Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Here are some questions and comments from Jade Maingot.

"1. Where is Francesca Hawkins of CNC?

"2. Why does Gayelle continue to have that sign-language person insert in their news? Steups - get with the technology Gayelle, There is something called closed captioning!

"3. What happened to Simonne Harris of LIVE and C News? Has she left the company?

"4. Why doesen't update their website? They had Miss T&T for weeks, now it's the same with the Beacon Cycling Challenge.



Noon News.
During the business segment on the TV6 News at Noon, Fabian Pierre pronounced the name of that electronics company (Siemens) as "sigh-mens" when it's pronounced "see-mens".
Then there was a bar across the screen that said (again in the business segment) "US grows by 0.6% in first quarter". What grew? The country's land mass?
Now that would be a great headline if the country physically grew.
But since you later said it's the economy that grew, then you have to write that as well.
What about the hearing-impaired who did not hear your explanation? What about the person who was walking past a television and did not hear you?
That's what the bar across the screen is for.

Then over at CNC 3, Samuel McKnight had a report out of the Tunapuna Piarco Regional Corporation. The thing that surprised us was the soundbite from the gentleman who said the corporation is going to use part of the savannah near the Centre of Excellence to create a car park.
What? Whose decision was that? Isn't the Centre of Excellence a private facility? Then why use state property to beef up that facility?
Samuel, they may have a very good reason for what they are doing, but if you leave your viewer with questions, then your work is only half done.


Here's a comment from a reader who wrote in as 'allibella' clearly irked by our observations, and those of Lennox Grant and Peter Richards, in our post on Standards in the media.

"Investigative journalists NEVER hide behind a nom de plume or an anonymous blog. Again, please tell us where is your credibility to make such statements. For all we know, you might just be a dyslexic bigot."

Well first of all, we never claimed to be investigative journalists, so we can call ourselves whatever we want.
But then again, clearly you aren't an investigative journalist either since you used a nom de plume to respond to our post (and that's according to your definition of what an investigative journalist would or would NEVER do.)
Second, are you saying that our statements are baseless? Then if they are, we can't understand why you would take offense.
And third, our statements on the media were posited against what veteran journalists Lennox Grant and Peter Richards had to say.
So if we are dyslexic bigots, then we are in very good company.


Sharmilla Persad of TV6, we caught your interview with two of Dr Rowley's constituents on the Morning Edition.
Please, next time ask your questions on the microphone so the viewers can also hear what you are asking.
It was difficult to understand what your interviewees were responding to because some of their answers were not full sentences, and we did not hear your questions.
You may tell yourself you just want some soundbites for a story, but you never know when a producer will want to use your interview in its entirety.


Tony Fraser in his Guardian column wants the PM to answer the pertinent questions on the 'cultural hotel', titled "Clarification on 60-room hotel needed".

As Tony puts it, "In this respect, this column does not take issue with Calder Hart, he can only exercise power and authority where they are given to him, lawfully or otherwise.
From practical experience known to the population and from the fact that Prime Minister Patrick Manning has appointed and re-appointed him to a number of senior positions in the cabinet and party, the conclusion must be that Dr Keith Rowley is a sane, logical and intellectually capable man."

Meantime the Newsday's Andre Bagoo has a story confirming that the EMA is fining Udecott "for an administrative breach over its failure to disclose plans to construct a 60-room hotel on the site of the National Academy for the Performing Arts."
He says the Communications Officer at the EMA Nayantara Hassan confirmed the decision to fine Udecott.

"EMA fines Udecott",77949.html

Well Andre, good on you for getting the story, but it comes almost one week after the issue was first raised.
Why did it take so long to get an answer?

"In correspondence with the EMA dated June 28, 2005, HCP Architects Limited described the project but made no mention of a hotel. Another site plan lodged by the architects dated May 11, 2005 also fails to disclose plans for a hotel. The EMA eventually granted the CEC on August 11, 2005."

When did you approach the EMA? Hopefully right after Dr Rowley raised the issue and not as a knee-jerk reaction to Eden Shand, whose most recent press release you incidentally quoted from.
Was this your source?


Ian Gooding has an interesting report on HCL's CEO and Managing Director Anthony Fifi's presentation at the Chamber of Commerce, titled 'Fifi knocks poor urban planning'.

Mr Fifi is quoted as saying "“Today, at the national level, we have a dysfunctional settlement pattern which has been permitted to evolve in the absence of any rational, meaningful and vibrant land use planning and growth strategy.”", and later, "“Alas, the interests of the community, of society is sacrificed for short term, individual profiteering,” he said."

Interesting he should make those points, but we wonder if anyone asked him afterward about those same issues in relation to HCL developments?
A couple of years ago there was severe flooding at an HCL development in east Trinidad and in one subsequent television news report, a resident whose home was completely flooded complained about huge cracks in the walls of his house even before the floods as well as poor drainage in the area.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Ria Taitt of the Express has two very interesting stories in the Tuesday edition; "Hart in spotlight again; Probe launched into Rowley's statement" ( and "Ministers deny any knowledge of 60-room hotel" (

But Ria, unfortunately the opening lines of the lead story at noon on C News read by your namesake Ria Roopchandsingh were that "The Integrity Commission is once again investigating Dr Keith Rowley for statements he made about UDECOTT Chairman Calder Hart.", and they quoted from your story.
But as far as we understand it, the Integrity Commission is investigating the statements, not the person who made them.
Ria R. or anyone at C, please correct us if we are wrong. Otherwise you owe both Ria T. and Dr Rowley an apology.


On Monday, Hema and Keith of CNC 3 interviewed Lennox Grant and Peter Richards on standards in the media. Very interesting.
They said what we have been saying all along - the media managers need to take responsibility for training of staff, but the bottom line is usually the deciding factor; it's cheaper to hire someone with less qualifications and try to turn them into journalists, than to hire someone already trained or even to train existing staff. Lenny said it best about this philosophy - "stick them in front of a camera and they will perform."

