Thursday, July 31, 2008


The Newsday has an interesting story on a new law that has been passed which bans harassment in all forms, including what Trinis popularly call 'sooting'.

But the parts of the Act which interest us most are where it says the new offences "include following, making visual recordings of, stopping or accosting the person. It also includes watching, loitering near to or blocking access to the person’s residence, workplace, or any other place frequented by the person..." and "making contact with the person, whether by gesture, directly, verbally, by telephone, computer, post or in any other way."
The penalties for various offences "range from a fine of $2,000 and six months imprisonment, a $10,000 fine or $5,000 plus six months imprisonment upon summary conviction. A harassed person will also be able to have a protection order issued by the court."

We can already envision that some enterprising lawyer will use this legislation to prevent real investigative journalists from carrying out their duties in tracking down corrupt public officials. It can also now be used by lawyers representing people who want privacy following a murder, kidnapping or funeral, where we know members of the media have been quite intrusive.
The article quotes former UNC Senator Robin Montano, speaking in the Senate in 2005, as saying "“I do not see this legislation as giving sufficient protection to the press.”".

What are your thoughts on the legislation?
Is it going to prevent/stymie journalists from gathering information or will they just have to come up with more creative ways of doing their job?


CNC 3 and TV6 both ran stories in their 7pm newscasts on the 'crash' landing of a light aircraft at Piarco airport's runway on Wednesday (we don't know if C News ran the story).
Both stations showed shots of the arrival terminal at the airport and passengers inside the terminal, but not once did we a shot of the runway, whether the airplane was still out there or not.
So you sent your cameraman to the airport and he did not get a shot of the runway or of the hangars where the plane may have been towed to?
Or you used file footage of the airport and did not include a shot of the runway?

No mention was also made by either station or the newspapers of the last emergency landing at Piarco, when a Tobago Express airplane's landing gear also failed to engage; that was about two years ago.
This is not an everyday occurrence, people!

And the newspaper reporters also give conflicting information on the 'crash' or 'emergency landing'.
Michelle Loubon of the Guardian tells us the aircraft "sustained damages after running off the Piarco runway...", and that "two pilots and one engineer were aboard...".
She also tells us that the Director of Civil Aviation confirmed that the plane landed and veered off the runway when the right landing gear failed to lock into place.

While 'PC' of the Express tells us "neither (pilot Dipchan) Shuhla nor flight engineer Denix Dass, the only other person aboard the plane during the flight, was seriously injured in the crash."

So how many people were really on board the airplane? Maybe one disappeared into thin air when he realised the plane was about to crash?

There's no mention of the story in the Newsday.
Oh, and Miss Loubon, 'damages' is used when referring to awards in court cases. Surely your sub-editor knows that?


C News/Talk City has a morning news presenter who strikes us as something of an enigma.
Esther Saavedra has very good diction. She has probably been working in radio broadcasting for some time, so her pronunciation and diction are spot on.
But Esther, you have to realise that you are also on tv now, so we also need to get some facial expression, as well as a little more expression in your voice.

When you are reading the news, you look up at the camera with an expression on your face that seems to convey to the viewer that you are not quite sure why you have to look up, or you are not sure if you are doing it properly.
Perhaps your camera is too high. You can probably take a look at the tape and discuss it with the director.
But from a viewer's standpoint, you look really uncomfortable.
We know you would probably feel better just sitting in the radio studio to do the news without the camera, but you have to learn to roll with the punches.
Why not book some time in the tv studio and practice in front of the camera? It will probably improve your ease of reading.

Also your voice seems very monotone. Perhaps you are concentrating so hard on playing to the camera that you forget you also have to engage your listening audience.
Overall you are doing a good job, just keep plugging away at it.

And we have just one point to raise with your colleague Jessie May Ventour.
Miss Ventour, in your interview with ANR Robinson, we didn't see the very beginning so we are not sure if you appeared on camera, but throughout the rest of the interview we did not see you at all. However we heard you faintly asking questions and interacting with the former President.
Was there a problem in getting two cameras and two mics to shoot that interview?
If the answer is yes, then the next best thing to do would have been to ask your questions to camera after the interview was completed, just as if you were still speaking with Mr Robinson. Then you could have had an editor edit the piece seamlessly and none of your viewers would have known anything was wrong.

Your voice on the questions was also very faint. Didn't you have a microphone?

SASHA & JERRY 13 (4)

The discussion on working journalists continues.

""Mike" I would want to separate Senior Journalists and Veterans ---hell it couldn't be fun working for a decent wage only when you have reached a ripe age, but that is what happens not just in Trinidad and Tobago but also the Caribbean. And I do know of a few Senior journalists who are qualified but does not have a degree and does an excellent job. I also know of one or two veterans, who are veterans because of age but has not grown beyond what they've learnt in the early stages of their journalistic career. I wonder what it means to be a Veteran after all, what's the real definition for this "noun" in other words... Oh well, what can I say...Tis even more painful those with degrees who does not display an ounce of intellectual might. Now that is very "Stupsing"

"I never said anything about novices being hired over Veterans "Mike". I said novices are being hired over Senior Journalists...and the reason is not to employ fresh talent but to operate on a low budget. Go into some of the so called lead news rooms or stations in the country and see how many Seniors are there to guide the younger ones.

"Novices are hired in such large numbers that the situation comes more like the blind leading the blind, and the few Senior reporters who are in News Rooms are stretched and cannot perform to their best. Granted you have few juniors who commit more than Seniors, but the experience factor that comes with being Senior must not be ignored.

"How many eyes do you think check a story before it actually makes it to the air waves "Mike" ---two at most, the assignments editor and the Head of News, but in most cases it is either or, see what I mean? That's why so much crap get out there. There is not even a strong enough editorial team in news rooms around the country. That's what you need your Senior staff for. Instead where a Senior can do the job of two novices, three novices are hired to cover more assignments...see the problems? More is not better. And if more in terms of stories is in fact better then the resources must be made available to have both your bulk of novices with a decent compliment of Senior reporters.

"And then you have the insecurity and attitude problem where some heads of news stifle the next potential head of news that is likely to succeed them, they behave just like the Regional political leaders who are afraid of rivals. Ask the media watch team "Mike" they will tell you that heads of news really do not allow their Seniors to grow and spread their wings. They then fall into other professions when it looks like they're going no where. Vexing, just vexing.

"And "Mike" it's looking like they'll have to create a link to read our pieces, we really take up a lot of space on the blog

"Anyway you come this path and show your intellectual prowess and you go see what go happen to you. However, it is accepted at age 45 -50...strange huh? What the hell does that have to do with anything. But to me that is how it has always been in the Caribbean. That's why the children in this part grow up much slower than the children of the US, Canada, England etc.

"See which part of this Region you find a 25 or 30 year old CEO, even though they can do the job they are not allowed this kind of exposure at such a tender age in the Corporate World as they may see it. The same reasoning applies to the rubbish that goes on in the media.

"As for Salaries...I think a head of news should take home at least $50,000 a month, an Assignments Editor $30,000 a producer of high enough rank $25,000 novices should just cool it, ahhhh what a vexing thing to say, but I really ain't sure what some of those swell heads should be getting. Some of them are forced ripe and they suck. You can't even talk to them. Stupes!

"When I was a novice, I was paid enough to pay transportation to go to work to learn how to do this thing ---it was not about money, I learnt the hard way, and was well groomed. I did not get paid to train, I paid my dues and is now heading into my second decade in this profession.

"Today novices are being paid to pay their dues and I think that is a HUGE problem."


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SASHA & JERRY 13 (3)

Mike felt compelled to respond to PW.

"Hi PW,
Point taken… However, I did say: “I'm not sure that many of our current crop of 'journalists' deserve to be making big money. A few, yes, but the majority, no.” The few I refer to here would be the bunch of veteran journalists you’ve mentioned.

"I’m not sure I follow what you mean by “The question of novices being hired over veterans is a sign that that is not about to change anytime soon.” Media companies have to hire fresh talent. It is up to companies to rationalise their salary structures so that authentic veteran journalists and deserving new hires get paid commensurate with their talent and experience.

"You say some people “earn Senior reporter status just for having a degree…” Does this really happen? If it does, it might explain the current mess we’re in. Everyone should have to earn his/her stripes regardless of educational qualifications.

"That said, your comments raise an interesting point. And what I am about to say is not intended to disparage your or anyone’s journalistic achievement. But it seems to me that there is an anti-intellectual attitude in Trinidad journalism steeped in the notion that “common sense was made before book.” That wisdom is certainly true. But journalism is an intellectual profession, and the best journalists are essentially public intellectuals.

"I do believe that a good first degree should be the minimum standard for entry into journalism today. That’s how it is abroad. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find people in journalism with a bachelor’s, a masters and a PhD. Not to mention JDs (U.S. lawyers), MBAs and CPAs (chartered public accountants).

"There are Rhodes, Fulbright, Marshall, Presidential and other scholars on the staffs of many U.S. news organisations. (Time magazine’s managing editor, Richard Stengel; former Time editor and former CNN chairman Walter Isaacson; Nicholas Kristof and Tom Friedman at The New York Times, Jim Amoss, editor of the New Orleans Times Picayune and many more.)

