Saturday, August 30, 2008


Here is Andy Johnson's (of the Express) final piece from the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, printed in the Friday edition.

Friday, August 29, 2008


9:03pm isn't considered late (especially if you live in the liming capital of the world, Trinidad), but for a newscast which is supposed to begin at 9pm, then that's late.
On Wednesday evening, Wendell Constantine of CNMG was carrying on a discussion on Prime Time T&T on the new national award, but for some reason he did not see it fit to end his discussion so the newscast could begin on time.
Perhaps that was a recorded interview and the master control operator did not press play at the right time?

Anyway, it seems the director tried to take back his three minutes after the newscast began, because he cut into Desha Rambhajan introducing Mark Bassant's story on the flooding.
Strange though that your producer used that story of Hillary Clinton speaking at the Democratic Convention on Tuesday night (and which had been running all day Wednesday) and completely ignored Bill Clinton, who spoke at the Convention shortly before your newscast began.

CNC 3 used some very scrappy video of the flooding in their 9:30pm newscast...the video placement did not match the three related scripts.
Odeka O'Neal read a story on Rennie Dumas commenting on the minimal effect of the rains in Tobago in his capacity as the Tobago West MP, but on the screen we saw his designation as the Labour Minister. Nowhere in that story was he referred to as the Labour Minister.
At least CNC had the sense to use a soundbite from Bill Clinton speaking at the convention on Wednesday night.

Then on Thursday night...the night when Barack Obama would give his acceptance speech...he went onto the stage at 10:11pm, with three minutes of ovations and chanting from the crowd before he said he accepted the party's nomination. This was carried live on BBC, CNN and countless other tv stations around the world.
All this while TV6's 10pm newscast was underway. They finally decided to cut in and take a link from CNN at 10:20pm, and they stayed with him for all of four minutes, before Samantha John came back up, did a brief back-announcement and went on to a story about police in Guyana killing four gunmen, then onto heavy rains in Jamaica as hurricane Gustav was passing over the island.

For the last few days, Andy Johnson has been reporting live via telephone from the convention, on both the main evening news and his own Morning Edition. The main reason he went to the convention was to see history in the making and perhaps draw comparisons/lessons from the event. But at the crucial moment when Mr Obama began his acceptance speech, unfortunately TV6 made Andy's efforts look like a pappyshow.
At least we were able to switch to the international stations and catch the speech live on I95.5.
Then to top it off, Gustav seemed super important at 10:25pm Thursday, but in TV6's first newscast at 6:20am Friday, they began with the same story that was their lead story at 7pm Thursday and there was only a passing reference to the storm way down in the newscast. The BBC had a one on one interview with Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding in a packaged story.
And where was Obama? Again 'mentioned' in the international news roundup segment. Sigh!

And as if they were trying to make up for the passing reference to Gustav in the morning newscasts, at midday TV6 led their newscast with a telephone interview with CCN Correspondent Jason Julien in Kingston (no video out of Jamaica, even though the BBC had been running their story all morning).
Mr Julien answered all the questions posed to him by presenter Gerard Lampow, then just as Gerard was saying his goodbyes, Jason had one request.
"Ah just want to let muh wife know that I am ok, safe and sound, and ah tryin' to get these patties for yuh gyul!"
Bemused look on Gerard's face.
Well there's a first time for everything. So hopefully someone will coach Jason on what not to say if he is interviewed for the news at 7pm.


More on this topic.

"Well Andy Johnson did a very nice relevant Caribbean related piece out of Denver in the Express Newspaper (Wednesday 27, 2008) and that is what I expected of you, great relevant Caribbean pieces that you needed time to is a pity Dominic over at TV6 set you up the way he did, be it intentional or not I agree it was a set up.

"Great job Andy. Keep up the good work. Keep those pieces coming."


Wednesday, August 27, 2008


The comments continue to roll in on the CCN group's decision to send Andy Johnson to cover the US Democratic Convention.

"At least some of us in the media tend to get it right almost at all times, TV6's Dominic Kallipersad and other executive heads at the mighty CCN group may want to see what the BBC Caribbean focused on as its major story in the last 24 hours...see here

"Now, Dominic it may not have been your decision to send Andy to Denver to follow the Democratic Convention, and you may have even objected to it in favour of the Carifesta happening; I do not know for sure, but we hope at least Andy's discoveries and findings can be shared to our local politicians for consideration of fine tuning their own Convention structure.

"Nevertheless, the PNM may only give consideration to such when it is in opposition, they will be too huffed up and puffed up to even bother...meantime Andy you can enlighten us as to what is done better in the US Convention on your morning edition or better yet in a live interview during the TV6 newscast when Dominic is presenting, maybe the UNC will apply some of the tips.

"It is ok to copy only what is good. Do not Americanize, just copy what's good."



Here's one for the editor of the Guardian.

"Like the Guardian editor is mixing up his business and sports stories.
In today's (Wednesday) editorial he mentions Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Gary Hunt four times but only got the correct spelling once. He kept calling the man 'Minister Hart' and not Hunt! I don't think the 'Hart' he is referring to bears any resemblance, apart from skin colour, so I don't understand that blatant mix up.
Like the editor needs an editor or what? Steups..."



Here's another comment on Andy Johnson's trip.

"Well Dominic Kallipersad (of TV6) interviewed Andy Johnson who is in Denver on behalf of the CCN group I take it, and posed to him several questions pertinent to the Caribbean.

"So Dominic, how would Andy know what Hillary or Obama would have done for the Caribbean if he did not speak to either of them?

"From the questions you posed, it was clear you were trying to justify sending Andy off to the great US of A, but it so ends up the both of you were just 'vooping'.

"Poor Andy, it was not his fault, but the experience is good for him, however in his response to the questions, he did not say anything that we would not have already read or heard about in the international media. Tough luck on that one Andy.

"Dominic knows too well a reporter is only as good as his or her last story, next time pretend your phone is not working and just return with your informed articles and do not let Dominic set you up like that again Andy. TV6 stop 'vooping' and think through what you're doing.

