spaces are currently available for parking." Ohhhhhh! Isn't that a big deal after NIPDEC has been touting the advantages of this space for months?
Media Watch is aware that the explanatory phrase could not fit into the space allotted for the headline, but in trying to tease your reader, perhaps the headline could have read...."Parkade not complete, 800 park on first day" or "Incomplete Parkade Opens", or something like that. What do you think Roxanne?


Carolyn Kissoon, Richard Charan and Ariti Jankie of the Express South Bureau should be applauded for their well-researched and written stories, on a consistent basis. Some of your colleagues up north need to pay attention.
Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Steups...Media Watch tries to ignore Ms. Mohammed, but each night she is the first person on the TV6 newscast, putting us to sleep with her unnecessarily long pieces or her crooked stand-ups. Sasha why ask all those questions in your packages? Didn't you yourself get the answers, so why put the viewers through that? Where in hell is your producer to cut all that nonsense out? Steups. Media Watch is leaning towards recommending your return to the Guardian where it appears you are best suited: sparing the viewership your scary looks, your overly-dramatic voice and your annoyingly long scripts that are certainly not written for TV.

Media Watch sometimes wonders if the present crop of journalists was trained for the medium they are working in. Well, not just them, their producers too. How come Fabian Pierre got away with ending on a sound-bite, and a weak one at that? Media Watch is not going to repeat what should be an elementary lesson for you Fabian. But from here, it appears that most of you presently on national tv should be cutting your teeth at some community station.

And while on TV6, Samantha, get the pronunciation of that French firm awarded the contract for the construction of the rapid rail project. Check with Sasha or even Charlene Stuart. Shame on you. The name should be rolling off your tongue by now.


Mark Bassant, you are one of those reporters Media Watch feels has potential. Admittedly, your reading can do with some work but in the main you try, and your efforts to write to pictures show in every one of your packages and you understand that doing stand-ups add credibility to your stories. But please, when doing your to camera pieces, take the earring out. It's unprofessional and distracting. Leave it for your time at Zen.

Hema, you went on and on about a piece that supposedly come out of the police weekly press conference, but why all that narration, almost 40 seconds of it, before a sound bite from you? Hema, sound on tape is always more effective than anything you can script. It's a habit of yours, try to get out of it.

And who wrote that piece about the "secret burial"? One little note to you; there's a difference between 'secret' and 'private'.

Golda, very refreshing to see you back on set. You look put together, much easier on the eye than your sister, Naette. But young lady, don't bring up a soundbite that says exactly what you said when you introduced it! Use the time the producer has given you wisely.

My dearest Joanne, did you not call Sonya or Barbara? Your voice needs work. Until then, hand over your scripts. That piece you did too was more deserving of space in the newspaper, that is how poorly written it was. It's a feature piece; get creative, use your nat. sound, and you will notice there is no need for all that script. It's called writing to pictures. You killed the piece with all that talking and you managed to annoy.

Mr. Head of News, please send your reporters and seemingly your producer - since some of this crap, sorry, errors, make it on the air - for some training.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Can the editors at the Newsday PLEASE explain how that story titled "Pleasure Cruiser sinks" made it to print with so many mistakes on Monday?
"...while out on sea.", "...which eventually sunk.", "...a 'SOS' call...", "...evacuate the sea vessel...", and here it is again "...completely destroyed by the fire, collapsed and sunk."
Steups! Media Watch could poll a group of ten year olds who could say exactly why those phrases are all wrong!
Come better than that Newsday! Maybe you were in too much of a hurry to celebrate the holiday??


Trinidad Express TV is the newest thing to hit T&T, but can anyone over there tell me why they have posted shots of their "presenters" which are truly unflattering? Aretha Welch and Kristy Ramnarine look like they are unhappy to just be internet presenters and should have been given a shot at the real thing on TV6. While Rowan Gould looks like the cat's meow to have been given this "privilege" at all. Multimedia Editor Miss Lashley needs to take another look at the picture of her new stars.
And pray tell Miss Lashley, has there been even minimal success to your "new venture"?

And months after TV6's former Head of News Natalie Williams vacated that position, her name is still posted on the company's website in that post. Acting Head of News Carlisle Hinkson must not be too bothered by that at all. And Media Watch has been reliably informed that Express Editor Alan Geere is also no longer holding that position, yet again his name is still holding pride of place on the website. Maybe the good people over there don't want anyone to know that there's an exodus?