"I’d love to hear some more thoughts on this education vs. experience debate.

"Regarding the TT$20,000-a-month salary you mentioned for authentic senior reporters, I would say this sounds reasonable. But let’s do an exercise and try to come up with a salary scale for the print industry. What would be the salaries for:

"A rookie reporter with no degree
"A rookie reporter with a degree
"A senior reporter ($20k per month)
"A desk editor (features, crime, business, education etc.)
"A news editor
"A columnist
"A senior columnist
"A deputy editor
"An editor in chief

"I’ve probably missed some roles here, so feel free to fill in where necessary. You know the industry much better than I do.
Maybe at the end of this someone can present the figures to MATT and have them lobby for higher salaries. Just a thought…"


Great suggestion Mike.
So we are throwing this out to all our readers who have worked in the trenches of the media industry in Trinidad and Tobago.
Tell us, what do you think should be reasonable salaries for journalists? Mike has suggested some positions in print journalism, but we would like to add to the mix some positions in broadcast journalism (radio & tv):

Trainee reporter
Junior reporter
Senior reporter
Senior Producer
News reader/Presenter
Assignments Editor
Head of News

Joanne Briggs take note: we will send all responses to you as well.
You recently said the Media Association (MATT) is not a union, but is there no way that you and your board/members can lobby for better wages and working conditions for media workers?
Even if you offer supplemental training, they would probably still like to take home reasonable salaries.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We notice that the video of Miss Mohammed and Mr Narace is no longer available on You Tube.
On the site we see these words: "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by CCN TV6".
Oh well, for those of you who missed it, it will probably go down in the annals of local television/new media history.

You Tube says "YouTube does not endorse any User Submission or any opinion, recommendation, or advice expressed therein, and YouTube expressly disclaims any and all liability in connection with User Submissions. YouTube does not permit copyright infringing activities and infringement of intellectual property rights on its Website, and YouTube will remove all Content and User Submissions if properly notified that such Content or User Submission infringes on another's intellectual property rights. YouTube reserves the right to remove Content and User Submissions without prior notice."

Well Miss Mohammed your company finally got diligent, perhaps a bit too late, but the damage has already been done.


Finally on this topic, we want to point you to a site we found quite interesting.
It says "Not all journalism stinks. But there are times when reported "facts" smell fishy. When news stories go bad, the reporter’s method is usually to blame. At we advocate for more rigorous - and scientific - journalistic methodology."
It's called Stinky Journalism. We didn't say it.


The British Journalism review has links to sites that offer more in the way of media studies.

We hope the Media Association takes note of these things.


For those of you who are interested, here's a set of requirements for investigative journalists from the website of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Very informative.

There's also the Canadian Association of Journalists Statement of Principles for Investigative Journalism.

And here's another excellent list of guidelines from the Phillipine Center for Investigative Journalism.
It's a virtual checklist of do's and dont's for investigative reporters.


We agree with the kudos.
The set is bright and the lighting looks great. However the graphic on the screen behind Samantha is very bright and because it is moving, it seems to be competing with her for the viewers' attention, so it is very distracting. Imagine the viewer trying to pay attention to what she is saying, but their eyes and their minds keep going back to the screen behind her, questioning why it is so bright. Is there no way to tone down the brightness?
Also Samantha you should wear monochromatic jackets with that new set, just because the background is so busy. Your pink plaid jacket seemed as well to be vying for the viewers' attention.

We also notice that Samantha was standing in front of the large tv screen at the start of the newscast (that's done on the BBC now). But it seemed like she didn't know where to put the paper that she was holding in her hands.

Joel is also standing next to the desk for the sportscast, harking back to the days when Roger Sant and Carla Foderingham presented the news together.
Well Joel we have to say the standing up suits you better (pun intended). If you look back at the tape of the news you will notice that your man boobs are not showing at all through your jacket, as when you were sitting down.
However watch the spelling. In Vinood's story we saw someone is looking 'foward' and 'bachannal', the latter is spelt bacchanal (Dicentra Bachannal is the name of a flowering plant).

In terms of content, we were a bit surprised to see that Tribe band launch story so high up in the newscast. Is it that the producer and head of news decided to give the news a lighter, entertainment-type feel? Well if you will be touting yourselves as the station for Carnival next year, then it may be a good move to begin highlighting Carnival activities now (but still not so high up in the newscast). And also expect every other hole in the wall band in Trinidad and Tobago to demand the same treatment.

Just before the director cut to the Count Your Blessings segment, we heard some upbeat music from, was it Rihanna? Well isn't that really leading you down an entertainment path? We know the upbeat music is played on Robin and Company on CNN on mornings, but that's to wake people up at 6 & 7am and get them ready for the day.
So we are not sure what is the logic of playing that kind of music during what should be a serious night time, prime time newscast.
Maybe it's to prepare people for the clubs after they watch the news? But that's what the promo for the Friday night entertainment segment says.

Finally for the producer or head of news...we still can't understand what the young lady with the thick Spanish accent is saying in Latin America Today.
We don't know what else to say.


Here's a comment on TV6's new set, from PW.

"TV6 is sporting a new presentation background, way to go Dominic Kallipersad, it looks great, certainly better than that boring past time background. Thanks for relieving my eyes TV6.

"I do hope the nation was not subjected to this lack of creativity because of the lack of competition and the emergence of stiff competition from rival CNC3 which will be re-launching later this year. Is it next month or September Rosemarie?

"And to the engineers in the TV6 Studio, please stop toying with the equipment, decide if you want to make the shot with Samantha close up or not, the live set is not for practice.

"Joel Villafana there are complaints that you read the Sports cast too fast. Culturally that is acceptable in the US because they generally speak fast and that is a far more vibrant culture.

"While we have some people among us that speak very fast, culturally we do not, so slow it down a bit Joel, for your audience and for your sake. You do fumble a lot reading like that.
And Joel, enough of the head bobbing nah, you done with radio...
Stupes! It is distracting.

"Now that you have refreshed the look of the set Dominic, you need to up the aggression with your news gathering...form alone won't cut it.

"Kudos anyway."

SASHA & JERRY 13 (2)

Some more comments on the state of the media.

"Mike, while I take your points on the issue of the disrespectful salaries paid to journalists in Trinidad, you must be made aware of the reality that there are some great veteran journalists that are paid pittance year after year for their breaking and lead stories more so in the print industry.

"It boggles my mind that they are still committed to longevity in the industry and serve as the pillars that have added to the little esteem left in the media here. The question of novices being hired over experience is a sign that that is not about to change anytime soon.

"I believe if the salaries are encouraging, even some of the people in the industry would up their standards. Granted that's not excuse for getting egg on your face for a poor showing.

"At minimum, authentic Senior reporters in the industry should be taking home at least TT$20,000 a month.
By authentic, I mean those who have been through the rigours of journalism over a number of years, at least 10 years -- and not those who earn Senior reporter status just for having a degree or because there was a lack of Senior reporters in such a News Room."


Monday, July 28, 2008


Here's an insightful comment on the media industry from Mike.

Kayode's analysis is spot on.

"I just think that the last paragraph is a bit misleading. I wouldn’t describe the news industry as dying. It's adjusting, certainly, but not dying. I also don’t think that news companies have a problem paying good money to newbies while maintaining veteran journalists’ salaries.

"Newspaper layoffs are the result of an industry under pressure by the migration of advertising to the Internet, as Kayode notes. The fact is that companies in any industry facing competitive pressures have to re-examine their cost structures. Staff costs (salaries, pension benefits etc.) sadly are often targeted first as part of the restructuring. Look at what's happening in the banking sector in the wake of the credit crunch. Wachovia last week announced that it plans to cut about 6,000 jobs or roughly 5% of its staff, and Citigroup has also announced big job cuts.

"A couple years ago GM, Ford and Chrysler announced massive job cuts as foreign car makers continued to erode their U.S. market share.

"Also, journalism has always been a low-paying profession at the entry level. People who embark on journalism careers should do so knowing this. In fact, such information is readily available online.

"But journalism isn’t alone in this regard. Keep in mind that not all lawyers get paid big money, nor do all MBAs, for instance. In fact many U.S. lawyers and MBAs who go into public interest law or nonprofits make entry-level salaries comparable to journalists and teachers ($35-$50,000 a year) and over the course of their careers never make the salaries their corporate, criminal-law and investment-banking colleagues make.

"I have a friend who went to Yale undergrad and has a law degree from Georgetown. She used to work as a corporate lawyer, but gave that up to work with disadvantaged teenagers. Her salary was cut by more than half. But she is doing what she loves and is passionate about.

"Consider Barack Obama, who could be making a ton of money today had he gone into corporate law instead of working as a community organizer. (Given his talent, he’d probably be a millionaire partner by now). He and many other law grads who choose public-interest careers do so because it's their passion.

"Journalism is a vocation, something you do because you’re passionate about it. If money is a person’s prime motivation (and there’s nothing wrong with money being a prime motivator), then there are obviously better career choices.

"Note that I am not excusing T&T media companies for their terrible and disrespectful salary scales. The point has been made on this blog many times that T&T media salaries are shameful. One problem is that the salaries do not scale up significantly enough the higher up you go. Hence Kayode wondering, rightly, “what working as a journalist for my whole life would be like.” As someone with almost ten years experience, he should have been making more than he was.