"And oh, what were the main points coming out of this year's Carifesta in Guyana Dominic? What was different about it this year as compared to the rage of controversy and disorganisation that plagued it in T&T last year? Were there any comparisons to the event and the performance of the Caribbean Athletes in the Beijing Olympics that you think could have augured well for the peoples of the Region and more so viewers to TV6?
It may be just words to you Dominic, but please do not deprive our children of the things that should be of interest to them."


Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Here's a comment on the Express/TV6 decision to send columnist and Morning Edition host Andy Johnson to Denver, Colorado to cover the Democratic National Convention, where Barack Obama is the party's nominated candidate to contest the presidential election.

"One should find it funny that CCN TV6 should send Andy Johnson to the Democratic Convention in Denver and not send someone to cover Carifesta (in Guyana); all of which were happening at the same time.

"Oh well, I don't know if CNMG had all the rights to the Carifesta coverage as they brought it live, and I guess the US happening is bigger, better and more relevant to our Regional causes who knows.

"I am still waiting to hear Andy make some kind of correlation with the Democratic Convention in the US and our situation in Trinidad and Tobago. Is it an Obama (black thing) and would Andy be in Denver now if Hillary was the candidate?

"I doh know, just wondering aloud."



Indarjit Seuraj of the Newsday is playing guessing games with his readers today.
In his story titled 'Court to hear evidence from the dead', he names the victim, the murder accused, the defence attorney, the victim's attorney, the magistrate and two of the witnesses.
But for some reason he wants us to guess at the identity of the prosecutor.
He tells us "...the State prosecutor argued that the right of the privilege vested in the hands of Bernadette’s beneficiaries under the intestacy." and "“He should be barred from taking the benefit of the privilege,” the prosecutor said.".

But here's the best hint at who the prosecutor is: "This submission caused a stir, as Hudson-Phillips expressed his “disappointment” at the Independent Senator’s remarks and disregard for the presumption of innocence."
Can you guess who this is?
Indarjit, if we wanted to play games we would pick up a crossword puzzle.


And here's the Newsday's version of what happened to young Miss Subadar, who had been reported kidnapped.
She "....was found at about 7 pm Sunday on High Street, San Fernando.....was taken to the San Fernando Police Station by police officers. She confessed she was not abducted.
The girl said she went to a party with a friend, and was dropped off on High Street, San Fernando on Sunday night by her friend...,".
The newspaper also tells us "Officers of the Anti Kidnapping Squad told Newsday that no charges will be laid against the minor."

Steups! No charges, but a few slaps seem to be in order.
You know, we don't usually comment on these things, but it's high time somebody tries to get through to these young people that it's unacceptable to just disappear and expect that no one will worry and panic and call the police and have them waste their time.
They should charge her for wasting police time so she will know that when she come to visit next time, she will stay in de house until is time to go back foreign!

And maybe it's high time media houses rethink their policy (if they have any) on reporting 'kidnappings'.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Those were the words we heard after looking at the first few minutes of the 7pm news on TV6, after having watched IETV's 6.30pm newscast.

IETV's Maxine Maharaj first told us that the teenaged American citizen who had gone missing from her relatives' Woodlands home on Saturday night and initially reported as kidnapped had returned to the home around 11pm on Sunday. IE told us the relatives said the young woman had been staying with friends. They even had a brief interview with the MP for the area, Mikela Panday who said the girl did not want to speak of her time away from her family, perhaps needing time to herself.

But TV6's version of the story read by Samantha John was that the young woman left home on Saturday evening and after she was reported kidnapped, was 'released' around 7pm on Sunday in San Fernando and picked up by police who took her to her relatives.

And here's the version in Tuesday's Guardian under the heading 'Missing teenager freed in Sando', written by AGS.
"Police said the young girl was released on High Street, San Fernando, around 7.30 pm on Sunday, and telephoned a relative from a pay phone.
The relative contacted police who picked up Subadar, and she gave a statement on her whereabouts."

And here's what the Tuesday Express tells us: "A missing girl who triggered a big search involving the Anti Kidnapping Unit returned home after being dropped off by the people she was last seen with, police said yesterday.
Sixteen-year-old Felesha Subadar was expected to be questioned about her 24 hours away from home, before police decide if anyone can be charged with a crime in the case."

Then Miss Maharaj told us that the security guard who was shot outside his home (Mr Tavernier) was ambushed by one gunman and when his wife (Ms Henry) heard the gunshot she ran outside, but when she saw the gunman she ran back inside and was pursued, cornered and shot several times. The gunman then escaped in a waiting car.

TV6's version was that the couple "were" liming outside their apartment at 5.30am when they were ambushed by a group of men who immediately shot Mr Tavernier and someone pursued his wife into the house and shot her.

Here's the version by Darryl Heeralal of the Express. "Tavernier and his wife, Sharon Henry, 43, were shot multiple times around 5.30 a.m., while they were about to leave home for work....Tavernier had just opened the front gate to the apartment's gallery when he was ambushed and shot.
Henry, who was behind Tavernier, ran back inside, followed by one of the gunmen, and was shot.
Police said the killers took Henry's gun but left Tavernier's."

And here's the version by the Guardian's Camille Clarke: "A police report revealed that the couple were at home when two gunmen stormed the premises around 4.30 am. Tavernier, the report stated, responded to a call from someone he knew."

Miss Clarke tells us "They both died on the spot.", while Mr Heeralal tells us "Both victims died on the way to the Port of Spain General Hospital."
Both newspaper reports tell us there was at least one eyewitness in the house, but this was not mentioned in the television reports.

One other thing. According to TV6, the murder figure for the year is 348, while their sister paper the Express tells us it's 354.

So who to believe?

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Here's a comment on the post on the Barbados Nation's gushing editorial about CMC's coverage of the Olympic Games, from NN.