Well, well, TV6 has another new catch. None other than former poster girl at WIN TV...Bobbi Jeffrey. She has joined her former boss Sunity Maharaj and co-anchor Fabian Pierre. Well she may be able to give Cherise D'Abadie, Samantha John and Fabian a run for their money in the news reading department. But Bobbi, don't let it go to your head just yet. We have not seen or heard you on camera yet, so maybe they are keeping you under wraps for the elections. But Media Watch will keep a close eye on those developments, particularly if you fail to pay attention to our (sometimes) gentle criticisms.

And speaking of TV6, Media Watch hears that anchor Colleen Holder is in China. We hear that she is the talk of the morning radio shows, with one announcer questioning whether she is on special assignment for the station ahead of next year's Olympics.
Well Media Watch has been reliably informed that Miss Holder resigned from TV6 last month and China is the first stop of many for her. Maybe she's job-hunting? By the way George, do your homework....we hear she is in France now.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Dear TV6,

For Pete's sake, who decides on the order of stories for the News @ 10? It's bad enough at 7 sometimes, politics and more politics, and Sasha Mohammed back to back with seemingly no let up. But the trend over there is usually to improve and get it right at 10.
But recently it's been a mess, night after night over this last week. Could someone explain how a story about a floating hospital and another about the launch of a UTT campus, made it to the air before a piece about the Minister of National Security, Martin Joseph talking about Fresh's murder?

Both stories, the one about the floating hospital and the other about the campus, had poorly written lead-ins and sounded to Media Watch, especially in the case of the hospital, as deserving of nothing more than some video, a sot, more video and another sot; in order words, a VSVS if so much. Reporters, tell the viewers what's in it for them, don't do P.R. for Minister Rahael; choose what you put your voices to.
Producers send them back to cut it down. And to reporters, again please find some news value before you decide your assignment is worthy of making a national newscast.

Fed up,
Media Watch.


Media Watch is really not picking on you but if you are the first thing viewers see every night they turn on their tvs at 7, Sasha Mohammed, you are going to have to do a whole lot better than you are doing right now.

Today we shall begin by saying that your stand-up tonight was an improvement from the others we've seen so far. Tonight there was less movement altogether and it came across alot more professional and controlled. However, Ms. Mohammed you need to work on the hair, clothes and moreso the script. Your pieces are too long. They go on forever. Yes, we know it's probably close to 8 hours of testimony but it's your job to condense it all and make it succinct. Leave half of those details for the newspapers when people have time to read them at their leisure; your viewers just want to know the main points. Try to keep your story under two minutes, nothing more, and for god's sake, cut out the parentheses; Media Watch and your viewers cannot follow all those thought interruptions. Besides which, this style of writing has no place in television.

Charlene (R), you are learning nothing night after night with those stand-ups. Given you don't make Ms. Mohammed's mistakes and your pieces are much tighter, but you still need to watch what you are doing with your hands; they get way too high in the camera shot and this defeats the purpose of what Media Watch knows you are trying to do. You can do better. Act like you've been doing this thing for a while and you know what you are doing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


A couple of things. Hats off to CNC 3 for having a billboard for the Chief Justice tribunal. The station falls down though because it has Roger Sant voicing all the stories, day after day, even though everyone knows he didn't write them. Where is your reporter, heard it's that chick that used to be at Express. CNC 3, for "big stories" such as a CJ tribunal, you need to assign someone with an on-camera presence or send her for a voice training crash course since cover shots and library pictures do not enhance long scripts.

C News also has a billboard but it's poorly done and the music that accompanies it is the news theme. Media Watch hopes it doesn't have to point out what is obviously wrong with that.

TV6 has no billboard. Why not?


Across at TV6 it would appear that there's need for training. Those young ladies, Sasha Mohammed and tonight Sharmilla Persad clearly don't understand the medium they are working in or they do not know the basic rules that govern effective writing for tv. Surely Craig or the newly appointed CEO can do something to help them. But wait, where is the producer? Doesn't Carlisle Hinkson see that his reporters are starting their packages with stand-ups? How come they make the air?

Nevertheless, Media Watch will attempt to help young Ms. Persad since it appears she missed last night's notes to her colleague. First and foremost, NEVER start a package with a stand-up unless you are going live. And please, could you contact Sonia or Barbara, surely you must know that your voice should not rise as you get to the end of a sentence? Your voice needs lots of work and so does your appearance. Tell your cameraman to keep the shot tight until you let out your jackets. It's a visual medium Ms Persad.

And while Media Watch is on the topic of appearances, this is another appeal to Naette to get out her flat iron, clean the bright coloured make-up off of her eyes and leave those loud, leafy earrings at home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Producers, how do you expect people to stick around and wait to see the rest of your product, if every time you break, the only thing that's said is "more news when we return". What news is that? Give us something to look forward to. Put some thought into it please. Pay as much attention to your teases as you pay to your headlines.