"What we need urgently is an overhaul of HR practices within local media. But is anybody listening? Does anyone care?

"At the same time, we cannot generalise and apply Trinidad's standards to the rest of the world. Indeed, depending on the organization you work for, salaries can be respectable and indeed lucrative the higher up you go. There was a story a while back about Time magazine editors-at-large making US$300,000 a year for writing one column a week! That is not joke money. There are lawyers and MBA grads who are not making that type of money 10, 15 years out of school.

"Rick Reilly, the former back page columnist for Sports Illustrated, was making US$1 million a year for writing roughly 800-1000 words a week. He has since moved on to greener pastures at ESPN, making a reported $3.4 million a year.

"Also, see the salaries of those listed under “Media” on this New York magazine salary survey. These look to be from about 2003/2004 or so, but you can get an idea of what salaries are like on the high end of U.S. journalism. Note that in the case of, say, the editor of the New York Times, he also gets New York Times Company stock options. Those options can be worth several multiples of his salary.

"I imagine it would help if T&T media companies paid salaries at least nominally on a par with U.S. salaries. So, for instance, we’d expect a national newspaper like the Express to pay its editor somewhere between, say, TT$300k-600k. Using this line of reasoning, TV salaries should be even higher, with top salaries exceeding TT$1 million. But then again, you'd have to have talent that deserves this type of salary. I'm not sure that many of our current crop of 'journalists' deserve to be making big money. A few, yes, but the majority, no. I bet if media companies raised salaries they would attract better talent that would then warrant big-money salaries. But I know this is wishful thinking.

"One thing Kayode failed to touch on and that I think is equally important is the general standing of journalism in T&T. Journalism is not respected as a profession. Even a small bit of respectability may have compensated for the dismal salaries. Journalists abroad stick with it because they see the results of their reporting. Politicians and other powerful people are investigated, indicted, fined, jailed; laws are reformed; policies are altered; lives are impacted in a real way, etc.

"Does journalism matter in T&T? Who really cares about what journalists do in Trinidad? Journalists themselves don't even care!

"Who’s to blame? Media owners? Journalists? MATT? The education system? The public? Bin laden?

"I'll leave it here."


We welcome all comments on this subject since it cuts to the heart of the media industry in Trinidad & Tobago.


Here's one for Dr Keith Clifford of CNC 3's Early Morning Show.

"Dear Presenters/Producer and Director,

"Your show is times. This morning, at the end of the show, I was totally shocked to see on national TV, a person who claims to be cultured and professional display behaviour likened to that of a primary school girl. There was snickering and giggling heard live on National TV when the guest, Mr Wade Mark was speaking. Mr Clifford was that voice(sic) heard on air, snickering and giggling, like a little girl.

"If you guys at CNC want to bring your show up to standard of a "Julian Rogers" or a Larry King or Hanity and Colms - type professionalism and quality, then you need to eliminate, in whatever way necessary, such inane and totally unsatisfactory and unprofessional behavior from your show!

"Please do the needful, to ensure viewers like me and many others, keep viewing, to ensure your advertisers get more coverage, and potential advertisers, like me get interest and encouragement to make a decision to go with CNC instead of others.

Ryan Ramroop"

Well Ryan, if what you are saying about overhearing Dr Clifford is true, then he clearly did not learn anything from Rev. Jesse Jackson's embarrassing episode re: his live mic and the comments about Barack Obama.
Keith, rule of thumb: your mic is live until you are told it is off.


Louis B. Homer of the Express has an interesting story of a Hindu groom being taken to meet his new bride in a bull cart. The accompanying photo is by Dave Persad.


Here's another one of those 'What?' stories, as told to us by the Newsday and the Guardian.
Two men were shot to death but the two reporters give us conflicting information on what was the motive for the murders, according to the investigators they spoke with.

The Guardian's Camille Clarke tells us "Investigators said the men were killed when they attempted to purchase a car with $40,000 in counterfeit currency.
They suspect that Collette and Ambrose were killed after their assailants discovered the money was fake."
She also tells us the bodies were found "at an Aranguez Gardens South nursery in San Juan...".

The Newsday's Karl Cupid tells us "Police investigators said yesterday that they believe Collette and Ambrose went to Aranjuez to purchase a car for $50,000 but were instead robbed of the cash and shot dead."

Miss Clarke, how do the police know the money was fake? Did they find some of the notes scattered near the bodies? Did someone call and inform them of this? Did the men tell someone the money was fake before they left Tobago?

And what is the correct spelling of the place where they were found?

Sunday, July 27, 2008


We came across this post on the Trinigamers website which speaks to the heart of the problem in the local media. We have said it before and here is someone else (Kayode) saying the same thing in a different forum.

"Journalism is in the state that it's in because of industry-wide brain drain. Journalist salaries are rubbish, and the working conditions (not physical) leave a lot to be desired. Basically, like most aspects of the developing world, as soon as a young journalist gets worthwhile certification or relevant experience, they leave the industry to:
1) Work in the foreign media
2) Work as communication specialists for the private sector
3) Work in some other industry that pays more money

"Many reporters use the industry as a hold over or springboard to another career. Many of them are studying and leave the profession as soon as they're qualified. Plenty of them just ended up there because they have the minimum qualifications and answered a job ad...but journalism isn't a "job". Most reporters are trained on the job and start off knowing very little about writing a real news story. It's true that journalism is one of the most experienced-based professions, but you can still benefit a lot from learning the basics beforehand.
Very few reporters actually love the profession. A lot of newbies fall for the myth of the glamorous reporter lifestyle.

"I wouldn't lie: I loved journalism while I was in it, but the money was a joke. I worked alongside a veteran in his forties who was making $5200 a month. I had a degree, almost ten years experience, and I was making $6200 as a "senior reporter". I'm glad I was qualified for (and interested in) another field, because I can't imagine what working as a journalist for my whole life would be like.

"And before we start up the "Well is Trinidad" ole talk, realize that this is a worldwide issue. News companies are dying the world over due to their inability to compete with the internet and TV. The companies feel forced to sensationalize to attract/retain viewers and readers. They're unable to pay good money to newbies and maintain the salaries of veterans. They cut staff regularly. Do a google search on the issue and you'll find some surprising information."


Here's Mike's response.

"Thanks for clarifying the Nanton episode, which suggests a strong case for invasion of privacy.

"Regarding the NOTW case, I think the paper did what any paper in that situation believing the information to be in the public's interest would have done. Of course, I'm mindful of the fact that stirring up scandal is the NOTW's bread and butter. However, the paper did not allege that the Nazi references were criminal; they alleged that the Nazi references were in bad taste and called Mosley's judgment and politics into question. So there was no reason to go to the police before publishing. And even if the references were criminal, the paper had no obligation to reveal its information to the police. Had the paper been in possession of information related to, say, an imminent terrorist attack or other clear and present danger to national security, then they would be expected to share that information with the authorities. But in this case, there was no such requirement on their part.

"By the way, many media observers have viewed the Mosley win as a dangerous precedent for press freedom in the U.K. What's your take on that?

"You say: "The problem we have with the media in Trinidad is that everything is sensationalised before being fully fleshed out." You're absolutely right. But for things to be fleshed out, you need intelligent journalists who can think critically about the issues of the day. And therein lies the problem. You can't hire a bunch of 'A' and 'O' level students to go cover politics, business, media, society etc. They're ill-equipped intellectually to grapple with those topics. A university degree should be the minimum requirement for a job in journalism today. That's how it is abroad.

"Look at the staffs of many U.S. news organisations. Many of them are graduates of some of the top U.S. universities. Same thing in the UK, as you know. The BBC is a virtual Oxbridge enclave, as are the Guardian, the Times and the Financial Times. These people are smart, serious journalists, not kids with notepads and microphones 'trying a ting' as we say."


Our response:
Your "trying a ting" remark hit the nail on the head in reference to the Trinidad media.
Many of the young reporters are coming out of school with "O" and "A" levels and not much else. Others gravitate to the media from other professions such as teaching, banking, public relations, you name it, and because they either look good or sound good according to the station managers, they are given the job.
If you do a survey of how many people in the media today started in the profession with a journalism degree or got subsequent university-level training, you would see the true picture.

It all comes down to what media managers are willing to pay for the talent they are hiring. It's cheaper to pay someone as a trainee or junior reporter rather than as a senior reporter, so they hire from the bottom up and throw that unschooled person into the fray with minimal in house training to cover business, politics, entertainment, etc.
Then after a few years of that, that reporter of course gets to thinking they are the best at what they do, so they get promoted to the rank of senior reporter/broadcast journalist, but often times they never get any formal training. There are lots of people in newsrooms in Trinidad who can be pointed out - the young lady in the You Tube interview is one. She started out as a teacher then went to the Guardian as a trainee reporter. Now she is a senior multi media journalist at TV6. She does not have any media training aside from the few in-house courses her bosses may have sent her on.
Basic media training that would be expected from anyone who has a journalism degree is sorely lacking in the Trinidad media. But what's to be done?