"Wait for it...wait for it...that was me reading that article. But when it finally finished, I was aghast. I won't dignify the prose by repeating it here but could they have found more excuses? OCM, if you really want kudos for the coverage, next time put a little more on that $500M you shelled out to the IOC to send your own cameras across to Beijing, and hire some serious commentators (c'mon there must be better in the region) to bring intelligent and balanced analysis of the Games to the Caribbean public. You do not get points for spending that much for the feed and still having to talk about sprinters while pole vaulters are on the screen.

"Is the writer also suggesting that our athletes' success was in some way related to the CMC coverage? My blood boils at that assumption. Our athletes deserve better, your audience deserves better.

"I suspect CMC will bring coverage of the Caribbean Games to 20-something countries in the region come 2009. Hows about using that competition as a dry run for London? And don't just give us one camera angle from the Hasely Crawford Stadium and some novice commentator. Show us that you're a serious media corporation that can deliver a professional, quality sport broadcast from a major event."

Saturday, August 23, 2008


This reader has graciously brought to our attention a case of himself congratulating himself in the regional media.

"The following editorial appeared in the Daily Nation (Barbados) on Friday August 22. The Nation is owned by One Caribbean Media.
As a follower of your blog, I wait to see how you will treat with this."

"Dobby Champagnie"

Well Dobby, as we said, it's a case of himself congratulating himself and trying to soften the blow of criticism.
Here are some of our favourite lines from the editorial:
"The Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) is providing us with world-class coverage of the Beijing games. The American network NBC may be providing CMC the various broadcast feeds, but it was CMC's skilful blending of those ingredients that has provided us a gourmet's offering."
"The CMC broadcast package, in our view, is more balanced and far superior to NBC's offerings."
"CMC has in fact been simply outstanding."
"The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation sings in praise of the excellence emanating from CMC's understaffed and underequipped facility...".
"CMC presciently titled its coverage The Caribbean Dream. How extraordinary that the reality for us in Beijing is so dreamlike!"

Well, TV6 is paying for the rights to broadcast the Olympics via CMC and they have already given CMC's Michael Whyte a platform to defend CMC's coverage, along with their sister newspaper the Trinidad Express. So it stands to reason that a newspaper owned by OCM would do the same thing, albeit with more flowery language.
Like the Jamaicans say...big tings a 'gwaan...and not just in Usain Bolt's lane.


We know we are a little late with this post, but we had to let it sink in just a bit before commenting.

The first thing we would like to mention is C News' Neil Beekhee's interview with Monsignor Christian Perreira of the Catholic church (his name was spelt Perreria and shown twice during the interview). For the entire five-minute interview, we saw only a profile shot of Monsignor Perreira. Neil, when you are doing one-on-one interviews, take a page out of the books of the BBC & CNN correspondents who stand with their backs as close as possible to the camera so that the interviewee is facing the camera. Otherwise you will end up with an interview where the viewer is not paying attention to what is being said, but constantly asking themselves "Why are we only seeing the side of his/her face?".
But that's not your fault entirely, since your cameraman and producer should have discussed this with you before you went live.

And at the end of the interview, instead of the cameraman giving the viewers a single shot of you while you gave your closing remarks, he stayed with the shot on both you and Monsignor Perreira, who seemed to be looking at you in the monitor on the floor in front of him. Again, if you and your cameraman look at the international newscasts, you'll see that the cameraman automatically zooms in on the reporter at the end of the interview, cutting the interviewee out of the shot, because let's face it, his work is done and he is no longer needed in the shot.

Then we go to CNC 3's Shelly Dass, who seemed to have some difficulty pronouncing the name of the Tobago athlete in the men's 400M. Say with us Shelly, Qu, Qu, Quow. It's Rennie Quow, not 'cow' as we are sure we heard you say during the voice over. At least we heard you give the correct pronunciation when you came back on the screen.

Next it's over to TV6's Joel Villafana for the Olympic Wrap. He said something about Day 'tirteen', while his colleague James Saunders told us of the Dutch water polo sensation Danielle de Bruijn, but his pronunciation of her name was more along the lines of "de Boohin". See for yourself if he gave the correct pronunciation by typing in her name on this website and hit Say It!.

And Astil Renn of CNC 3, we were hoping you wouldn't give us any more shaky fan footage of T&T's World Cup qualifying matches, but you did. Sigh! Astil, we understand your exuberance in receiving that video and wanting to share it with your viewers, but it's really no fault of your viewers that your newsroom couldn't spend a couple thousand dollars to send a cameraman to Cuba to shoot the game properly for you. You have to realise that just one shaky, out of focus, poor audio and video story (unless that video was shot during a thunderstorm or earthquake so the shaking would be justifiable) drags down the otherwise good quality of the rest of your sportscast.
Well at this point we have to say like Jacques Rogge on Usain Bolt: he is young, he will learn. At least we hope so.

And has anchorman Sampson Nanton been relegated to the sports desk? We came to that conclusion since he has been the exclusive reporter on a series of stories on the Great Race. We know your sports desk has been depleted recently so you probably have no choice but to use Sampson. And we are guessing that he will be reporting from Tobago at the end of the Great Race, unless you Astil can convince your bosses to send you across there for this all expenses paid party weekend.

And finally Astil you voiced a packaged story about a corporate sponsor, but instead of saying the HCL Group of Companies, you said the HDC Group of Companies (with a shot of HCL Communications Manager Lisa Ghany-Weekes). Tsk tsk.

BTW, as a follow up to news, on Friday night we heard this classic from Naette Lee. During the 7 o'clock hour she was telling her viewers that the bodies of two elderly women had been found.
"The decomposing bodies were found in a house....fully decomposed."
Well she paused for a few seconds afterwards when she realised she had said utter nonsense.
Naette, please read your scripts before you go on the air.
Yes you can blame the person who wrote the script, but if you had read it before, you would have caught the mistake and made the necessary change.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Here's one for CMC's commentator, Lance Whittaker.

"I want Lance Whittaker of CMC to look at and listen to this video of the British commentators on Usain Bolt after he won the 200M finals...listen to the wide and varied use of flamboyant language and use of very simple words to express genius performance.