Peter said critical analysis of issues is missing from the daily news, and we can only expect that in the columns on Sundays. He suggested, as we have done time and time again, that reporters need to look at the foreign networks, CNN, BBC, MSNBC, etc., to see how things are done.

Keith you asked a good question, whether editors actually re-read stories written by their reporters (again we have asked that question repeatedly). It cannot be left up to the reporters to vet their own work. Someone must be held accountable when stories are printed or aired with one-sided views, or incorrect information.

But again Lenny said there is always pressure on the bottom line and the fact that managers are mandated to cut costs and find cheaper solutions to doing things, and he pointed to the 'dumbing down' of news. This in turn led to the point Peter made about the death of investigative journalism in Trinidad and Tobago.
All of you who consider yourselves investigative journalists take note; getting a tip this morning and breaking your neck to get the lead story tonight or the front page tomorrow does not an investigative piece make. It takes months or years to really develop a piece to the point where you cover all sides of an issue, with the necessary in-depth research. If this is not done, then you can say you've done a good story or feature, but not an investigative piece.
Lenny said investigative journalism is a state of mind - one looks at the imbalance in society and tries to uncover the truth.
It does not mean writing a story solely based on a tip from a 'source'.

Peter also made the point that many people in the media become prima donnas once they have been on tv or in the media spotlight for a while (we say that all the time and get criticized for it).

And last but by no means least Peter said it seems that reporters do not read or look at the work of their competitors. That's why we compare stories. Your work as a reporter is not in a vacuum. You must read and look at the work of other journalists, local and international, in order to improve your craft and give your viewers/readers value for money.
Thanks for an interesting interview guys.


Jameela Constance of CNC 3, the phrases are 'neither...nor' or 'either...or'.
At 6am on Monday for your story on food prices, you said the coconut vendor was 'neither here or there'.
And you also said the woman whose husband was killed in a car crash heard the 'distraught news'. The news was upset?
The woman was distraught/upset, not the news.

Keisha David is back on Good Morning Port of Spain. We enjoyed the change in pace with Miss Manradge.

Hema Ramkissoon, we caught this one before you did: "Carlsen Field Highway strech claims another life". (And on Tuesday we saw "Cricket guru slam TT team").

On Monday, Andy Johnson ran part of the PM's news conference with the media last Thursday, saying there were questions over how the media handled the PM. But once again Andy, the parts you used reiterated our point, as well as that of Sean Douglas in the Sunday Newsday, that Ria Taitt and Tony Fraser seemed the only two with probing questions.
And BTW, when Wade Mark was on your show, how come you did not ask him whether there was, in his words, any "waste, extravagance and squandermania" under his watch in the UNC? Didn't Ramesh Maharaj, Trevor Sudama and Ralph Maraj get fired for the same reason as Dr Rowley (raising issues about corruption)? He denied it for road paving, but what about the airport?

CNC's technical people had some problems with the video. Hema and Keith were interviewing farmer Norris Deonarine, but they also tried to show him in a window while they showed some video of farming, but something went wrong somewhere.
And there was no bar at the bottom of the screen when the two video windows were up to tell viewers what the topic was. What if someone joined you during the interview?

Friday, April 25, 2008


S. Singh has pointed out that TV6's Fabian Pierre did juxtapose Eden Shand's story about the original CEC for the Cultural Centre with soundbites from Mr Manning.
We did not see the story.
We did however see Sasha Mohammed's story, which was written minus the Eden Shand piece, and she must have bumped into Mr Shand as she was leaving White Hall. Why write the one story and leave that pertinent information out? What was the reason for doing two separate stories?


Gail Alexander of the Guardian, do you remember your imaginary Christmas wish list for politicians published back in December?
We remember it well.
Seems you either have goat mouth or you have a good thing going with Santa.

"Prime Minister Patrick Manning: All's Fair in Love, War and Politics by Ken Starr; Sixth, plastic-covered, tearproof copy of Sun Tzu’s classic treatise (large-print copy); Al Gore’s 2008 publication Global Warning (sic) for Dummies - Bigger City Buildings cause Bigger Greenhouse Emissions, Duhhh; Extra copy of above for Urban Development Corporation jefe Calder Hart; An Inconvenient Truth DVD with Trini subtitle, minus the Etheridge soundtrack;
Canon towels (to wipe the egg off of face in case scrutiny fails. Again); Private jet."

"For PNM MP Keith Rowley: Copy of agreement between UK’s Tony Blair and successor Gordon Brown; Forbes business dictionary for
geologists, When Levelling the Playing Field Doesn’t Mean Digging Up The Ground."

"The 20-plus new PNM MPs: Silence of the Lambs DVDs."

"Minister/House Leader Colm Imbert: Oven gloves to handle the URP & Cepep hot potatoes; Swiffer duster with heavy-duty cleaning attachments for the mess ahead in the Lower House."

"Parliament clerks: New set of Standing Orders to replace those which will be waved, held up and used as a whip, as well as abused, trampled upon and downright ignored in the term."

"Speaker Barendra Sinanan: Kevlar, flak jacket and a bigger stick than last term’s to defend himself."

"Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday: Bronze plate for Parliament desk emblazoned “So What?”; BET’s Top 10-climber CD, I Did It My Way or The Highway by 50 Cent with Frank Sinatra sampling."

"UNC MP Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj: Gene Autry CD Back in the Saddle Again; Fifth order of bird pepper (having exhausted Supplies 1 to 4 recently); Linkin Park CD Trying To Bend The Truth."

"UNC MP team: Mays Parliamentary Practice for the Caribbean, How Not To Make Like A Fish Market."

Guess Lenny Saith got the lagniappe.


We will try only for kudos for the next few days.
Kudos to Odeka whom we will assume spoke to Sampson Nanton who has finally made a smaller knot in his tie for the 9:30pm news on Thursday. Very classy, not distracting.


Thanks Hema Ramkissoon. It's all good today.

But over at TV6, they've let things slip.
They are discussing Kurt Sinnette's recent fight.
At the bottom of the screen we see "Sinnette VS Valdez Review", but when they are showing us video of the fight, we see instead "Sinette VS Valdez Review".