On the issue of press freedom, it probably is sending a message that journalists, media managers, editors need to be careful. If they can prove their case then yes, by all means go out and print the story. But sometimes you have to wonder about their motives. Scandal is the bread and butter of NOTW, but would well-respected media houses like the BBC or ITN have run that same story before anyone else, just to say they scooped everyone else?
Perhaps it comes down to what should be sensationalised and what should not.


The comments keep on coming.

I don’t understand your line of reasoning re the Max Mosley case as it applies to Sampson Nanton. The News of the World published the story and videos alleging that the S&M orgy contained Nazi references and overtones. If they could have proved this "in court, the ruling may have gone in their favour. As it turned out, their main witness, one of the orgy participants, refused to testify so their case fell apart. The judge ruled based on the evidence.

"If the orgy in fact had Nazi references, would the revelation of that not have been in the public’s interest given Mosley’s position as FIA president and the fact that his father supported the Nazis? I think so. The NOTW also thought so – or so they claimed. But the burden of proof was on the NOTW to prove this and they did not and lost the case.

"The Nanton case is quite different and it would be hard for the people who posted the photos on the Internet to prove that they did so in the public’s interest. But I am not familiar with all the facts of the Nanton case, so maybe you all can enlighten us a bit on exactly what transpired.

"When the Nanton pictures emerged, I actually thought the whole situation made for an interesting “story behind the story” piece dealing with privacy issues in the Internet age. I was surprised that none of the dailies – to my recollection – pursued this angle to the story.

"I saw that you also referenced the case of the Philadelphia anchor who was fired for hacking into his colleague’s email. Did someone hack into Nanton’s email or files at work? Again, I don’t know the facts of the case. But if that is what happened, then he can certainly bring a case for violation of privacy. But then this raises another question: Should he have had the pictures on his work computer in the first place? Because I assume that that would have been a violation of company IT privileges.

"Also, storing the photos on his work computer would have shown very bad judgment on his part. In the wrong hands, those photos could have been used to blackmail him or compromise him as a journalist.

"But hey, let's give the guy some love. After all, he did try to faithfully document his conquests like a serious journalist would. Hunter S. Thompson would be proud."


Here's our response:
In Sampson's case, the photos were on his laptop computer which he had taken to work with him. While he was reading the news, two young ladies in the newsroom gained access to the laptop files/photos and copied them without his knowledge and forwarded them to other people and that's how that whole mess started.

In the case of the Philadelphia anchor, he practically did the same thing - gaining access to the young woman's personal files which had nothing to do with him or the company, and giving that information to a newspaper for publishing.

In the case of Max Mosely, we take the point that if NOTW had been able to prove that Mosely was involved in anything to do with Nazi references, then it may have been in the public's interest to know about it. But then it raises the question of how the information was obtained and how it was used, and what is the media's role in these types of cases.

Should NOTW editors then have taken a decision to share the information with the police before publishing it if they thought the Nazi references were criminal? Or were they just trying to stir up scandal?
Whose interests were they really serving?
The problem we have with the media in Trinidad is that everything is sensationalised before being fully fleshed out. So by the time people sensibly start looking at an issue that's already been plastered across every newspaper and tv station, it's been so scandalised that it's often unclear what the real issue was in the first place.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We have been informed that Sampson "used the Company's Computer to record his bedroom activity,...", and "His computer was in the news room and the information was accessed from the IT department all the way downstairs the building."
You be the judge.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Well Joanne, we hope the MATT meeting went well today.
We hope you had a good turnout from journalists who were interested in the crime situation and who were interested in hearing from someone of Mr Daly's calibre.
And we hope you printed the thick handout on media ethics.


Here's another comment on the You Tube fiasco.


"If you're going to criticise (deservedly) Sasha for her amateurish interview, shouldn't you at least get your grammar right?

"You say: "She must have went to the Dan Rather school of TV Journalism."
No, she must have gone to the Dan Rather school of TV Journalism. That's the correct usage.

"Also, you say: "...I thought TV Journalists in the U.S. are bad." Granted, there are some crap journalists in the U.S., but I can't recall when last I saw an interviewer be humiliated the way Jerry Narace did Sasha. I've watched the late Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, Brian Williams, Gwen Ifill, that ass Bill O'Reilly and others interview powerful business people and politicians on controversial topics (the Iraq war, for instance), and have never seen any of them have the interview hijacked by the guest and be disrespected in this way. This 'interview' was a disgrace.

"What it showed was:
a) the complete lack of respect elected officials like Narace have for the media in Trinidad
b) the amateurish approach to journalism in Trinidad

"The first point derives from the second. If you send out amateur journalists to do a professional's job, what do you expect? Sasha didn't just let herself and TV6 down, she exposed the whole charade that is T&T media."


Mike, we have been saying that for a long time. But it seems no one is listening.


We were remiss in mentioning on Thursday evening that Odeka O'Neil-Seaton looked lovely presenting the 7pm news on CNC 3.
Her make up was very subtle, her hair was nicely styled and the director gave us an extreme close up which framed her face perfectly when she was reading on her own.
Thank you.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


The full list of awardees for the Lumen Awards is on the Catholic Archdiocese website.

Of the five awards presented in the television and film categories, only one went to a tv station, WIN TV.

The Express newspaper took two of the three awards for print.

Kudos to the winners, and winners and non-winners alike, please take heed of the keynote address by chief judge, Jones P. Madeira. It's available as a pdf file on the website.

HOW TO.....

We came across an interview between Fox's Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera.
Now if anyone wants tips on how to interview someone who is belligerent, or how to answer a belligerent host, here's how.
A must see! Answers and questions ready from both men.
This interview was just a few seconds longer than Miss Mohammed's, but 100% more watchable.
Hope you have pen and paper.


Here's hoping the issue of media ethics will be discussed as a secondary matter during that meeting, Joanne.
Or better yet, print a handout. A thick one.


Maybe we missed the newspaper story, but can anyone tell us who won awards and for what categories at the recent Lumen Awards co-sponsored by MATT and the Catholic Church?
CNC 3's Satesh Mahabir gave us a story on Monday July 7th, but unbelievably there was no mention of the awardees.


Well Sampson we came across this story on the BBC of the FIA President, Max Mosley winning his lawsuit against the News of the World which published photos and video of him taken during a private orgy.

The judge ruled that ""there was no public interest or other justification for the clandestine recording, for the publication of the resulting information and still photographs, or for the placing of the video extracts on the News of the World website - all of this on a massive scale.""

So once again, there's good precedent for you to pursue some sort of punitive action against those culprits who were intent on damaging your career.
But we all know the joke's on them now.


Hello journalists, here's another plug for a meeting of the Media Association of Trinidad & Tobago.

"The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago is pleased to invite journalists to another MATT Morning Meeting at Crowne Plaza this Friday July 25 at 8 a.m.

"This MATT Morning will feature Law Association President Martin Daly SC addressing crime, an issue of serious national concern.

"The MATT Morning provides an opportunity for journalists and other members of the local media community to gather and discuss relevant issues and concerns not just for media practitioners but the society as a whole.

"For further information please contact Joanne Briggs, President, MATT at (868) 687 7591."

Hmmm. Guess that means she's on Skype.
Anyway please try to be on time this time around, because we believe refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Here's one for CNC 3, TV6 and CNMG.

"TV6 if you want to remain competitive please up the strength on your signal. That's why you have a National License. The days for climbing the house to put up an antenna done. If there is one sure way CNC3 can whip everybody, that is if Rosemarie Sant is serious about holding on to her staff, is to come more powerful than everybody in their re-launch later this year, having attained a National License.

"CNMG your signal is weakening, please stay at the top of the game. You have a solid non cable audience because people can pick you up much clearer...this is where CNC3 will have to attempt to do better. TV6 you playing the fool, is not now all yuh TV showing scratchy. Telling people thanks for choosing your news is not enough. Up your standards, and please do your audience justice with your National License.

"And Rosemarie Sant over at CNC3 what's up with you this year? So far from early in the year you have lost four employees, three of them very solid reporters in the industry.

"First we missed Kimberly Mc Khan sometime around February, later it was known that she resigned after a squabble with you Rose, then one month later, in March Marcia Braveboy seem to have disappeared. I was told due to another squabble of a different kind with you again Rose - she too resigned. More recently the voice of your Young or Junior reporter Jamilia Constance also disappeared, again I was reliably informed she resigned a few weeks ago after a scuffle of words between you and herself Rose --- and finally the whole town knows by now that Neil Beekhee resigned and is moving to a man he may not have had a fight with you Rose, but clearly something got to him.

"Well, well, well, Mrs. Sant, the problem cannot be with all these employees, you need to do some introspection Rosemarie, long before you frustrate your self out of CNC3 as well.

"So Rosemarie, now that the town is buzzing about the relaunch of the mighty CNC3, what kind of material are you really relaunching with? Minus your obvious better employees who kissed your newsroom goodbye, will your audience now be subjected to Samuel Mc Knight and Otto Carrington? Who else is there Rose? Please do not subject us to your presenters voicing stories Rosemarie, that's not good business.

"Well I certainly will be looking out for your plan B Rosemarie, and if it entails bringing in new staff, I will Pray in earnest that you manage to keep them."



And the comments keep coming. This one is from media trini.