" and Lance you may want to listen through the rest of the videos for more..."


And here's US Olympic medalist Michael Johnson's reaction to Usain's 200M victory (and breaking Michael's record).


The Olympic Committee President is now also chastising Usain Bolt for his antics following his men's 100M victory, saying "He's young, he will learn."


Here's an interesting slideshow with a fantastic soundtrack from China Daily of the photographers who are entrenched at the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Maybe it was one of the photographers who titled one picture as a 'downpoar' at the Canoeing Centre.


Here's a comment on CMC's response to criticism of their coverage of the Beijing Olympics, from PW.

"So CMC's Michael Whyte has responded (in the TV6 lunchtime newscast) to negative criticisms of CMC's coverage at the Beijing Olympics; but all he could have said to justify their not so thorough coverage is that the Caribbean would not have seen much of the Caribbean Athletes if it were not for CMC.

"And of course the underlying tone in that statement is that "no one could satisfy third world-minded people".

"Well Mr. Whyte, for starters --- since the game began picturesque scenes of the Majestic Olympic stadium was shown from time to time, but to this moment the famous and very seasoned Lance Whittaker and the other commentators have not formulated words to match the scenes or to speak to the picture and about the Stadium's design, except to keep saying it's beautiful...Eh? Can they tell us what the seemingly two warehouses outside the Stadium is for?

"Did you see today's 4x100M relays heats for the women Mr. Whyte? Well the famous Whittaker guy had not a clue that the baton fell between the third and fourth leg sprinters for Trinidad and Tobago...Eh? Is that the Caribbean coverage you speak of Mr. Whyte? Thank God Jamaica won so we got mentioned, but had that not been the case, the focus would be strictly on the winners and the Caribbean athletes are mentioned when it no longer matters.

"If a Caribbean athlete comes 7th or 8th or does not place in the top three of a race, the focus is still on the foreign athletes... Eh? Is that not why we escaped NBC and their extreme bias to the American athletes? And while Whittaker seemed not to want to be as obnoxious as NBC, and give a wider coverage - to which I applaud, the focus has to be the Caribbean athlete no matter their placement. They need to take a close look at how the US does it gain, and copy what's good. This occurred way too often and is worthy of note.

"But let me guess, Lance Whittaker been doing this from his mother's womb, so no one could tell him anything right? So enters Whyte to make excuses for mediocrity and the limited coverage that's been extended to us.

"Well CMC if you can't get this right, we will settle for the biased NBC coverage because in the 2012 is the same as CMC...they focus on the winners and their losing athletes. We would still be informed when the Caribbean wins. As we are doing now, we will know the rest when the final and official results are shown to us."

Well TV6 took their time to pick up on that story. It was run in their sister newspaper, the Sunday Express, and the Express also had a comment from TV6's General Manager.
But like we said, the excuses are too little too late to make up for the already poor coverage.
Let's just hope regional governments and television stations band together in the next couple of years and set up a London 2012 fund so we can have complete Caribbean coverage at the next Olympics.

BTW, we thought we were the only ones who noticed that Lance Whittaker and his cohort didn't even notice or mention the misfortune of the Trini girls.


Did Lance Whittaker or his co-commentator or Julius Gittens or Grace Jackson even notice that Trinidad and Tobago's women's 4x100M relay team did not finish the race because of a poor handover of the baton on the final leg?
Not one of them mentioned this! They focussed solely on the Jamaican, US and Russian teams.
Lance and his co-commentator certainly did not notice the Trini girls did not finish because when the camera shot went to one of the Trini girls after the race, he said "The Trinidad and Tobago team also looking on to see whether they placed in the final." Steups! They can't place in the final if they did not finish the race! Steups!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Here's an insightful piece from Everard Gordon in the Guardian. He's equating the mediocrity on the cricket pitch to mediocrity in other spheres of life.

" who have never scored a century in any level of cricket are selected for the Windies because they play good looking shots. Bowlers who run in fast and aggressively and bowl fast but are unable to bowl to plan, are good to look at. They are chosen to play for the West Indies.

"The results are not surprising but painful, nevertheless. We seem to be swayed by appearance and pay little attention to substance, until that becomes absolutely necessary."

Everard, you have just succinctly summarised what we have been saying all along about some members of the media in Trinidad and Tobago.
But we hope someone will soon come along and clean up that mirror.


Here's another comment on Usain Bolt.

"Well, it seems there's a new world order in sprinting and it's dominated by the Caribbean. Is that why we haven't seen the multiple replays, back stories and interviews from the mighty Americans on NBC? Tsk, tsk.

"Bolt is amazing, unbelievably gifted and confident but overtly so. His 9.69 was run with such ease. Multiple medallist Ato Boldon commented after the semi-final race that Bolt just ran his (Boldon's) personal best without breaking a sweat. He will obliterate the competition in the 200m, probably breaking Michael Johnson's record in the process, and anchor Jamaica to another gold medal to complete the triad.

"And what of our boy Richard Thompson...brilliant! He had no pressure, and he used that to his advantage to just relax and run his races. What is amazing is that in the final, even though Bolt literally walked past him after 40m, Richard kept his composure and focus to maintain his position and take the silver. A very intelligent athlete indeed! And to think he could have been playing football instead!

"I see TV6's GM in the Sunday Express giving a paltry excuse for the poor coverage of the Games, citing the $800M (US) that NBC has at its disposal. But how did OCM/TV6 spend ma'am? Too embarrassed to say? Why are you forking out millions for a video feed that your audience does not want?
Instead of complaining, try coming together with other media business in the region, including CMC, to do what might be the hard thing and actually send a comprehensive crew out to London in 2012 to give the viewers what they want. We could do without seeing the rest of the world.
What's important to us is our athletes, for god's sake!"