Keino Swamber of the Express recently wrote a story about the Plymouth Jazz Festival, saying it's been hailed by Forbes 500 as "The third biggest event on Planet Earth".
It's actually Forbes Traveller, and here's the site that has a slide show on what's considered the best music festivals in the world.

Of the Plymouth Jazz Festival it says: "Stevie Wonder performed at the first edition of this festival, now one of the Caribbean’s best in terms of both mood and music, in 2005. The repertoire ranges from late model reggae and soca, to classic R&B and funk."

The other festivals include those of the Isle of Wight (England), Fez Festival of World Sacred Music (Morocco), Tamworth County Music Festival (Australia), Salzburg Festival (Austria), and the Sauti za Busara Swahili Music Festival (Zanzibar).


The Newsday and Guardian have interesting front pages on the Rowley issue, while the Express has a photo on their front page of Dr Rowley and his wife arriving in Tobago.


Thank goodness someone at TV6 caught the bad spelling on the name of One Caribbean Media's outgoing CEO at the end of the 7pm news on Thursday before it was up on the screen too long, but we still caught it.
Someone spelt Craig Reynald's name 'Raynald'. Seems he never signed that person's cheques.

But how come the story on his retirement was so short, some video with two soundbites? Recently the Express wrote that he had been with the company for 15 years. Doesn't that deserve a package?


CNC3 and C News caught up with Dr Rowley at Piarco airport while he was 'making his next move to Tobago'.
No doubt heading to the Jazz Festival, and as Tony Lee said, everyone there will be whispering about this issue even if the great Whitney Houston is on the stage.

It seems that CNC's Neil Beekhee slipped in for the interview between Dr Rowley and the C News reporter, who asked him to respond to the PM's take on why he was fired. Well all Dr Rowley's answers were directed to that person; he didn't once look in Neil's direction.

But C News we find it passing strange that you were able to send someone to Piarco in the hopes of getting a reaction from Dr Rowley on the PM's statement, when the night before you didn't see it fit to give your viewers live coverage of his interview with the media just hours after he was fired.
Did the decision not to go live come from high up the chain of command or is there more to it than that?

CNC also had a packaged story on the responses to Mr Manning's statements from Dr Rowley's constituents. TV6 had the same idea, but they did a vox instead, and the video for the entire thing was green.
They also managed to catch up with Dr Rowley's brother in Tobago who told them he isn't really into politics and does not discuss the issue with his brother, then he said this: "Trinidad for itself, Tobago for itself; it happening to us long time." What? Was that answer in response to the national budget for Tobago? Who chose that as the defining soundbite of the interview?

And TV6, we were a little bit baffled as to why your People Meter question on Wednesday totally ignored the issue with Dr Rowley.
On Wednesday night, when the issue was the talk of the town, you asked your viewers whether they agreed with government's position to import farm labour.
Ok. Your producer could argue that there was no response as yet from the PM on why he was fired so that question would not have been relevant, and quite rightly you waited until Thursday to ask if viewers thought Dr Rowley's sacking was justified.
But on Wednesday you could have asked viewers if they believed the Prime Minister should explain Dr Rowley's dismissal. Clearly they were all waiting for an explanation.


At news time, it was strange to see that no one decided it was worth juxtaposing Mr Manning's statements about the 60-room hotel against the contradictory evidence posited by environmentalist Eden Shand.
He somehow got his own story, when his soundbites and the shots of the original documents of the building site would have added more meat to Mr Manning's story.
We also did not hear a line in anyone's story that they tried to get a hold of someone from the Environmental Management Authority to bring some clarity to the issue.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Live coverage of the post cabinet news briefing Thursday, with the surprise lone host, Prime Minister Patrick Manning.
Once again, the media allowed the PM to play the cat and mouse game with them. While Ria Taitt of the Express and Guardian columnist Tony Fraser tried grilling Mr Manning on his treatment of Dr Rowley, the rest of the cadre of reporters who were there seemed content to just be the person who covered the story.
One young lady however, we can't recall her name, was brave enough to ask Mr Manning to respond to speculation that he had been trying to get rid of Dr Rowley for a long time.
No one pressed the PM for names when he told them what the ratters said; no one posed the question of whether he had a better relationship with the ratters as against Dr Rowley; who is Mr Manning to say what is acceptable behaviour or not, when he admitted that Dr Rowley asked that the civil servants vacate the meeting before he made his comments; there has been worse behaviour in parliament and no one was fired (Dr Rowley's teacup brawl, Hedwidge Bereaux pulling off his jacket and threatening to beat someone on the opposite bench); he also said this was not Dr Rowley's first time misbehaving, but no one asked him for evidence of other misdemeanors.

Mr Manning also contradicted himself and no one took him to task: at the start of the meeting he said emphatically that a 60-room hotel was going to be built, but later on he seemed to not remember how many rooms were originally supposed to be built.

This interview reminded us of the one Mr Manning conducted with Ria Taitt, Rosemarie Sant and Anthony Wilson shortly before the general election - the hard questions were ignored, and the PM walked away non the worse for wear. The reporters seemed too enamoured to try to get to the root of the issue.


A reader Asha Williams tells us that "Actually miss dass did ask conrad enill about why rowley was fired. He said he didn't know. Also both 6 and 3 HAD pictures of him on the back bench. So did Gayelle who, incidebtally had the best wrap of the piece. Think you're big enough to make a correction critic?"

Yes Asha, we are big enough to make a correction.
We really don't recall seeing video of Dr Rowley on the back bench on any of the stations, but if it was shown, then kudos to those who got the shots.


Hema Ramkissoon of CNC3, here's another strike against your CG Operator/s who are responsible for the ticker tape running during your show on Thursday morning:
"Business: Energy Minister: No plans to remove fuel sudsidy". (This ran for your entire 2-hour show).

And for your interview with Central Bank Governor Ewart Williams, the bar across the screen says: "Flirting with Double Digits...The Way Foward".
Today it was the turn of Gia Paul and Shane Gulston to mess things up.