"As a media practitioner I would hardly comment on co-media workers but Sasha's attempted "interview" with the Minister deserves comment on several issues. I viewed the clip repeatedly and found several areas of focus.
(i) the minister kept referring to the CCN feature on health. Sasha, if you went free-nilly reporting on the health industry and thought you'd get away without checking, double-checking and triple-checking your facts, my dear it will always return to bite you in the rear.

"(ii) Sasha, he was on your turf. Not for one minute did you or your producer act to control the interview. The minister was given free reign to say whatever he wanted and Sasha's feeble attempts to stop him clearly showed up her terrible skills as a reporter in any case. You needed to be firm and demand direct answers. More importantly, the fact that she couldn't even counter with anything solid, leaves us wondering if we should ever have had any confidence in her "facts" in the feature in the first place.

"(iii) Sasha began to slump and write absolutely nothing during the interview, her body language showing total weakness as an interviewer, totally intimidated.
I must say it is the worst interview I have ever seen on television.
Shame on Sasha and shame on TV6."


Some more advice for Miss Mohammed.

"Well Sasha you always wanted to make it BIG! It appears you have accomplished that with the help of YouTube. If it be any comfort for you Sasha, you can fall back on the saying that a "reporter is only as good as their last story" --- this may not be feeble in this case to which you now have an opportunity to redeem yourself as I know you would.

"Pray too many people overseas do not find this Media Watch site Sasha, or the responses will be flooding in as I know it is on other blogs and chat forums.

"This joke is really not to be laughed at, as it reflects bad on journalism in the Caribbean and especially Trinidad and Tobago, not to mention it mirrors badly on those of us who pride ourselves as good reporters and those of us aspiring to be good at this period.

"But we must know our strengths and what we are ready for. I guess this is why "NN" is upset with Narace, because she/he understands that this ordeal makes the media fraternity look bad.

"In the end, the reporter is duty bound to take charge of his or her set and interviewee...Sasha if anything I hope you have learned to pop an embarrassing question - the next time you meet a situation like that, but you must first know what that question would be.

"Next time do not give an interviewee at that level the opportunity to express concerns at the beginning of an interview Sasha, you will set yourself up. Always start with a question, and an unsettling one. Be prepared always."



We saw this story on CNN and searched for it on the net.
Remember that Sampson Nanton debacle a couple of years ago? Well there may be hope for redress for him after all.

A prominent news anchor in Philadelphia has been charged with a felony count of "intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization to obtain information."

Well Sampson it's worth a try to get some redress. After all, the names of the perpetrators have been bandied about on various websites (NOT this one), and you probably have a very good idea who the culprits are.

Need the name of a good lawyer?


Well the You Tube site has been racking up many comments, not too many positive for Sasha, but Sandra has some words of comfort.

"Now, now, now Sasha, do not let this business of journalism get to your head. Even those of us who are multi talented have specific strengths that make us look good at what we do; for Richard Charan, it is his ability to get the best story and present it well, for Robert Clarke, it is his great writing skill as is evident in his stories, for Charlene Stuart, it is her tremendous ability to unfold a story well, for Shelly Dass and Colleen Holder it is their natural ability to present news and keep an audience, for Marcia Braveboy it is a great voice that everyone talks about, for Sampson Nanton it is the opportunity to witness a great stand-up as always, and of course for Sasha Mohammed it is her ability to break stories, and have every other reporter following up...and I can go on and on, because there is a lot of talent out there in the industry...

"This is not to say that you attempt to throw yourself into any and anything unprepared Sasha, a blunder like that Jerry Narace interview could override your other abilities my dear, be careful.

"I take NN's point about Narace being rude and sullying the image of the station, but that was his game plan, to sit on the river stone and bad talk it and he got away with it, that's his gain and the reporter's loss...but wait, let me guess, Madam Sasha would have to come out looking good, it would make it to the classic Friday "Things that make you go huh" pieces.

"Well take some advice Sasha...let it blow over, it is not that you are incompetent, but your incompetence in handling a live piece is what will be mocked at in such an attempt.

"You are not yet ready to do live interviews Sasha, do it pre-recorded until you develop enough confidence to go live, take it in strides.
Are you your own boss Sasha?

"Just asking."


Tuesday, July 22, 2008


And another one, from Gump.

"WOW, and I thought TV Journalists in the U.S. are bad.
I just love women who ask questions and make statements but before you can respond they hammer on with more stupid questions and statements.

"Imagine having to watch THIS every day.

"She must have went to the Dan Rather school of TV Journalism."


Here's another comment about the interview.

"Oh, my apologies. Thanks to whoever sent the YouTube link. I quoted the Honourable Minister incorrectly. He didn't use the word 'authorise' What he really said was "You all did a feature before, I did not agree to that". No real difference except maybe the word 'authorise' was a bit lofty on my part. Just as bad though.
Worse yet is the fact that the Minister was actually interviewed as part of the series! I didn't see the body of work that was so roundly dismissed by the Minister but could it have been that bad? Can anyone who saw the series in its entirety comment on the presentation?

"That farce of an interview is even more disgraceful after a second viewing. I still can't believe TV6 allowed a Minister of this government to challenge their integrity about the presentation of correct information when there are numerous examples of this very government deliberately misleading the population. I hope the citizens of this country understand that just because a Minister says something, it doesn't make it right or true."



For those of you who missed the live interview, an enterprising reader has sent us this link, where the interview has been posted on You Tube.

Don't forget to give us your comments.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Another comment about the interview.

"I am not surprised that it seemed like Minister Jerry Narace bulldozed his way into a TV6 exchange, his behaviour was evidence of the fact that this PNM Government is reaching into Newsrooms in this country and giving directives as to who should be fired, and who should not be in the news room.

"I am no fan of Sasha Mohammed, but I think she is over doing it with her anti PNM Government reporting...

"As for the part about "pieces not being authorised" ludicrous, plainly ludicrous, but only equally ludicrous as Sasha's anti PNM approach to journalism, so Sasha I hope you know now what your own medicine taste like.

"We did not give authorization?! Huh? Watch out reporters."



Here's another comment on the issue from the same person.

"As I noted some time ago, the local government consultations proceed without investigation by any media house. A good example is the recent one held in Diego Martin. From someone who was there, I learnt that most of the audience comprised party groups in the constituency, disgruntled Corporation workers and a sprinkling of residents. But you would never guess from the news coverage we got.
Only clips and quotes from Hazel Manning. Steups! There are so many issues, pertinent to the audiences, bubbling under the surface in all the Corporations and begging to be exposed.
But I heard a senior journalist comment that news comprises facts...imagine that! Figures though..."



Here's a comment on Miss Mohammed's interview with Jerry Narace.

"That debacle of a newscast featuring the Minister of Health was appalling on so many levels.

"It seemed as if Minister Narace manhandled his way onto the set based on the way he attempted, from the onset, to discredit the integrity of the TV6 newsroom. His belligerent attitude and obvious vexation about the content of Ms. Mohammed stories was unacceptable. In fact, he actually had the gall to say that the Ministry did not 'authorise' the journalist's pieces...what!?! Since when to Minister's have to authorise a story on a public institution?

"So that leads me now to the HoN, who seemed to have been bulldozed into allowing Minister Narace on the set to rebut in the first place. Was that necessary? Ministers of government get more coverage of their points of view that any other group of people. In fact, in most news stories, they are the only ones quoted! What news value did Minister's presence bring? It would have been impossible for him to accurately and succinctly address all the concerns raised in the series in the space of 15 minutes, so I see it as valuable air time wasted.

"If the information presented in the stories was so incorrect, why were they broadcast? Was this an attempt to put the overtly 'anti-government' reporter in her place? It was quite embarrassing for Ms. Mohammed who barely had a chance to get a word in with the Minister who rattled off figures that no-one who was listening will remember anyway.

"The entire incident called into question the level of autonomy and independence newsrooms have when critiquing government. We're supposed to be living in a democracy where principles of 'freedom of the press' and by extension the broadcast media are supposed to be in practice. All that newscast did, in my mind, was cast a shadow over TV6's commitment to these ideals.

"I'm glad I had a chance to see it first-hand. I would not have believed it otherwise."


And we are not sure how Mr Narace even came up with that part about the pieces not being authorised, because he gave them credence by being interviewed for, and appearing in, the recorded pieces.


And the inconsistencies continue, this time with the story of the man shot in Port of Spain on Sunday.

Denyse Renne of the Express tells us "Lewis died on arrival." (at the Port of Spain general hospital). But the Newsday's Indarjit Seuraj tells us that "Despite undergoing emergency surgery, Lewis succumbed to his injuries."
While the Guardian's Camille Clarke tells us "Cordell Lewis, 35, of Beverly Hills, succumbed to his injuries while on the way to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital, investigators said."
So Miss Clarke gives us a different first name, different age and different address for the victim, all the while telling us that he died on the way to the hospital.


At 7am Monday, we hear TV6's Keisha David reading a story about a shooting in Morvant on Friday night, with supporting video of police at the scene of the crime.
But our question is...was the tape misplaced over the weekend?
Did someone forget to write the story?
Why wasn't the story used on Saturday and Sunday, and why is it still relevant on Monday morning?

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Two things for two stations.