Monday was a busy day for the media. There was the opening of the law term as well as the first sitting of the tribunal. CNC 3 did well, in terms of carrying through with the story. Shelly effectively tried to flesh out the acting Chief Justice's speech with the help of Mr. Lalla. But she committed the ultimate sin, well, the sin ultimately committed by lazy producers here in Trinidad and Tobago, she opened the lines for calls and before long, someone was on the phone making allegations against the acting Chief Justice. Something about Justice Roger Hamel-Smith having a huge case somewhere outside of Trinidad, a fraud case if Media Watch understood the caller right.

Well, well, clearly caught off guard, Shelly quickly said it was the first time she was hearing of it and she would investigate. Laugh out loud. Let's hope the acting Chief Justice never hears of what happened and sends a lawyer's letter your way. Always screen the calls, a delay perhaps, and in the absence of this, cut out 'opening the lines'. It's a technique often employed by lazy producers who can't think of how else to fill the remaining time.


Media Watch will say it again because we understand Sasha Mohammed was once a newspaper reporter and she's still adjusting to TV. Media Watch has a problem with the fact that the adjustment is taking so long; it's more than one year since we've been hearing her over at TV6, nevertheless, we are going to be patient, at least for now.

Sasha, Sasha, what's wrong with your head during your stand-ups? You are always tilting it to one side, and constantly jerking it in a weird way, it gives the impression that you are epileptic. Don't mean to be so harsh but Media Watch certainly doesn't know how else to help you get with the programme.

And oh, TV 111 dictates that you never start a package with a stand-up, that is unless you are live. Basic, very basic, Sasha.

Media Watch also has a bone to pick with Charlene Ramdhanie. Both young ladies (Sasha and Charlene) are covering the tribunal hearing and like 'good' tv reporters, they realize that they should bring some visuals to the script, since cameras are not allowed in, so kudos they are doing daily stand-ups.

But like Sasha, Charlene does strange things with herself when she's doing her pieces to camera. On Monday, Charlene's clothes were untidy, she was without make-up and a bit shiny, and there was just too much hand movement. It was way too distracting and worse, your editor took forever before he cut from your sign off. So the audience was made to suffer through you standing there blankly for a few seconds more.

Tonight, your stand-up was an improvement, Charlene. Less gesticulation, but still enough to make Media Watch want to tie your hands behind your back. Yes, we know the need to tell the story, but do it effectively choosing when to use your hands.

Please the two of you, look at your tapes. Looking back at yourself does wonders.


Sasha Mohammed, you are taking much longer than anticipated to learn the do's and dont's of stand ups. Maybe you should look at the BBC and CNN a little more closely for some pointers. For one thing, you need to pick a focus point, whether the camera or the camera man or a spot behind his head and keep your eyes there. When your eyes dart furtively around during your stand up, it suggests to your viewer that either you are not interested in the story you are trying to tell or you really could care less to tell it to them.
Also, pay a little more attention to what you want to say and stick to your script. You tend to ramble on and on, suggesting that you say the first thing that pops into your head. The best reporters are not afraid to script their stand up and practice before they actually record it. Do you look back at your stand ups before you head back to the office? Don't be afraid to ask the camera man to roll tape again if you are not satisfied.
You also need to pay attention to your hair and wardrobe. There are products you can use to prevent those stray-aways, and your jackets don't seem to fit properly, perhaps they are a tad too small?
Media Watch is concerned that you have not learnt the five p's - proper planning prevents poor performance.


Ariti Jankie of the Express hit the nail on the head quite clearly with her piece on the drunk teenagers causing mayhem on the nation's roads. More than just stating the bare facts of the incidents, her piece included the angle that insurance companies have to answer for their part in the tragedies, as they continue to offer insurance to very young drivers. The piece was well written and researched. Good going Ariti.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


You know you really do very little for us already, your reading, your numerous strange expressions and now the hair. Media Watch thinks you are taking it too far. What's up with the curly 'do you are sporting of late? And to boot, you had it all out.
It must be some sick joke because you look very un-pretty. Get out the straightening iron please.

Monday, September 10, 2007


"Once a script has been written and handed to the newsreader it becomes his or hers alone. The reader must identify with the story and transform it from being mere words on a page. The copy has to be lifted off the paper, carried through the microphone, transported over the airwaves, and planted firmly in the listener's imagination. And that is done by telling a story." - A note to Cherise D'Adabie.

To Fabian Pierre from David Dunhill, a U.K. voice trainer -
"Modulation can add interest to the voice and variety to an item, but random modulation coupled with universal stress can make an audience grateful for a commercial break."