We wasted enough of the S word on that, so maybe this will help - Rosemarie Sant, Grenfell Kissoon, Gerry Brooks, Norman Sabga: PLEASE HIRE PEOPLE FOR THE CNC EARLY MORNING SHOW WHO CAN SPELL!


CNC 3 and TV6, your 6am newscasts on Thursday are devoid of any sign that Dr Rowley held a news conference last night.
Not a single soundbite from him, just a rehash of the 7pm news.
C News is running the entire news conference at the start of their programme. CNC and TV6 ran the news conference during their shows.


Here's a post on the firing of Dr Rowley from reader, P.H.

"I just wanted to commend Richard Lord for breaking the story on why Dr. Keith Rowley was fired.
I heard Richard interviewing Dr. Rowley on Music Radio 97FM which linked up with its sister station Ebony 104FM sometime close to 5:30on the evening of Wednesday April 23 - that was mere minutes after a media release from the Prime Minister's Office was sent out about Dr. Rowley's dismissal.

"Anil Roberts was on Power 102FM the said evening voicing his assumptions about why the Minister was relieved of his portfolio. He thought it was because he objected to Calder Hart and the overly ambitious construction drive of the controversial Company he Chairs over - UDECOTT.
That assumption turned out to be true, as was confirmed in the interview with Richard Lord.
Kudos Richard.

"But Rosemarie Sant over at CNC3 why did you not include Dr. Rowley's explanation for his dismissal in your package in your 9:30PM News Cast, why one of your lead presenters Shelly Dass had to do a separate package on Dr. Rowley's expulsion? Stupes!

"Anyway Kudos to Sasha Mohammed over at TV6 for giving us the full wrap in the 7:00PM News Cast.

"But Sasha did you write that script? It was so balanced, and I did notice Samantha John did not introduce you as the presenter of the package, like she did not know who was voicing the story either. Hmmmm"


Kudos to the Guardian's Gail Alexander who was boldfaced enough to send Dr Rowley a questioning note during the parliamentary sitting, and his response in writing is their front page story.

"Rowley first confirmed that he had been fired in a note to the Guardian around 2.10 pm during yesterday’s House sitting after he took up the backbench seat.
Replying to a second note, Rowley stated: “No. I have not resigned, I have been fired.”"

Take a look at the front page.


Shelly Dass interviewed Conrad Enill on The Big Story, and the show was titled "Enill Clears The Air". But did he say why Dr Rowley was fired? That would have been the question to ask and have answered.

At 9pm, the momentum with Dr Rowley was picking up, with live telephone reports from his constituency office from TV6's Keisha David and Natalie Briggs of C News.
However, C News had shots of Dr Rowley going into his meeting with his constituents earlier in the evening, while all we saw from TV6 was a head shot of Miss David. You were there since before 7pm. Why didn't you send your tape with Dr Rowley entering the meeting back to the station so we could see that video at 9pm?

At the top of the 9:30pm news on CNC 3, Sampson Nanton said what sounded like "Shuck and consternation" at the firing of Dr Keith Rowley.
They had soundbites from Dr Rowley's constituents, which made perfect sense, then Sampson announced at 9:44 that Dr Rowley was about to address the media.

TV6 carried live coverage, but there was a lot of background noise, so it was very difficult to hear what he was saying. I95 also carried live coverage.
TV6 experienced audio and video problems about 7 minutes into the broadcast, then at 9:59, Bobbi Jeffrey-Hicks broke into the live transmission to cue a break ahead of the news at 10pm.
What was the point of that? Why didn't your producer just stick with Dr Rowley until the end? This was the biggest news of the day!

Then the news started with headlines and all, and the lead in to the first story was the same as at 7pm - Dr Keith Rowley had been fired, based on a statement from White Hall.
Was your producer sleeping? You had a response from Dr Rowley only minutes earlier outlining why he had been fired; why didn't you start by saying "Diego Martin West MP Dr Keith Rowley says he was fired because he spoke out against UDECOTT." or something like that?

So anyway, Bobbi then introduced a two minute soundbite from Dr Rowley from the start of his news conference, then she came back on camera to say they were going to rejoin Dr Rowley's news conference in progress, and they promptly went back to him at 10:03. Eh?
Well if that wasn't baffling enough, she came back on camera at 10:06 to cue a break in the middle of the news conference!
They ran ads for FCB, Opnet and a Percy Sledge/Learie Joseph Mother's Day concert. Steups!
Yes TV6, we understand you have to pay the bills, but not in the middle of breaking news!!! Steups!
After the break, Bobbi read a story about the National Security Minister commissioning a new patrol boat.

Thankfully I95 carried the entire news conference and two minutes after TV6 went to a break, the news conference came to an end.
TV6, you had probably the entire country in the palm of your hand, glued to their television sets, and what did you do? Go to a break!
You could have given us the full news conference, then gone to a short break, then come back with a shortened newscast.
Where was your competition when it was really needed?


CNC 3's Shelly Dass had quotes but no soundbites from Dr Rowley in her report for the 7pm news. We did not see any shots of Dr Rowley on the back bench on any of the tv stations. Clearly they were made aware of the fact after he left.
Rosemarie Sant also had a story but hers dealt specifically with the letter from White Hall. The Guardian has pictures of Dr Rowley on the back bench, Rosemarie and Shelly. Don't you work for the same company?

TV6's Sasha Mohammed had the story from the parliament, including soundbites from MP's, but again no video of him. And again your sister paper the Express has pictures of Dr Rowley on the back bench; couldn't you have twisted someone's arm to get the shot for your story?
Producers probably now rue the fact that they depend so heavily on the Parliament Channel.
Then Keisha David had a separate story on Dr Rowley's career in politics. Good idea. And she also reported by telephone from Dr Rowley's constituency office before he delivered an address.

BTW, Odeka O'Neill, your makeup was flawless on Wednesday night. Your face and neck were the same colour, and the tight shot from the director was perfect. Thank you.
Now please talk to Sampson about the knot in his tie.


I95 committed the same faux pas in their 6pm newscast by reading only from the White Hall statement without giving any background to the story.
The impression left with the listener was that the station was caught off guard by the PM's written statement. There was no indication that this matter had been brewing since earlier in the day when Dr Rowley sat on the back bench.