First off, TV6.
We saw your lead story on Sunday was that exclusive footage of the man who was shot at Tamarind Square. Kudos to your cameraman for getting the shot (no pun intended) of the victim being whisked off to the hospital in the back of a police van, and the cell phone video at the scene.
However, the news presenter Gerard Lampow told us the shooting occurred at 1pm, yet at 7pm there was no word on the identity of the victim.
Why? Didn't anyone from your newsroom go to the hospital and get information from relatives of the dead man or the police?

Well Denyse Renne of the Express, your sister paper, tells us that the man was identified as Claudel Lewis of Diego Martin.
Miss Renne also gives us conflicting information from your report. Mr Lampow told us the man was exiting a taxi at Tamarind Square, but Miss Renne says he "was standing in front William H Scott Ltd, on Independence Square, speaking with a friend when the gunman approached him and shot Lewis five times."
Then Mr Lampow told us the gentleman was shot three times in the back, but again Miss Renne's version differs, as she says "He received gunshot wounds to the chest, shoulder and leg."
So which report is correct?

Then the other thing that caught us was seeing Marcia Hope in the shot interviewing a gentleman on a faulty retaining wall, but hearing Patrice Manradge's voice on the packaged story. Hmmm.
Was something wrong with Marcia's voice at the last minute that she could not put her voice to her own story?

CNMG on the other hand had two interesting stories in their 7pm newscast.
The first was the story of the young Catholic priest from the Rio Claro parish who was ordained on Saturday and gave his first homily on Sunday. The story was voiced by Naette Lee (and there was a cameo appearance in the congregation by the station's Ag. Head of News Curtis Williams).
It was different and very interesting. Kudos probably to Mr Williams for suggesting that the story be done, because the lead-in dealt specifically with Pope Benedict's recent comments that fewer young men are entering the priesthood.

The second story that was really interesting was the one on the Old Time Moriah Wedding. Again, a story with a difference to break the monotony of crime and politics.
The story was voiced by Stacy Ann Providence (not sure if she wrote it), but the sound bites were waaaay too long.....especially the one from the father of the bride.
We really just needed a few seconds to hear the dialect and get a feel for the performance, but we got to the stage where we were wondering when it would end. That's what you don't want for your viewer or else they will switch you off.
Otherwise the camera work was good and the colours were very vibrant. A nice light story for a Sunday evening newscast, and an appropriate light response from news presenter Sandra Maharaj afterwards.

Friday, July 18, 2008


TV6's Sasha Mohammed did another live, on-set interview this evening in the 7pm news.
This time her guest was none other than Health Minister, Jerry Narace. This comes at the end of her week-long nightly in-depth stories on the health sector.
Well once again we'll keep our comments to ourselves and ask you, our loyal readers, to weigh in on the interview.
What do you think of Sasha's interviewing skills?


We've updated the post on the Best Journalism Schools in the US and the UK, with a new website address for Columbia University's Grad School, as well as direct links to all the universities listed.

We've also updated the post on French Journalism Schools with direct links to those as well.

So go out and apply for some additional training, before we have to start calling names.


Dalton Narine has an excellent piece in the Guardian recounting the relationship between the country's first Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams and legendary pan man Rudolph Charles.
But after the third picture, the story is printed again from the beginning, so you have to fight your way through it again to figure out where you were.

"When she lost those two sepia stones to the river, the Laventille hill began to break apart. Elders had relocated outside the area, moving into their own homes.
Boat migrants from lesser islands flooded the space. And, Dupre believes, US television programmes glorifying the culture of crime crippled the hill like a curse.
All of that took a toll on her, the hill.
And so, a nation watched as a virulent strain of violence coursed through her veins.
It had supplanted the blood of good men who shared a passion for leadership."


Well it seems HR managers in the media industry are very busy these days as there's lots of movement taking place.
We have been informed that CNC 3 has lost Neil Beekhee and Jameila Constance. It's unclear where Miss Constance is off to, but it seems Mr Beekhee is heading over to CNMG, where Curtis Williams will be his Acting Head of News.
Curtis is taking over from Julian Rogers who is now the international corporate communications consultant at a well-known telecommunications conglomerate.

While back at CNC 3, Sampson Nanton has been given the nod to hold down the post of Head of News while Mr & Mrs Sant take a well-needed vacation. Well Astil, if that's the only way you'll get to read the sportscast you had better make the most of it.
Maybe Sampson can put in a good word for you to read more often once Roger gets back.

Former TV6 poster girls Bobbi Jeffrey-Hicks and Charlene Stuart are coincidentally now colleagues again at the Government Information Service, in the familiar roles of presenter and reporter.

And we understand Sunil Ramdeen of WIN TV was tipped to take over the post of Acting Head of News at CNMG, but that plan fell through, while a certain high-profile radio boss is tipped to revamp WIN TV.


Here's a comment from a concerned reporter, we think.

"Well!! Well, when will media houses begin paying their employees..So reporters like Melissa Williams of IE TV will not have to engage in moon lighting, so she is now reporting for GIS. Isn't that double standards she seems to be confused, is she into PR or does she want to be taken seriously.

"Melissa....maybe you and Nalini Seelal should recognise that reporters should present the facts and not engage in lobbying as openly as you did for the (Commissioner of Police) candidate.
Ms. Williams i suggest you re-evaluate yourself and figure out what you want to do in terms of your job.

"And by the way i see Charlene Stewart has emerged again... Since the Tv 6 chaos glad to see you holding down another 9 to 5.
Kudos to Bobbi though on your arrival to greener pastures, Tv 6 understimated your talents...Well their loss.

"P.S Employers pay your staff!!!"



Well we have been watching and it's sad to say that some things just never change.

We'll start with Natalie Briggs of C News.
Miss Briggs, who put a gun to your head and forced you to put your voice to the stories on the man whose home was flooded and the re-opening of the NP gas station on Wrightson Road?
You know what you sounded like? You probably said to yourself "Well they told me I have to do it so I am doing it." Totally discourteous to your viewers as you sounded very disinterested, on two consecutive nights. Why should your viewers waste their time to listen to you when it seems you can't be bothered to put some effort into telling them your story?
Get it through your head that you are working in an internally and externally competitive industry! When the viewer switches from your dead-in-the-water-can't-bother-to-put-any-effort -into-this-boring-story, then it's too bad for the person unfortunate enough to have their story come up in the line-up after yours because chances are the viewer will completely miss it because they were caught by a story one of your competitors is showing!
Are you going through some personal tragedy that makes it hard for you to concentrate on work at this time? Then by all means take some time off, regroup, and come back invigorated. Otherwise, snap out of your semi-coma and get to work!
Your producer needs to light some fire under you and vet every voice piece you do from now on because you are just not cutting it!
And to top it off, the audio mix on that NP story was awful.

Your colleague at IETV, Nadine Hackett also needs some voice lessons, as we have advocated for on numerous occasions. She still ends every sentence with a high pitch, which we are still trying to fathom. And she also did the story on the man whose house was flooded, but she told her viewers the house was "swamt" with water. We are guessing she was trying to say swamped.

The story with the two young people who drowned at Guanapo was interesting, as again there were different reports on what really happened.
Then we had Mark Bassant of C News on the scene on Sunday night, so his stand up played into his packaged story in Monday's 7pm newscast.
The earring Mark! It's not even a stud, which would have been more conspicuous but still unacceptable. Your earring looked more like a napkin ring stuck to the side of your head, it was just too large and distracting.
Granted if you went on the hike and were caught unawares and you were doing the standup in the heat of the moment we could possibly understand, but we suspect you left your office on Sunday evening and headed to Guanapo when you heard about the tragedy of the missing hikers.
So your cameraman did not think to tell you to remove the earring when you were on camera? Well it was probably the same cameraman who did that interview with the young woman whose breasts were exposed. Mark, news is serious business but you are not treating it as such, neither is your producer.
And it seemed as if your producer had to appease you again on Tuesday with the second story of the 7pm newscast when we had another story from you which was recorded in Guanapo on Sunday evening. Did they feel sorry for you having to stand in the rain on Sunday so they gave you the go-ahead to do a second story from that event?

And for that same story, Samuel McKnight at CNC 3 said "What is even worst...". Hmmm.
Please Mrs Sant, when you return from your vacation, send Samuel for some much-needed rest first then some voice training after. We know we didn't say anything about his voice, but it's still needed.

Then for the story on the young woman who died at Mount Hope after a truck ran into her, there were again different accounts. One report said the offending car slammed into the back of the truck which then hit the young woman. But in that same story, we saw a huge dent on the driver's side of the car and not a scratch in the front.
Another report said the truck driver was trying to overtake the taxi, then crashed into the taxi and hit the young woman.

And of the same story, the Guardian's Geisha Kowlessar wrote on Thursday that "The five young women were standing on the Eastern Main Road, mere metres from the Mt Hope Worship Tabernacle where they had attended Bible studies only moments ago."
While on Friday, her colleague Michelle Loubon wrote "But Jessop’s flocks were determined to continue labouring in the Lord’s vineyard. Therefore, Bible classes were not aborted."