Doesn't Gyasi Gonzales normally write crime stories? So he has been roped into writing PR pieces now?
Anyway, excuses excuses. There's a way to do things. How hard could it have been for CMC or TV6 to send a cameraman and reporter to Beijing and do exactly what Roger Sant (from a lowly cable station) is doing in sending stories outside of the actual events?
OK, they may argue that Roger has sponsorship (albeit mainly from Ansa McAl companies), but OCM is not poor, neither is CMC.

Mr Farrell, if we can suggest that you use your math wizadry and begin to budget from now so your company can have at least two camera crews in London in 2012 dedicated to sending creative stories back to TV6.

Do you accept the excuses from these regional media giants?

BTW Mr Gonzales, twice you referred to TV6's General Manager as Mrs Shida "Bholai", but according to your parent company OCM's website, it's actually "Bolai".
Your sub-editor did not pick that up?


Here's a comment on the victory sweep by the Jamaican women in the 100M.

"Well our Caribbean ladies did not let us down. They brought it home 1, 2, 3 for the Caribbean and created history for the Caribbean in the 8-8-8 Olympics in Beijing.
Congratulations to the Jamaican dynamic trio. Now the men see how to do it."


Saturday, August 16, 2008


Where do we begin?
When the Prime Minister spoke about political integration with three other Caribbean countries on Thursday, didn't anyone try to figure out what he was talking about before running their stories?
Well it doesn't seem so because on Friday the 7pm newscasts were replete with analysis and backlash from the opposition.

Curtis Williams of CNMG had a telephone interview with Professor Norman Girvan.

TV6 carried a loooong voice over with Samantha John reading about Basdeo Panday's response to the matter, but they had her up in a tiny screen on the right, and they had a larger screen to the left with Mr Panday. What was the point of this? You confused your audience because the shot used of Mr Panday was one of him sitting in a room talking to someone, so of course we couldn't hear what he was saying. Talking head.
Then as soon as that was done she introduced another story along the same lines, but this one was a package by Sasha Mohammed (making a return to reporting after the Jerry Narace debacle a few weeks ago). However Sasha also included extensive comments from Mr Panday in her story. What was the point of that?

Then Naette Lee of CNMG also delved into the issue, a very theoretical piece. But about halfway through the packaged story she stopped abruptly on a sentence and started the sentence all over again. So your editor did not pick that up?

And her sister Golda (who was anchoring the newscast) also took part, interviewing live on the set Conrad Enil. Golda seemed a bit spaced out, as if she was listening to someone give her the questions. Then at the end of the interview she said she had been speaking with the Education Minister. Well the shot was still on Mr Enil, so we saw him give a huge frown, probably saying to himself 'I'm the what?', and Golda went on to the next story without skipping a beat and without correcting herself. So why didn't your director or producer correct you immediately so you could make the correction???

Sampson Nanton of CNC 3 also got in on the integration act; his packaged story though was done to the tune of Sparrow's classic song on the Federation of the 1950's.

Then it was on to sport.
Roger Sant of CNC 3 used part of an interview he did with the national Olympic team's doctor regarding the track team. Roger, track and field is a fast-paced sport, but your presentation of that story was too slow and laid back; it had no life. Are you tired already? You have two more weeks to go in Beijing.

While back at home, Astil Renn ran a story on the national football team beating El Salvador in a match in the US. That video was horrible! It looked like some over-zealous fan shot the video with a mini camera right off of their tv screen and decided to send it to CNC who happily accepted it. Steups! You know just because someone sends you something does not mean you have to use it! The least you could have done was put up a sign on the screen saying 'Amateur Video' so we would know for sure it wasn't a drunken cameraman from your station who messed up the video.

And we noticed that TV6 pulled the rug out from under CNC by bringing their 'Olympic roundup' at about 7:10, while CNC's sportscast starts at around 7:25. Makes sense.

But at the end of TV6's sportscast, they had the customary video roundup of sporting events over the last week, but can you believe they did not use a single shot of any of Trinidad and Tobago's or the Caribbean's track athletes in competition? They did not use a single shot of George Bovell or his brother in competition? They did use a shot of Bovell leading the team on the opening night of the Olympics with the flag, but that was boring. That whole piece was boring because it did not reflect the fact that the Olympics was going on. This was the perfect opportunity to give viewers a final look at some of our athletes in action, because most of their events have ended. But we did see a shot of Michael Phelps winning one of his many races and lots of shots of someone kicking a football into the back of a net! What game was that from? And you call yourselves the Olympics station? Steups!!!!!
The director faded out the piece after a while and went back to Joel to close the sportscast. Probably disgusted too that the thing did not reflect local or Caribbean participation in the Olympics.
So no one checks these things before they go to air?


Here's a comment on our post on Usain Bolt.

"Well I agree with you guys that the Caribbean coverage from CMC to Joel Villafana is just screwy. We got totally screwed up.
I am still waiting on Lance Whittaker and his Co Commentator to tell us that Richard Thompson won the Silver and to further tell us how the other Caribbean athletes performed. These guys were screaming Bolt right through, and when it did not matter, they made mention of Thompson and a passing mention of the others. No mention of the athlete from the Netherlands he was not even in the race.

"I was disappointed that Bolt slowed was a classical demonstration of third world mentality. An AP report quoted Bolt as saying it was not intentional of him to start celebrating so early...stupes! He could have created a record that would have taken decades to break. Yes he was good, and I am happy six of our guys were in there, but his good could have been better. Somebody please tell Bolt the world stage is serious business and not to repeat this kind of behaviour in the was plain stupid.

"Asafa Powell and Burns were also the Caribbean was 1, 2 before in 1976 when T&T's Crawford won Gold and the Jamaican won Silver. We would of made history if it were 1, 2, 3. That's where Powell and Burns let (us) down.

"I am not at all pleased. This was their time and they blew it. I hope our upcoming stars do us proud in the 2012 Olympics.
Athletics is hard work; Bolt is not likely to run this fast in an Olympic again, but he is free to defy the odds."