IETV's Melissa Williams took the lazy route on the Dr Keith Rowley story.
Why didn't you begin your story with the fact that the first sign of trouble was that he was not sitting in his usual seat in the parliament? Instead you went the route of quoting from the "terse" letter from White Hall, giving your viewers the impression that the first sign of trouble came when that letter was made public.

Were you or any one from your office even in the parliament? Where was your close up shot of Dr Rowley sitting on the back bench?
Throughout your story we saw file footage of Dr Rowley sitting next to the PM in parliament, as well as wide shots of the parliament chamber, so we weren't even sure where Dr Rowley was sitting.
The Express, Guardian and Newsday all have shots of Dr Rowley in his new seat.

Then after the sitting when the media was ganging up on the MP's outside the parliament, we saw the IETV mic flag, but the only person we heard asking questions was TV6's Sasha Mohammed, for both the 'interviews' with Colm Imbert and Rennie Dumas.

And your sister radio stations 97FM and 104FM featured an interview that Richard Lord did with Dr Rowley around 5:30pm. Why didn't you use soundbites from that interview for your story? You would have been the first tv station with soundbites; instead we had to wait until 9:45pm when TV6 ran live coverage of Dr Rowley's interview with the media.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


What's up with TV6's Diane Baldeo and CNC3's Satesh Mahabir?
They have both been guilty in the last few days of leaving words out of their sentences.
On Saturday night, Diane said "The Child Welfare League is celebrating its 90th anniversary with an interfaith."; and at lunchtime on Tuesday, Satesh said "In the face of rising food,....".
Get it together guys.

BTW Diane, we've been seeing you and Bobbi Jeffrey-Hicks reading TV6's News at Noon recently. Not that we're complaining, but where's Fabian Pierre?

Monday, April 21, 2008


Fazeer Mohammed of C News, that monologue you did before the 7am news on the Indian cricket series was superb.
How do you do it?


Attillah Springer you are correct.
Dennis McComie's hosting of Cock-A Doodle Doo on Gayelle is very classy.
Some of the other shows still need some work though.


Miss Manradge at TV6, much better job on Good Morning Port of Spain.
You took your time outlining the question, interviewed the respondents, asked some follow-up questions and easily went back to Andy.
We didn't sense any rush or nervousness today.
Keep it up.

BTW, why is your news presenter Diane Baldeo voicing an ad for Scotia Bank's Magna Rewards Card?


Tsk tsk again to CNC 3's CG Operators.

"Your're viewing CNC 3 Early Morning Show."

The word is an abbreviation of 'you are', not 'your are'.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Wayne Brown of the Express has an excellent article on Barack Obama's 'stumble'.

Friday, April 18, 2008


P.H. responds again to Attillah Springer:

"I don't see Marcia Henville kicking up a storm over my observation, watch and learn, she may be your best bet since you both are from the same cultural background. Your thinking may well be that we should watch and learn, but we are doing that Atillah, that's why we see the good, the bad and the inappropriate."


Thank God some good came out of that tragedy with the children who were poisoned. And again it testifies to the fact that despite what the father did, the children were able to forgive him.


Here's another reader weighing in on the Gayelle/local tv discussion.

I often view with enthusiasm the comments that are made about the main players in this media industry...more recently the comments about Gayelle the channel..while I agree with media watch to some extent..I think at times you are highly critical to the extent of being harsh...
Gayelle...I must admit has to live up to the responsibility it has to its audience of providing programming of quality...and to do this I think it has to be steered in the right direction...
Yes, Attillah Springer, Gayelle perhaps has a young crop of workers but this is no excuse for mediocrity...these young people before being allowed to get behind the camera should show that they have indeed acquired the relevant skills is not just exposing them and then leaving them to perform at will...
Gayelle, you are a respected player in the game and every station has its problems but the distinguihing factor is trying to fix those inadequacies rather than making excuses ...

Gayelle enthusiast.


Diane Baldeo looks much more comfortable sitting down to read the TV6 News at Noon.


Another response to Attillah:

"Is attilah's mask falling off? I used to read her columns. Won't be anymore. Her interview style is not great to say the least. I watch gayelle all the time. Their programming is great for the most part. Her show is the weak link.


Here's Attillah's response:

I saw the response from your reader. I can see now why most media people don't want to engage in open dialogue about the media. because inevitably it turns into a personal attack...sad but I guess that's how we like to do things here. I'll keep toiling and hopefully my efforts will one day bear fruit.
keep watching and keep commenting!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Here's a response to Attillah Springer on Gayelle from a reader, P.H.

"I must say how appalled I was by Attillah Springer's response to my concern about Gayelle's jumpy pictures.

"It is often said that you know someone by their writings, but sometimes some writers manage to give their readers the perception they want them to have of them. That proved true in Attillah's biting response to what I am sure would be a concern to many.

"Defending mediocrity at the Gayelle Attillah? Please get with the programme, I am certain most of your audience aren't hip and even if they are Attillah the jumpy stuff is not suited for your type of programme nor Marcia Henville's, nor most of your programming for that matter.

"On MTV or Tempo, those jumpy pictures are not the style of an entire programme, it is done in moderation and it is deliberate, and has its niche market, your twenty something year olds are inept and simply won't get it right because they have brilliant minds like yours to justify their classless hip style.

"Whose in charge here?
And Attillah there is a stark difference between young people working in a media house and being trained by such a media house and just learning as time go by, and that happens in every news media house including Gayelle as is very obvious. So it would seem that every medium are training young people for each other.

"What Audacity and Elitism
Knowing what is done in England and applying it in your line of work are two different things Attillah, so start doing and stop talking. If you follow the BBC so much then it's high time it is reflected in your efforts at the Gayelle and yes those young people there. Unless of course you want to appear to be superior to the rest.

"I will continue to read you, but you would do well to know Attillah that every Titanic has its Ice Berg awaiting it, if it refuses to go in the right direction. Keep on playing the Titanic and you sure to run into something really hard.