On Monday, Justin D. and Fazeer Mohammed of First Up on CNMG were trying to get to the bottom of the conflicting newspaper headlines on the PM's speech on Sunday. Did he say he was gunning for an Executive President, yes or no?
Well Fazeer came to the conclusion that it comes down to how the different reporters interpreted the speech. Well Fazeer, we are guessing that their tape recorders were trying to translate Mr Manning's speech from German into English and that's where the confusion over interpretation became an issue.

And on Friday morning, Justin read a story at 6am about the 90th birthday celebrations of Nelson Mandela, and the visuals for the entire story were five black and white photos of the great man.
So, your station which has been around forever, in different shapes and forms, could not cough up one video shot of Mr Mandela? All this week the BBC has been featuring his various pre-birthday celebrations. The person who wrote that story or took it off the wires or the producer couldn't ensure that someone just stuck a tape in a machine and record one minute of video of Mr Mandela?

And finally, how could we forget the Grenada elections?
The most we can remember about it was that callers to one radio station in particular were not at all pleased with the coverage from regional journalist Peter Richards.
Peter, they said you were biased in your reporting and did not reflect what was actually happening on the ground among the voters. They said you were predicting a win for Keith Mitchell's party, when all along the pre-election polls were pointing to a resounding victory for Tillman Thomas' party.
Well Peter if you've learned one thing, it's to not call the result until the last vote is counted.

And lest you think it's just bad news, we want to say kudos to Charlene Ramdhanie, Desha Rambhajan and Samantha John for looking so spiffy in the last couple of weeks.
Charlene really has come a long way, and Samantha has a new haircut that suits her features.
But Samantha we can't understand why your boss has chosen to change the format of your newscast again. Now we have you on the set at the start of the newscast by yourself, then Joel only comes in for the sport. What's up with that?
And Astil at CNC 3, on Thursday night at the start of the newscast you were the same height as Shelly and Odeka, but when they were introducing you for the sportscast, you seemed to tower over them.
Your director needs to set the height of your chair and stick with it.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Here is a comment for Wendell Constantine, the new host of Prime Time T&T on CNMG following the departure of Julian Rogers.

"Wendell Constantine over at CNMG saw it fit to address the issue of the three year old child that was battered to death by a relative. Very relevant I thought...and great going Wendell.
But Wendell, to line you up next to Julian Rogers will gives us a chalk and cheese situation. Sorry to make the comparison but Julian does have his signature all over that show; after all he did start it.

"You should have taken some tips from Julian who ask questions and pose remarks, or comments of his own that require a response.
But you Wendell have your guests responding to your opinions on the issues being discussed. I was so sorry Diana Mahabir Wyatt was subjected to this painful ordeal on your Prime Time show on Monday evening.
Interviewer bias plagues your show Wendell. You keep influencing the response of the interviewee. Where did you learn that Wendell? Sigh, your opinions, not questions are making me tired.



In the 8pm newscast on CNC 3, Sampson Nanton once again has the spelling of Ronnie Mohammed's company as Nutramix.
It's Nutrimix!


Some more positive reviews for Mr Renn.

"Finally Astil gets a break! And he did a good job with the sportscast tonight despite a few glitches.

"Robert Dumas, you read a hockey story tonight...learn how to pronounce people's names nah. 'Job' the surname is not pronounced like 'job' the occupation. And 'Legerton' is not akin to the pronunciation of the Minister of Education. Steups!

"Still trying to decide on Odeka's new hairstyle...hmmm...
And Samantha, as Joel now calls her as he hand over (good job), I'm loving your suit tonight. The fuschia and white go well together and on you!"

Yep Samantha, exactly as we said. Insist that Joel sticks to your proper name.
Leave the abbreviations for the newsroom.


CNC 3's Satesh Mahabir reported on the Lumen Awards for CNC's 7pm newscast.
One of the best soundbites he used from the chief judge, veteran journalist Jones P. Madeira was that he was concerned about "What happened to who, what, when, where, why and how?" in local media reporting.
Maybe they are on extended vacation?
Mr Madeira also said the news stories could have been much better, and that the mere regurgitation of information from the internet was not good enough.
Satesh told us that there were no entries for radio.

Mr Madeira also said something very interesting, that "If in this business one fails to appreciate constructive comments, then one fails tremendously in understanding his or her role as residents in the estate of mass communication."
Something we have been saying all along, for those who don't like our comments.
Maybe we can inveigle Mr Madeira to be a guest commentator.

Anyway, at the end of his report, Satesh said awards were handed out for print and television. Full stop, with just a shot of the awards lined up on a table.
He did not give us any results, nor did we see any awards being presented to any winners (although we saw lots of reporters sitting in the audience), falling into the trap of exactly what Mr Madeira said...WHO won??? And for WHAT categories??? And WHY???

Miss Ramkissoon, when are you going to bring Mr Madeira and Mr Fraser back on your morning show?
We wait with bated breath.

Among the members of the audience at the awards we saw WIN TV's Sunil Ramdeen.
What is going on with WIN these days, Sunil? Is there any forward movement?
Do you have any additional staff?


Astil seems really relaxed on the set while reading the sportscast.
Wonder why the folks at TV6 didn't give him a chance to show what he can do?
Well Astil we can tell you that we are pleased that your head is not violently swinging from left to right like your colleague over at TV6, Joel Villafana.
No offence Joel, but we have to take gravol tabs to look at your sportscast, so we would prefer to watch Roger, Robert and now Astil.
He doesn't seem nervous at all. But there was a long pause before the bmobile football story.

And oh dear, the first boo boo for Astil. He voiced a report on cricket and said his name in the tag, which was left in the report.
This is probably an indicator that his reading the sportscast was a last minute decision, not planned for days on end.
Tut tut. Not your fault Astil. Maybe with all the excitement surrounding your debut the editor forgot to remove the tag.


Andy Johnson is reporting live from Grenada in TV6's 7pm news and thankfully tonight he does not look like a toolum (see Williams did not reveal anything!).
He has lots of light on his face.
Thanks TV6.


Well the hype has died down over the 'revelations' which were supposed to be made by Snr. Supt. Stephen Williams today following his meetings with PM Manning.
Today he said the meetings were strictly confidential so he could not reveal any details. The salivating members of the media were probably seriously deflated.

Anyhow at noon the media houses were reporting that he was revealing all, but at 7pm, their focus changed to mutual support between Mr Williams and James Philbert (TV6 & CNMG), and CNC 3 reported that Mr Williams was refuting Colm Imbert's statement that the PSC's selection process was flawed.

PS Sampson Nanton of CNC, the flour company is Nutrimix not Nutramix.
You went to a press conference with VP Ronnie Mohammed and didn't get the correct spelling of his company's name? Steups!


Ay ay! Sports reporter at CNC 3, Astil Renn is on the set of the 7pm news with Odeka O'Neil-Seaton, gearing up to read the sportscast!
Finally the Sants give in to some pressure and allow Astil to read the sportscast.
Well Astil it's nice to see another face on set. We'll get back to you during the sportscast.


Here are comments for Leeron Brummel and Desha Rambhajan.

"Leeron Brummel over at TV6, another young reporter in the making, you gave an update in your mid-day update on the media Conference of nominated COP Stephen Williams and your every other word was interjected with uh's and um's - oh gosh man!
Leeron please listen to the recording of your update so you will see how annoying and distracting and hard-to-listen-to that is.

"And Desha Rambhajan over at CNMG - I don't know what it is, but you are very hard to look at and listen to, maybe your approach to your work is too casual. You are overly confident and Desha that is a bad thing that leads to over-performance/under-performance.

"Leeron Brummel you're doing ok, but you're another one that is trying too hard to exude too much confidence, I know you see many business executives express the um's and uh's, but my friend there is nothing mature about that, and everything incompetent about it."



Can anyone fill us in on the winners of the Lumen Awards, presented by the Catholic Church and the Media Association of T&T on Sunday evening at Assumption Church?


All the media houses were in their glee, drooling over the impending press conference by the PNM's rejected candidate for COP, Stephen Williams this morning. It was hoped he would divulge details of his recent 'secret' meeting with Prime Minister Patrick Manning. The Newsday's Nalinee Seelal wrote "To add to the growing controversy, Williams told Newsday yesterday that he intends to hold a press conference this morning at the Police Administration Building and will reveal all about his meeting with Prime Minister Patrick Manning last week."
Clearly Mr Williams gave everyone a six for a nine.

TV6's headline for the midday news was 'Williams reveals all', while CNC 3's lead story was that Mr Williams was giving details of his meeting with the Prime Minister.
The soundbite used by CNC 3 was Mr Williams telling the press he could not give any details of his meeting with the prime minister. Eh? At least they had two soundbites.
TV6's Leeron Brummel went to the press conference and we did not see any soundbites from him, but just a report via telephone.
Why didn't Leeron send his first tape back to the office like CNC did so we could at least get something from Mr Williams to back up Leeron's telephone report?

And come come TV6. Grenadians will be voting on Tuesday, so why use the headline 'Grenada Polls'? At the top of his live report from St. George's, Andy Johnson said today is a day of prayer for the people of that country. Why not use that as the headline instead?
And where was the light for Andy's face? He looked like a toolum, with the midday sun directly overhead. Steups! It's not his job to figure these things out. He did his part by providing the report.
Where is the producer to ensure the lighting is correct and the information provided by Andy (in a quick discussion before he goes on air) ties into the headline?????