Stunning! Fantastic! Electric!
Those are some of the adjectives we came up with to describe the record-breaking win in the men's 100M by Jamaican Usain Bolt.
That's three more adjectives than TV6's Joel Villafana could muster right after the race. Joel you had all morning to think of a sentence to use right after the race, since you knew your director would cut back to you instead of the CMC commentators. Then you said "Thompson was his closest ally." Did you mean his closest challenger? His closest competitor?

But most of all Joel, your commentary after the race lacked statistics.
When was the last time Caribbean athletes came in first and second in the men's 100M at the Olympics?
James Gilkes of the Stabroek News wrote a rousing piece ahead of the 100M final, replete with statistics of the Caribbean's glory days in Olympic track history, and he equates today's Olympics as such: "...could signal a Caribbean medal rush harking back to the glorious, golden summer of 1976 in Montreal, when Hasely Crawford of Trinidad and Tobago won the 100m and Don Quarrie of Jamaica won the 200. For good measure, the legendary Jamaican also won silver in the 100."
You did not mention that it's the same two countries winning one and two this time, but with the positions reversed.
And was Richard Thompson's silver medal time in the final a new personal record? A new national record? You did not tell us.
Ato Boldon (who is doing commentary for NBC, and holds four Olympic medals) was quoted by the Houston Chronicle's John Crumpacker after the race, then the writer gave this bit of information as well: "All told, six men bettered 10 seconds. Only Marc Burns of Trinidad (10.01) and Darvis Patton of the U.S. (10.03) failed to do their part in the greatest 10 seconds in sports."

Even Dan Baynes of threw in some history of the sprint event, naming Hasely Crawford as the only other Caribbean athlete to win the event in Olympics history.

And did your producer have anyone monitor the CMC feed to see if they actually caught up with Hasely Crawford who is in Beijing with the national team?

CMC's website does give us the race, but there are no interviews or even comments from Bolt, Thompson, Powell, Burns or Frater. There's a story on the website on the reaction of Jamaicans to the win, but you have to pay to read that story and others like it.

The Associated Press had a comment from Asafa Powell after the game, saying "Usain was spectacular".

The BBC Sport website has the race (we can't access the video from the Caribbean), they also have an interview with Usain after the race, and they have former Olympic 100M champion Michael Johnson's reaction to the race in real time.

The UK Guardian (then the China Daily) also has the results of the final, albeit while taking a jab at whether Bolt is doping, in a story titled 'If the fastest man in the world is a cheat': "There was heady talk of people needing to go as low as 9.6sec in order to win it, which was tantalizing, except twenty years ago Ben Johnson had gone as low as 9.7 and run quicker than anyone has managed in an Olympics since, and look what happened to him. The shadow of Lewis, Christie and Johnson lay over Bolt, Powell and Gay."

And Sky News has the story as well, replete with comments from Bolt and Powell.

And this is how the Wales Online describes the young champion: "But, with the caveat that Bolt does not betray our trust in the months and years ahead, then this truly was the greatest race in athletics history. And Bolt is by some distance the most compelling athlete of his generation."

In terms of commentary, CMC probably is the lesser of the two evils.


And here's another one.

"TV6, I do not know whose fault is this, but how could you go for a commercial break when they put up the results of the heats?

"What happen you all don't understand this athletics "thing" or what? Well most of your audience will be interested in knowing the results and the line-up after every race.
Get with the programme.

"This is a good time for CMC to have technical difficulties they can't rectify till after the Olympics. Just so we won't be cheated so badly and won't have to be complaining all the time."



This comment was sent in before the finals of the men's 100M was completed.

"Are you all looking at the (women's) 100M? Watch, you see these Caribbean Commentators, they juss fretting up my .... in here. The reason they were given the right to broadcast is to focus on the Caribbean athlete, not in the vain way the Americans do it, but at least tell us the timing our Regional Athletes run no matter what their placements are.

"In one of the heats won by a Russian, the Barbadian came second and the Jamaican third, you know those fellas only talk about the Russian, and how much her win was a mention of the Caribbean athletes, their names and what they ran...and it is not the only heat they did this rubbish in...oh Gawd!

"Ah wonder if deh block de broadcast on Satellite too, because did is one time I could do wit ah dish in meh yard eh.

"France man!...Stupes!!!"


Friday, August 15, 2008


Here's a comment on that comment on Astil.

""NN" I think you could have asked Astil to buck up on his pronunciation without giving Roger and Rose an opening for pulling him off the air as soon as Roger returns from Beijing. After all it must be a lot of pressure being given a break like that two decades into your career as a Sports Journalist.

"Astil do what you have to do to tighten up the few slack screws in your word challenges, I hope you are reading this site. Don't give Roger another excuse to wallow in his selfish display of who gets promoted in the Sports Department...we all can see that it's only Roger gets promoted, that's why he's whipping the CMC commentators and reporters going and coming, he has exposed himself enough already."



And the complaints keep coming.

"Sigh....oh gosh I do not know where to start with this one.

"Kaymar Jordan of CMC please, Please, PLEASE, ah begging you, this Olympic coverage of your network is the worst.

"Please allow us as Caribbean People the privilege of enjoying the professional Sportsy Commentary of the NBC Commentators for the finals of the track and field events, PLEASE!

"Richard Thompson and Mark Burns of T&T won their heats with Kim Collins of St. Kitts and Nevis coming second behind Burns and those talkers you all throw at us for Commentators just lacked the vigour, excitement and sexy sports language needed to excite Caribbean viewers in the Region about the great run by these guys.

"It was the same (boring) tone we got for Asafa Powell when he won in his heat. STEUPS!!!"



This is some very simple advice for Astil Renn.

"He's a good fella but I am becoming increasingly disenchanted by Astil Renn's sportscasting. He never seems in control of the script and has made more than a few mispronunciations in the last week alone.
Is this why he was never given the opportunity before? Come on Astil, buck up quick before Roger comes back or else we'll never see you on the 7pm news again!"


Astil we concur. Just get the pronunciation down pat and relax and you will have no worries.