"You and Gayelle should take careful note of that so you can become the driving force in the market that you bragged about.
By far Gayelle is still the best for local content, but do take nothing for granted.

"Up your standards.
And yes indeed,
Walk Good."


Golda Lee at C News, the 'h' in the South African President's first name is silent, so the name is pronounced 'Tah-bo' Mbeki, not "Tha-bo" as it is spelt.


C News, the first time for the day we are hearing from the Prime Minister after he returns home from the economic conference in Mexico is at 9:07pm.
Why didn't you lead your 9pm newscast with that story, the freshest story at the time, instead of the murders which we have been hearing about since 6am?

And we know Desha Rambhajan was not live from San Fernando with the Prime Minister, as she said in her report.
How do we know? The tape froze before and after her tag out.
And Desha, San Fernando is a 'meh-tropolis' not a 'metro-po-lis'.

And too bad Ean Wallace was not live either. His recording of the weather update at 9:11pm suddenly went to black, and the director quickly had to cut back to news presenter Golda Lee.

And CNMG, why are your news presenters voicing ads?
Jessie May Ventour voices an ad for Jamieson Vitamins, while Ria Roopchandsingh voices an ad for Imperial Furnishings.
What's up with that? Where is the impartiality that's required for news presenters?


Sampson Nanton, the THA Secretary for Housing is Aldington Spencer, not Aldrington Spencer.


Odeka O'Neil at CNC 3, during a break in the 7pm news, please take a close look at your make up.
From the neck up, your face is red and from the neck down your chest is brown.
Your make up artist is doing you a disservice.
So no one in the studio has noticed the bad make up job?


TV6, is there a reason why Diane Baldeo is standing up behind that desk to read your News at Noon?
Is that a new style of presentation that you are introducing?


The Newsday has an editorial about the plight of the nation's children, based on the murder/suicides.,77110.html

Here's a quote:
"However, in too many cases of child murders, it appears that a more caring and efficient attitude on the part of the police or social workers or magistrates could have prevented tragedy."

What about the caring attitude of the media?
Of your own newspaper which published that horrific picture of seven year old Lily, who died on Father's Day 2006?

But the editorial continues:
"Yet, in these cases, it seems that such error is far too often rooted in an essential indifference to the plight of children."


Newsday, who is the 'attorney' that the Law Association wants to control?
Your story is titled "Moves to control delinquent attorney", and the headline is very attention-grabbing. But in fact the Law Association, and the body of your story, is dealing with the issue of attorneys (plural), so you are misleading your readers.,77096.html


"I want my daddy",77075.html,,

The children left behind by Sharma Sieuchand had to mourn for their late father in front of the entire country, and now the entire world.
They were not mourning the man who tried to kill them, as we see him, but they were mourning the man whom they knew loved them.

What was the thinking behind exposing these two children to the gossip we know will follow them for the rest of their lives?
Ok. So all their classmates and the villagers knew who they were. But the rest of us didn't. They could have gone on with their lives without everyone they now meet feeling pity for them.

Where was the discussion in the news planning meetings on how this sensitive situation would be handled? Clearly it was "Get a good shot of them"; "Get a good soundbite".

What is the media's responsibility to these two children, and others like them?
Remember Lily a few years back? The little girl whose father forced her and her brother to drink poison before he also consumed the deadly liquid? Lily died almost instantly, but her brother survived.
The next day, the Newsday carried a picture of the dead child laying on her bed wearing only a panty.
We question the motives of media houses in these situations, because there's always the argument that that's what viewers and readers want to see.
Whose interests did it serve to show the body of a child who died under such terrible circumstances? Why wasn't she allowed to die with some dignity? Why weren't the two newest victims of this type of tragedy allowed to grieve with some dignity?

Then there was the female executive who recently took her own life. Why weren't there photos of her body and grieving relatives splashed across the web? Could it be because her family hired private security to keep the media out of her funeral?
So little children have to suffer and grieve in the full glare of the public because their families can't afford private security?


And the newest face on Express TV is Julien Neaves.
With some work, he could probably take the reins from the young ladies. But here are some observations.

Julien why are you frowning so much? And you seem to be dancing to some music in your head. We get a little bump from you every now and then. And we are seeing your hand at the bottom of the screen punctuating every word. Work on these things.

You also need some work on your speech. "April fift", "...appear before duh committee...", "laptop corm-puter", "For duh details on these stories...", "Thing of the pass...", "He called on the por-blic...".


TV6's newest face in the morning is Patrice Manradge. By the sound of her she's a Jamaican.
Very nice voice.
But Patrice, a word of advice: Please. Slow. Down.

We are willing to put down to nerves the fact that you speed through the Good Morning Port of Spain segment every day, then you shoo the respondents away and go back to Andy as quickly as possible. He always has a little smile on his face when the director punches him up. Let's guess Andy is thinking as well, 'Patrice take your time', or 'That was quick!'.
Though when you read the news your voice is always well-modulated and you do not rush through it.
You are doing well so far. Just take your time.

And we forgot to mention that you say "aaaaaahhhhhmmmmmm" when you are about to toss back to Andy. Don't say it. Even if your mind goes blank, just say "Back to you Andy."

And whatever happened to Keisha David?


Sampson Nanton, you could have asked your colleague at the Guardian, Anthony Milne how to use that phrase.

And BTW, the knot on your orange tie on Wednesday night was HUGE. Are you afraid you will choke while reading the news if your knot is a little smaller?
Maybe you could ask the always dapper Andy Johnson over at TV6 how to make the knot smaller and how to match your shirts and ties.


Sophia Khan Daniel at C News, check your facts before you go to air.
In the story you read on the House Committee meeting regarding Basdeo Panday's suspension, you said "The only comment so far is from an opposition member of parliament". But that's not true.
Both Gayelle and CNC 3 got a soundbite from the committee's chairman, Colm Imbert.
Too bad you didn't get it, but this is more than 24 hours after the fact.
Why didn't one of your reporters try to get a soundbite from the chairman?