For Cherise and Samantha and Naette and Hema: "Few professionals rely on ad-libs to see them through a programme. Back-announcement, station identities, comments and seemingly casual links are usually scripted. Always engage your brain before putting your mouth into gear - think before you speak."


Media Watch came across this bit of information and thought it would be useful for Charlene Ramdhanie. One news great said "Yelling is not the way to make sure every syllable is heard, clear diction is."


It might have been hilarious if it wasn't so annoying.
That nonsense passed off as a live interview on TV6 on Saturday. Media Watch cannot believe for one moment that the lazy idiots across there never took the time to do their homework. Imagine you finally got the man the entire country has been talking about, his poll is now the source of an upheaval in the ruling party and the first question you asked him is if he's ever polled in Trinidad.

Why didn't you use the limited airtime to ask the "hard" and pertinent questions. Some background research would have given you the answer. Even if you felt the viewers needed to know this information, then skillfully place it in the question. It could have been worded something like "So Mr. Johnson, you have been polling here in Trinidad for (insert how many years)and (insert years again) the world over, your scientific method is now being questioned, how can you defend this poll as credible?" Ask him about his methodology.

Instead that first foolish question was followed by other questions about the general elections. How did you all arrive there? The poll Mr. Johnson did and is now the bone of contention and is being questioned is the one about the strength of its membership.

Yes the issues are related (and Media Watch is trying to humour you here), but it had no relevance in that interview unless you fully exploited and explored the issue at hand.

What was more obvious is that Cherise D'Abadie was being fed the questions. It didn't work; you and TV6 made a mess of things. And to add to the annoyance, Miss D'Abadie kept bobbing up and down. What's up with all the head and upper body movement? It's distracting. And what in god's name were you glancing away at?


Here is what a reader said of Express' coverage of the story about the frightened villagers, yep, the same story Melissa bungled. The reader said "Very well written article Richard Charan." Media Watch agrees. Melissa take note.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Did a Head of Government in Caricom die? The wires tell Media Watch yes, Sir John Compton, the Prime Minister of St. Lucia passed away.

AP's story was posted on Sat Sep 8, 3:39pm. But Media Watch would never have guessed the people in St. Lucia are in mourning because the newsrooms locally treated the story like it was just another murder.

The weekend news on TV6 and IETV buried the story somewhere in their newscast. Shame on you all. Media Watch waited to see how the newspapers were going to cover it and Media Watch must tell you...our admiration for Newsday is growing.

That was the only newspaper to give the story any prominence. Media Watch is beginning to believe the time has come for all producers and editors to be enrolled in the "Recognising News" course, at least the beginners' level. Come on now.


Media Watch could not believe it...the lead in sounded bizarre but Media Watch thought okay, let it slide, it's probably a case of a reporter trying way too hard to grab the viewers' attention. But then up came Melissa Wong's voice and a package that went on way too long confirming that it was not just an attention grabber, but IETV making a joke out of the serious business of news.

What is Media Watch talking about? A Melissa Wong piece about villagers hearing voices in their heads and seeing a goat wearing a gold chain. According to Melissa, this superstitious figure was causing villagers to commit suicide and she even had an interview with a pandit to back up her claim.

Well, well, let's try to entertain this foolishness for a while. Let's say the people do believe they saw this goat; Melissa where was the expert's opinion to give the story the serious tone it deserves if it's indeed causing deaths? By the way, Melissa only pointed to one woman who reportedly killed herself because of this goat...but she had the pandit tell us that he knows of others who've died. Names, dates anyone?

To Melissa and the weekend producer at IETV, please, it's not Comedy Central. Think through your pieces seriously, and even if you thought it was a valid story idea that's not the way to approach it. You need statistics, a psychologist and/or a sociologist to tell us what might be causing these villagers to think this way. What about police reports?

If those villagers are indeed suffering, your piece evoked no sympathy for them and your anchor trivialised their plight even more by adding "we couldn't make it up even if we tried."

News is serious business IETV.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


A couple of quick things...Ms. Ramdhanie, shouting doesn't equal authoritative. Stop trying for a Shelly Dass; only she does what she does well. You turn the viewers off when you come across loud and banging. Find yourself Charlene.

Gayelle, did Odessa Kerr do most of your day's stories? Surely not, but why did Media Watch have to hear her threeeeee times...back to back. Unwise and also very boring. No one wants to hear the same voice over and over and over again and it tells the public there are staff problems. TV6 you are sometimes guilty of this too.