We are not the only ones complaining about the coverage of Olympic events.
Here's an article from Stephon Nicholas of the Newsday.
"A commentary of one race is the same for all as their “analysis” seems to be restricted to saying “great start” and who touches the wall first - something a spectator can say and see for themselves viewing from their television set around the Caribbean."

So CMC head honchos, is it too late to send Ashford Jackman to Beijing?


We have to direct this one at Rosemarie Sant, Head of News at CNC 3.
Mrs Sant, what is preventing you from sending your star crime reporter Samuel McKnight for some voice lessons?
We have been calling for this for months, but to no avail.
Is it that you are short-staffed and cannot spare him during the week? Then by all means pay him a little extra over time and let him take those much-needed lessons on the weekend.

We listened to him report on the arrival of the Trinidad and Tobago medical students who had been evacuated from Georgia, and it was really difficult to sit through. His pronunciation is off, his voice is flat and his writing leaves much to be desired.
Come on people, we have to do better than one sentence, one soundbite for an entire two minute story! Steups!

And to top it off, the pictures did not match what was being said.
He had a long intro about the fighting and the students being evacuated, but when he was calling the names of the students, what did we see? Two huge war tanks lumbering through the streets of Georgia. Only when he got to the first soundbite (close to a minute into the story) did we see a shot of the students.

Well Samuel, until you get some voice training we'll have to put you in the same category as your colleague Otto Carrington: you have the best pronunciation of anyone in the local media.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Hmmm. Sherwin Long of CNMG needs to have a word with his producer and director after this little faux pas.

"CNMG went live to the Prime Minister's official residence and conference centre for the media conference on the mini summit of the OECS Heads --- along with the Prime Minister himself on Thursday evening... and they went live to Sherwin Long for the opening and the closing.

"It was well calculated that they would go to Sherwin just for the intro and of course for the official closing...but Sherwin you were sloppy on both occasions.

"Firstly you need to shave. Secondly you must have had an idea of what the heads were going to discuss and a little history of the issues to be able to fill your audience in on the topics. And finally at the end you should have given a capsule report on what was discussed.
Instead at the end, you started reporting not realising you were being seen and then you stopped and snapped at your cameraman and started over what was a very sloppy conclusion with an unofficial conclusion as if you just wanted to go home.



Well Sherwin, you really should have given your audience some background to the talks, as well as a recap of what the PM and others said in your closing. That's why collaboration with your producer is so important if you are going live. Unless of course this assignment was sprung on you at the last minute and you didn't have time to prepare. However a basic understanding of what the talks were about would have made you look like you were in the know for your audience.
And the director should have given either your producer (if one was there with you) or the cameraman a cue for you to begin your closing report, instead of allowing you to make that false start on camera.


The Trinidad Express has the story of the Trinidad woman who was killed in an ambush by the Taliban in Afghanistan on Wednesday (it's on page three, written by Richard Charan).

Here it is the story is used on page three of the Express, yet it was buried at the end of the 7pm news on Wednesday by their sister station TV6.
And Miss David, notice the Express report contains comments from one of Miss Dial's relatives in Trinidad. This is what a little digging would have got you, or perhaps some collaboration with your colleague.

The Newsday and the Guardian also carry the report prominently on page three, however neither report has a byline.
And while the Guardian credits the Associated Press with the story, it appears that they sent the earliest version of the story to print because the report says "But Afghan officials have not yet released the identities of these women until their families were contacted." However both the Express and the Newsday have the names of two of the other three victims.


At noon Thursday during the CNC 3 newscast, we again saw that report on the arrival of the Grenadian Prime Minister, the one Sampson Nanton did for the 7pm news on Wednesday.
Two things. First, that event occurred more than 24 hours before. Why did the news producer find it necessary to run the exact same packaged report one day later? If you so desperately needed content, why not use it as a voice over or a voice over with one soundbite from Mr Thomas?
And second, the report contained the same sentence from Sampson telling us that the Grenadian PM was invited to inspect the guard of honour, "...and he did, before sitting down for talks..." while we saw this on screen.
Steups! Thursday was clearly a slow news day.


Here are some insightful comments from NN on NBC's propensity to continuously big up Ian Phelps, and by extension, push all things American.

"Some thoughts on Phelpsmania...
Isn't the Olympics about the humanity of sport coupled with the diversity of participants? It's farcical to call Phelps the best Olympian ever because of the number of gold medals he has won or the number of world records he has set. Granted, he is a supremely gifted athlete who has continually improved in his sport, often exceeding expectations. But he has access to the best of everything - coaches, facilities, training, competition.
What about the athletes are talented but face tremendous challenges to even get to the Olympics? They are by far the majority, and I think the commercialisation of the Games has made us forget that.

"Consider this: if Michael Phelps were swimming in a pool by himself, would he still break records? I doubt it. That is what competition is about - measuring yourself against others, and being pushed to excel as a result. This is why it is so irksome to see how NBC focuses on him alone, as if there were no-one else there! Can anyone recall who came second and third behind him in any of his record-breaking swims? Or even the countries represented in the final race? I certainly can't. Oh but I do recall France coming second in the 4x100, simply because they chose to trash talk the Americans before the race.

"Oh and NBC. Don't they know they are providing coverage to more than just America? They don't even try to be fair to anyone else...unless of course the someone else is challenging them for a medal. It's cultural/media imperialism at its height. Give them what they want at a reasonable price so they won't have to produce it themselves.

"One Caribbean Media is making too much profit not to invest it in creating something ourselves. Hows about we start with a global event we're all interested in seeing, like the Olympics? Pool resources from across the region to cover not just the events we are participating in but those that concern us as well. Lewwe see some football, hockey, cycling...sports that we're familiar with and are popular here. Maybe that will inspire some youngsters to represent their respective countries? Just a suggestion...

"One of the hallmarks of developed countries is their ability to have strong national identities, and their willingness to resist external influences on their culture and way of life. One way to do that is to invest in your own people to develop media content. Whether or not it's exported, is irrelevant. If you can make it yourself, you don't have to depend on others to give it to you. That's the position we're in right now, and it is exacerbated every four years during the Olympics.