Here's another comment on Julian Rogers.

"I heard Julian Rogers has returned to Barbados already and is there right now as we sort through the media rubble for him here in Trinidad.

"It appears also that Wendell Constantine is the big guy in CNMG, even bigger than the CEO Dominic Beaubrun."


Well we don't know about the second part. But it's sad that once again Mr Rogers has left Trinidad perhaps for greener pastures. He did have an impact on the work at CNMG, but perhaps it was all too much.
Best of luck to you, Julian.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


We just have two quick questions for TV6's Keisha David re: the 'Angels Among Us' segment which ran in the Sunday 7pm newscast.
First, what is the criteria for being featured in that segment? We couldn't quite reconcile the original concept (that piece done by Sasha Mohammed after her car crash) with the feature on DRETCHI.
And second, if you are featuring a piece on an organisation that caters to the hearing impaired, wouldn't it have been wise to at least use subtitles so people who are hearing impaired and don't already know of DRETCHI's services be able to tell what you were talking about?


There's another new face at Express TV. Rhea-Simone Auguste joins her colleagues Aretha Welch & Rowan Gould (we have not seen Kristy Ramnarine or Julien Neaves in a while).
Miss Auguste is very perky, especially when she comes to the entertainment section and that story on the local rock band, Orange Sky.
Well Miss Auguste is certainly a more fluent reader than all the others we have seen so far, but there were a couple of distractions from her presentation.

First of all, the light shining on the left side of the screen kept flashing on and off. And this actually brought to our attention the fact that Miss Auguste has an earring way up to the top of her right earlobe.
Hmmmm. If you were doing just the entertainment report then perhaps we would have had nothing to say about the earring. But If you want to present serious news, then you have to look like a serious newscaster.
Are you going to put this performance on your show reel just in case you plan to apply for a job as a serious reporter elsewhere?
What do you think your potential interviewer would say about the earring?
Fashionable yes, but serious news look, no.


In the IETV news at 6.30pm, they had an interesting story on veteran newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald spilling about the drinking culture at ITN, when he joined the UK media house back in the 1970's.
The story was run in the Times Online, which the news presenter quoted extensively from but did not credit.


Andre Bagoo of the Newsday has an extended piece on the documentary Caribbean Cops produced by October Films in the UK and which is currently running on Virgin cable 1.
When the original shorter article was run on Friday 4th July in the Newsday under the heading 'TT Crime on UK cable' there was no byline.

In the longer piece in the Sunday edition titled 'TT crime stars in the UK', Andre goes into much more detail on how one policeman felt when he entered a crime scene, and he has endless quotes from the narrator.
Well Andre, the producers of that documentary were able to do what no reporter in Trinidad or Tobago has been successful at: getting complete sanction from the Police Commissioner for carte blanche access to crime scenes and police investigators.
Indictment or not?


The Newsday has a hilarious comic strip on how the Water and Sewerage Authority strikes when you most expect.


CNC 3's sister newspaper, the Guardian has correctly spelt Dr Anna Mahase's name in their promo of her appearance on the Caribbean Trailblazers show scheduled for this evening (page A33 in the Saturday Guardian).
Let's hope CNC corrects the faux pas.


One reader has filled us in on the mystery of Julian Rogers' absence.

"hi martine,

"I noticed your post on julian rogers.
he actually left CNMG about 2 weeks ago. i'm not sure where he went or what circumstances prompted his departure but he was on FIRST UP with fazeer and jesse-may two fridays ago which was his last day at the company talking about the station and how proud he was to be a part of it etc."


Thanks much for the update.
So the next question is, where has he gone to?

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Hmmm. Some words of admonishment/advice for some young reporters.

"Desha Rambajhan over at CNMG you're not getting away from this one.
On Thursday night you made a mighty boo boo. Your presenter Charlene Ramdhanie went to you live for a report on the crime meeting that was taking place - where was it Desha? Anyway, while the National anthem was playing, you were in your nervous glee reporting live...
Are you one of those Young/Junior reporters raking in a heck of a salary from CNMG every month? STEWPS!!!
You wet behind the ears with milk junior reporters that think you all are all that are just painful to follow sometimes. Desha next time you go stage side when the National Anthem is playing (stop talking!).

"And Natoya Johnson over at TV6 I have not forgotten you either, some weeks ago you did a story on Andy Williams whose house was shot up by bandits in Diego Martin and Natoya you referred to Andy as a 'journalist'.
Well I have news for you. He is a talk show host. Go ask your head of News the difference.
You kids are just pissing me off.
STEWPS at you too Natoya."


And Desha in your defence, your producer was probably the one who told the director to go to you at that particular moment when the anthem was playing, so technically it's not your fault because you must have been told to start talking, and you probably would have looked rather stupid standing there either singing or humming the anthem.
However if you did not have a producer at Chaguanas and your producer was in studio, he or she may not have heard that the band was about to strike up the anthem, so the onus would have been on you to say don't come to me right now, give me a minute.
And then again, the announcement was probably being made for the singing of the anthem at the very moment your director went to you.
It's just unfortunate, but now you know better.


Kudos first of all to the four young men who returned Jimbo the pitbull puppy to Brent Metivier (there's a story there waiting to be told!), and kudos as well to Rohandra John and her photographer for a well written and photographed story in the Saturday Express.

And while we are on the Express, Aretha Welch has a write-up on basically a press release from Digicel with the headline 'Digicel claims 39% rise in market share'. But Aretha we want to pick a bone with your sub or whoever came up with the headline.
At first glance, the reader thinks, "Wow! Digicel whipping TSTT boy! 39% increase in market share?". But on closer inspection of the story, Miss Welch tells us "...reported a 39 per cent increase in subscribers from the Caribbean and Latin America within its last financial year...".
Steups! Certainly not 39% market increase in Trinidad & Tobago, which would have made for interesting reading.
That is glaringly misleading your readers.


Where is Julian Rogers of CNMG? He usually hosts the Prime Time T&T evening show, but we have been seeing Wendell Constantine hosting the show.
Is Julian on vacation? Come back soon.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Here's one more comment, from the second paragraph, about Odeka Oneil-Seaton's recent hosting of The Big Story.

"Interesting story from newsday today about lotto fraud. Not sure if it was front page material...but interesting.
Agree with u all on the cnc mistake with odeka and big story. mariano browne was the ideal man that night to interview, but it was so badly done! I heard shelly is sick, but putting odeka there did nothing for odeka. Nice enough face, but we gotta get some savvy there. Its like cnmg putting wendell constantine, (glorified m-c) to replace julian rogers.Come on cnc, ur disappointing me."

Actually we disagree with you. There was nothing wrong with the interview itself.
Odeka had the right guest, the set was the same, she asked decent questions. The only problem was that she probably did not have enough time to prepare herself. That can't be her fault. The economy is a big subject. If she had been told she would be hosting this interview several days earlier she probably would have aced it, but it seems that she was probably asked to host the show very late on the same day when it became apparent that Miss Dass would be a no-show for whatever reason.

But what happened to Anthony Wilson, the Guardian's Business Editor? Why didn't Odeka's boss Rosemarie Sant ask him to host the show?
The fault therefore lies with Mrs. Sant, who had the ultimate say in who would host the show. And Mrs Sant, you also don't want to give the impression that Miss Dass is indispensable. No one in the media is.
Well Odeka, next time take this piece of advice: just say NO! Don't let them put you in that uncomfortable position again, since you will be the one with egg on your face.


Now TV6 has joined the bad-spelling bandwagon with this headline: "Austrailia moves against global warming" in their newscast at 1.30pm.
Hmmmmmmmm. And that headline stayed up on the screen for the entire story.


CNC 3 will be speaking with former Principal of St. Augustine Girls' High School, Dr Anna Mahase in their Caribbean Trailblazers feature this coming Sunday evening.
But we hope you did not spell her name for the show as Ana as we are seeing in the promo for the show.
We are almost sure she can spell, and would be a little miffed that you couldn't spell her name correctly.


The Express front page story of the young boy with cerebral palsy whose puppy was stolen was very well-written, 'Please return my pitbull'.
Kudos Rohandra John.


The Newsday has a story about a documentary on crime in the Caribbean which mainly focusses on crime in Trinidad and Tobago. It was produced by a British production company and is being shown on the UK's Virgin 1 cable channel.
"The documentary also covers Tobago where the story follows a police officer from Crown Point Police station as he investigates a robbery."
Interesting. Have reporters here tried to get this done without success? Have they tried at all?
What are your thoughts on foreign film crews being allowed such easy access to crime scenes and information from police officers, when the reporters here sometimes can't get their facts straight about certain crimes?


Now the Catholic Church has jumped on the bandwagon of doling out Media Awards, with its upcoming Lumen Awards, which are due to be handed out by Archbishop Edward Gilbert on Sunday evening.
The awards are being held in conjunction with the Media Association, and are "aimed at enabling media practitioners to showcase expertise in their fields (print and electronic) and also demonstrate to their peers and competitors their ability to produce effective communication products, while maintaining high ethical standards.".
Well we look forward to see who the recipients are.