C's power team is back...Charlene Ramdhanie rejoined Golda Lee and Naette is no longer flying solo. But seeing them all again just made Media Watch wonder for the millionth time about the need for a double anchor in a 1/2 hour newscast...especially when these young ladies are the ones voicing up most of the day's stories.
Does not make much sense at all.

And while on the topic of C, why did the file footage about the
2-year-old who drowned consist of Mark Bassant's stand up from last night? And why did Robert Dumas keep putting the source of his information at the end of the sentence? Robert, in broadcast always put the attribution first. "Jack Warner says he will not give up" not "He will not give up, says Jack Warner."

Also tell your set designer that the huge screen behind you, yeah that same one, it overpowers you and is distracting. Return to the original concept. Worked better.


Maybe the time has come for the powers that be to give CNC3 a national license. Why? Because sometimes St. Vincent Street seems to be the only news station consistently getting it right.
How come none of the others thought it necessary to send a reporter to the Minister of Health's constituency to get the people's reaction to his resignation? Poor, very poor TV6 and C News.
Your political big wigs, Curtis Williams and Sasha Mohammed, are they on holiday?


So on Wednesday the PNM rolled its election caravan into Laventille. C News with its newest technology went live to Curtis Williams and by live, Media Watch doesn't mean via the telephone.
Anyway, there Curtis was on the scene...the crowd or lack of...
gathering, as the backdrop.
But it all fell apart when Golda tossed to Curtis to say what was happening. He struggled, struggled and struggled. Media Watch would never have guessed he is one of T&T's best, and here Media Watch is paraphrasing that new government programme.
Curtis you sounded and looked amateurish, you fumbled through the report.
Next time don't try to wing it. Just write your notes...the best of them do it... keep them nearby so when your brain freezes... there's something to refer to. Good God!
Your 9 pm piece was an improvement...still not good enough though.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


So last night's lead was obvious...the Minister of Health, John Rahael telling his boss thanks but no thanks. Everyone got that right, but did any of the producers think outside of the box and attempt to distinguish from the pack what might have appeared to be a straight forward political story?

Not really! But Sampson Nanton must be complimented for trying. He was the only one who had the sense to compile a biography of the Minister, reminding us, or even informing some, of Mr. Rahael's beginnings and his achievements. His piece might have been more solid if he had said something about the Minister's most controversial moment as a public figure, his "trademark", some if any insight into the man.

How come no one tried to go live to a political analyst who might have been able to put Mr. Rahael's announcement in the context of what's currently happening in the PNM? Lost opportunity.

Additionally, Media Watch wondered why Mr. Nanton did not try for a stand-up. His story depended heavily on file footage, as a result the piece could have been lifted if he had captured a telling shot of the Minister, froze it and used it as his background and the basis for an in studio stand up.

Of course Media Watch is assuming no one had the time to go down to the Ministry of Health or for that matter visit Mr. Rahael's constituency, a man in the streets perhaps?

Remember you TV people, always think of how you can make your pieces more interesting for the viewer. To you Mr. Nanton, Media Watch knows you can pull off a darn good stand up. So the time has come for you to forget that unfortunate incident
and start doing pieces to camera once again.


Real people read Newsday!
Well Newsday, your editorial judgement on Saturday allowed you to surge way ahead of the competition with your photo of six year old Priya Seeram holding up her Humming Bird Medal. You understand your audience and know what they want. While Express and Guardian went with shots of Priya with the President and the Prime Minister, you stuck to the main attraction, describing her bouncing gait as she went to greet the President.
Priya was no doubt the star attraction when she began classes at her new school on Monday, but there was not a single word or shot of this from the various television stations. That would have been a natural follow up story, to see Priya surrounded by her
new-found friends admiring her medal and rubbing shoulders with the country's youngest ever national awardee. Lost opportunity. But it's left to be seen if the Newsday will stay ahead of the competition and follow the story on Tuesday, or if it will be beaten this time around.


Now, now TV6 and Express, someone across there has totally lost their sensibilities and or marketing savvy. Media Watch checked and checked and found nothing to suggest that OCM no longer owns both TV6 and the Express newspaper, so pray tell, could someone in management say whose great idea it was to come up with Express TV on your website?
Let's try to work this out. So we type in your web address and then what? It's not enough for us to just scroll to the story we want to read, but we now have a bevy of beauties reading it to us? Well if the idea is get the vision impaired to go to your website then kudos, and the time has come to revisit us having to pay to watch TV6's News on the internet.
If you are doing tv, get it right. We need to see more than just Rowan Gould and her colleagues talking about the headlines with a couple of still photos. Where is the natural sound? Where is the live video?
We will give you that it's different, but how is this enhancing and complementing the OCM product? Steuuuups!