Oh gosh CNC 3 Early Morning Show, can't you get it right?!
Once again there is a grammatical error in the scrolling news ticker at the bottom of the screen for more than half an hour: "India brace for torch protests".
It should be "India braces for torch protests", or you could write "Indian authorities brace for torch protests".

Who writes and checks these things? We know it's early in the morning, but you should get people who don't sleep on the job; that's the impression you are giving your viewers.
Or, god forbid, is it that the people who are doing the job just can't spell or are just not too good with the English language?
Please fix this recurring problem.

Update: the bad grammar ran for the entire two-hour show.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Here's a response to our post on Gayelle from Attillah Springer, one of the station's presenters.

I wanted to say thanks for the very important work you are doing monitoring local media. It's a job that someone desperately needs to do on a larger scale if we're ever to improve local standards. Hell, everything from the government to the media needs to be monitored.
I saw the note from a commentator on the Gayelle quality issue and I can't agree more but there are some things you should know about Gayelle which would explain but not excuse why the standards are inconsistent.

"Gayelle is more a training facility than a media house competing with the other so-called local television stations who produce little more than a news broadcast everyday. Essentially what Gayelle has been doing since its inception is taking young people - 99% of them with no prior media training, not to mention limited schooling - and training them how to use cameras, how to light for television etc. It is a crucial service and if you look at the newsrooms of many of the television stations that have sprung up in the past three or so years, you will see that many of their multi-tasking production staff were trained at Gayelle, but have moved on because of better salaries, if less interesting jobs.

"The problem is two fold. One is that there is no real precedent for a totally local television station producing such a high level of local content. A lot of it is therefore experimental and it's going to take a while for Gayelle to settle into a style that is both authentically Trinbagonian and of a quality that can make us proud. From my work in the UK I know that the BBC went through these kinds of identity creation issues in the 60's and is still confronting those issues as they seek to acknowledge that not everyone in the UK looks like the Queen, never mind speaking like her. But they had the capital, the self-confidence and the other resources to make that possible.

"The other problem is that the average age of the people working camera on Gayelle is 23. Which is not to say that young people can't create good quality work but these kids are the MTV generation and so their camera skills are inspired and definitely influenced by the music video style. If you look at Synergy you would notice that the music video style is being aped there as well. I can't say whether this is an invalid style of video production or not. But I think that there needs to be an understanding of it and a contextualising of these young people's experiences.

"I figure however that if they are getting an opportunity to tell their stories in ways that look and feel authentic to them, then they should have the support and guidance of those of us who know differently (note I didn't say better!).
I hope you understand that I am in no way trying to defend what you might be interpreted as poor standards. I feel with the right support systems, that I know are currently being put in place, Gayelle will one day (hopefully soon!) become a force to be reckoned with in local media.
walk good"

And here's our response to Attillah:
"Thank you for your very candid comments Attillah.
We would like to touch on a few of your points. We were always of the opinion that Gayelle is a training ground for young people who want to get involved in the media, and we have no quarrel with that. But who is training them?

You wrote of the BBC and their attempts to carve out an identity and standards, but it seems that the powers that be at Gayelle are taking their cool time to figure theirs out.
There were so many high hopes for Gayelle when it first came on the air, but people are getting tired of the trial and error.
Why the vernacular speech all the time? Why the short pants and bulging bellies and the constant call in programmes? It seems that this is the image of Gayelle that most people have come to loathe.

And while the staff is primarily 23 years old, your audience is not, so therefore the programming has to be varied. What is your target audience? The entire country? Why not find a niche and stick to it; Synergy is music, IBN is Muslim, etc; or on the flip side, vary the programming so everyone can get something. Otherwise there will always be complaints that there is too much of one thing and not enough of something else.

We commend the efforts of everyone at Gayelle and wish them all the best, but if some of these questions can't be answered, then the powers that be should go back to the drawing board and refine their mission.


Would you like to weigh in on the discussion on local television? Drop us a line at
Be advised that we will not post obscene comments or comments which are libelous, and we reserve the right to edit comments taking into consideration accuracy and length.


Sampson Nanton of CNC 3, what does "hold more strain" mean?
Isn't the phrase "hold strain"?

Joel Villafana of TV6, where is "Bay-jheeng"? (and you said it twice!). The capital of China is pronounced "Bay-jhing".

Samantha John of TV6, where is Ravine Sable (pronounced as 'fable')? (and you said it twice!).
That village in central Trinidad is pronounced Ravine "Saab".

Monday, April 14, 2008


Tsk tsk CNC 3 Early Morning Show.
On your scrolling news feed at the bottom of the screen: "Caribbean luminaries recieve Sabga awards for excellence"; and this is running while Dr Keith Clifford is speaking with an Arts and Letters Laureate.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Some more moving and shaking in the media.
Francis Joseph of the Newsday is heading back to the Guardian.
Meantime we haven't seen or heard from Kimberly Mackhan of CNC 3 and Charlene Stuart of TV6. Where have they disappeared to?
Miss Stuart we realise some people had some issues with you recently, but hopefully that won't affect your work in the business.

BTW, if any of you ever get a hold of the original email conversation allegedly between ourselves the blogger, aka Colleen Stuart/Holder and Charlene Stuart which had been circulated by the elusive "Miss Khan", you may want to pay close attention to the email address.
The bonafide Media Watch email address is, but the bogus email address in the alleged conversation is
Notice the difference? "Miss Khan" removed an 'i' when "she" created the longer version of the email, clearly hoping no one would figure it out. Hmmmmmmmmmm.


Here's a comment from a reader who is not too pleased with the people at Gayelle.

"Please ask Marcia Henville and Atilla Springer over at Gayelle to advise and insist that their camera men make full use of the tripod given them to do a shoot, so that we in the audience don't have to contend with jumpy and jumping pictures or video.

It is horribly annoying and distracting. Marcia Henville had a nice piece on crime on Friday, but it was difficult to look at because the camera man refused to use the tripod and spare us the shaky pictures.

For that matter, a lot of the Gayelle programming has that problem, while it is commendable that they are the only real local station with true local programming, they should aspire to maintain some standards."

And we couldn't agree more!

Monday, April 7, 2008


For the two young ladies who read CNC 3's 7pm news, a word of advice: you should probably ask your cameraman/director to keep your shots tight.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Kudos to C News for leading their Sunday 7pm newscast with the West Indies' series win against Sri Lanka, which happened right here at the Queen's Park Oval.
And kudos as well to Fazeer Mohammed, who in our opinion had the best wrap of the match.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


Remember this quote from February 15th?

"No, people don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a change in priorities, we can make sure that every child ...has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all.
They know we can do better. And they want that choice."

It's from Barack Obama's book 'The Audacity of Hope, Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream' (2006), Crown/Three Rivers Press.


Reader P.H. sent us this comment:

"Well Sampson's tie looked a tad bit smaller on Friday night, not sure if the colour made it seem that way.
It was nice to see you tackle Sasha's approach to her stories and her opinion pieces as narrated in "Things that make you go huh".

Friday, April 4, 2008


Sampson Nanton, why did you give that cheeky smile at the end of the story with Basdeo Panday speaking with the vendors outside Woodford Square?
Perhaps you got a hint of the mamaguy too?


Here's a comment from Jeremy Taylor:
"It's great that you're monitoring the media so closely and posting so regularly. Have you considered allowing comments, which might help to broaden the coverage further (since no one can be watching all the media all the time) and maybe generate some interesting discussion? You could moderate comments and only post those you wanted to ...".

We responded by saying that we regularly post comments from our readers, but some people prefer that we don't use their names.

Feel free to continue sending your comments to


Tsk tsk C News.
Your 'Worldview' scrolling bar at the bottom of the screen for the 7pm news on Friday: Persons who witness crimes in Jamaica will now view video of suspects on ID parade "in a undisclosed location."


Sasha Mohammed at TV6, don't forget that public officials also include persons who are not members of the cabinet, such as members of the opposition and members of the protective services.
You might want to keep that in mind when doing your "Things that make you go 'Huh'?" segment, and pick up a copy of the Integrity in Public Life Act to get the full list of people who qualify as public officials.


IETV, how is it possible that your producer waited until 4 minutes to seven, (26 minutes into your half hour newscast) to run that story by Ria Rambally telling us that the man who threw the bomb on George Street on Wednesday night has been caught and that he is a member of the protective services?
This was the story that led your newscast and every other in the country just 24 hours before. Steups!
TV6 led their newscast with the update on the lawman, while CNC 3 and C News led with the police stopping Basdeo Panday from entering the Parliament building.


Thanks C News for giving us that reading from Kester Harper, the young man who was ordered by a magistrate to write an essay on why he should not smoke marijuana.
Hopefully some impressionable young people were watching and paying attention.

And please don't just forget about him. Follow him up in a week or a month, and let your viewers know if he makes any progress.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Kudos to the Express for scooping everyone and actually printing Wednesday's late night explosion as their front page story on Thursday.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008


TV6, your Q&A question during the 7pm news was "Who is the most decorated footballer of all times?".
Shouldn't that be "of all time?"?


Sasha Mohammed over at TV6, your special report on the "drugs drop caught on tape" was anticlimactic.

For one thing, it was shot in the dark, so we really didn't see the actual drop off or pick up. But thanks for trying to describe it.
Then there were so many different graphics all over the screen that while we tried reading them, we also had to try listening to you, and we couldn't do both.
Then your editor used a feature that made it seem as if the video was jumping off the screen when the graphic bar to the right was removed. Very distracting.
And at the end of your story we heard a piece of music. Very faint. We are guessing you were going for a particular effect, but we couldn't hear the lyrics so it was lost on us.
Tsk tsk. Could have been a winner if only...
Oh and BTW, it's best to wear flat shoes when trekking through the bush looking for drugs.


Lead story on Wednesday for the major stations: there's no food/flour/rice shortage.
A little digging would have shown that to all the reporters who were eager to tell the nation what supermarket owners were telling them. Of course this led to panic buying.

Nadilene Singh of CNC 3, after your report on Monday evening, we were expecting to see a follow up story on Tuesday from the same supermarket you went to which apparently did not have any flour, and all reporters as a matter of fact who covered the 'shortage'.
Were its shelves restocked on Tuesday? If they were, when did they receive fresh supplies? How much did they have to pay for the new stock? How much more was added on for the consumer? The Legal Affairs minister says 35%. Is this true?

So the minister and the suppliers say no shortage, but the supermarkets and chicken processors are saying something else.
Who is correct?
Which one of you enterprising reporters is going to get to the bottom of this riddle?
That's what you are being paid for - to provide answers for your viewers and to ask the hard questions of public officials that they will never get the chance to ask!


TV6 News at Noon: "Gayle: Positive and Focus"; should have been 'focussed'.

IETV, 6:30pm: Peter Taylor, Lagal Affairs Minister (this came up on the screen three times).

Maxine Maharaj, IETV: The legal affairs minister asked broadcasters "not to use the media to abuse.", and this was pronounced as in the sentence "The woman suffered physical abuse."

Jameila Constance, CNC 3: "moh-knee" for money.

Samantha John, TV6: Mr "Kuh-rim" instead of Karim (Kah-rim).


Otto Carrington at CNC 3, we hate to say we told you so, but one of our readers also wants you to ask your bosses to provide you with voice training.

"I cringe every time this man begins a story. His voice and diction are horrible, pronunciation even worse (constantly saying 'poh-leese') but I heard a good one on tonight's (Tuesday's) newscast.
Wrapping up a story about the workers on strike at the port, Otto reported that the union and company leaders were 'in negotiations for approximately 33 months.'
Wouldn't it have been easier to say 'almost 3 years' or more than 2 and a half years instead? I don't want to have to struggle to figure out in more concrete terms how long the negotiations have been ongoing.
Doesn't anyone edit these stories before they are produced?

And Sampson, thanks for taking our advice to make a smaller knot in your tie. On Tuesday the knot was not overpowering or distracting.
But now we have to ask you to use less lip gloss. We know it's a necessary evil, but less is more.