"But if the very station that's carrying the Olympic broadcast has less than 5% local content, what do we expect? *sigh*"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


For his report in the 7pm news Wednesday, Roger Sant caught up with the mother, sister, friend and girlfriend of swimmer Nicholas Bovell as they were about to go in and see him perform in the Olympic pool.
They were all decked out in their Trini flags and stand out red wigs, and this is the kind of interview we would like to see. Catch up with some Trinis there, make the thing personal so your audience can relate to it.
CMC on the other hand does not have too many of those. Granted they have a Caribbean audience, but they still don't give us too much of what is happening outside of the actual games.


The Grenada PM arrived in Trinidad on Wednesday, and one reader who prefers to remain anonymous had some comments about the television coverage.

"Well CNMG did not treat us to live coverage of the arrival of Grenada's Newest Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, as they did for the Barbadian PM sometime back on his first official visit to this country. But they sure as hell made up for it in their Wednesday night newscast with a thorough and comprehensive coverage between their star Anchor woman Golda Lee and reporter Sherwin Long.

"Kudos CNMG for a job well done.

"Also when the Barbados PM visited TV6 led their newscast with the story, but they saved the Tillman Thomas story for their regional news...tut tut. They were the only station that did that. CNC3 and CNMG led their newscast with the Grenada PM's first official visit to this country. Kudos to both stations."


TV6 news producer, we have a question we hope you can answer.
Close to the top of your 7pm newscast on Wednesday, you ran a story on the young Trini woman (living in the US since she was 8) who is now charged in the death of her infant son.
Close behind that you ran the story of the three Trini medical students who have been evacuated from war-torn Georgia.
And here's where the confusion comes in. Way down close to the end of the newscast in the section where you showed international stories, you ran the story of the Trini-American woman who was killed this morning in Afghanistan following an ambush on aid workers.
In Keisha David's story, she said the young woman held dual American and Trini citizenship, and she has a permanent residence in Trincity, so how is her death an international news story?
Why wasn't that story used as high up in the newscast as the other two?

CNC 3, Trevor Paul was the Commissioner of Police for how many years? More than two? So why when you ran that two minute story of him taking the job at Essar Steel did your editor repeat those four shots of Mr Paul for the entire story?

And Sampson Nanton, why say the obvious?
In your story on the arrival of the new Grenada Prime Minister at the Piarco Airport, you said "He was invited to inspect the guard of honour. He did, before sitting down for talks...".
Your video editor gave us the shot of Mr Thomas inspecting the troops, so why did you have to say it?


Finally TV6 has some input in the Olympics commentary. We saw Ashford Jackman on with Julius Gittens last night at the Barbados Hilton. Finally someone who can talk about Trinidad and Tobago's athletes. But how come he didn't go to China as well? He sounds so much better than the other commentators.
At one point one of them said the female Jamaican swimmer was from the Bahamas. Steups!

BTW, NBC's Brian Williams is anchoring the nightly news live from Beijing, China, with no delays in rolling tapes or any glitches.
When will we see this type of remote news (an entire newscast, not just one story) from a location outside a news studio?
Do any of the stations have the capability and capacity for this?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Once again Roger Sant leads the way in the actual coverage of Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic athletes in China.
He caught up with them at the Beijing International Airport as they arrived from their training camp in South Korea, and he spoke with the team's manager.
Why don't we have this kind of coverage from CMC/TV6? After all, they are the rights holders for this region so we should expect that they would pull out all the stops and send in as many hands as possible to cover all the possible angles ahead of any other perceived competition.
Well TV6, that little cable news channel beatin' all yuh again.
What will happen when they go national?


Another complaint about the Olympics coverage.

"I totally agree with "NN"

"Why is (CMC's) Head of News Kaymar Jordan voicing Olympic pieces...anything to get some publicity eh? Well Kaymar, what was so different about this occasion that you had to stick your voice in there and not let one of your Sports goons voice the promos.

"This is the first time I am spitting on the Olympics. I can't stand to hear the Caribbean commentators, their vocabulary is limited, they can't even find another word for "nice" as I heard two clowns struggling over the weekend during the swimming event, and screaming out to "Phelps" that he is a "Superman". Stupes!!!

"CMC please go back to business as usual and leave us to get the goodies from NBC where (we) won't be cheated of great commentary.

"And TV6, I am sorry it was not CNMG or CNC3 or even Gayelle that got the rights to broadcast the Olympics: first of all you all only have a National License for show, your TV signal is very weak and secondly you are short changing us...please go straight to the Olympics after the news. Like "NN" said, this is the Olympics! We ain't want to see no dam comedy. You're enough comedy as it is."



Roger Sant (and Joel Villafana and Astil Renn), NBC has a great Olympics magazine show called Olympic Zone, where they cover everything from the athletes visiting the Great Wall of China to the food of Beijing.
It's the same show with the reporter interviewing the guy with the tattoos.

Tonight reporter Eyee Hsu went to the same street with the open air food stalls that Roger went to for his report which was shown on Monday evening.
While Roger's report was very subdued and he seemed rather bored even while looking at the fried sea horses and scorpions on skewers, the NBC reporter was very upbeat and exuberant while she interviewed one man who offered to eat the fried scorpion then told her it tasted like shrimp.

Take a look at the show. It's on NBC (Channel 60) from 7-8pm.


Astil Renn of CNC 3, what does 'unmissable' mean? (we guess that's how it's spelt).
You used that strange-sounding word twice during the sport report on Tuesday evening when you were referring to the Chinese guy who has tattoos of the Olympic symbols on his body.
NBC's Lindsay Soto didn't use that term once during her report, which ran shortly after yours.

We actually found a translation of the word 'unmissable' from English to German, but we weren't aware that your report was for a German audience.


It was only a matter of time before the complaints started rolling in on the Olympics coverage.

"For all the millions CMC is putting into their coverage, the least they could do is get more exciting commentators for the swimming in particular. They're already taking the feed from NBC and you have a fair idea of what they're going to focus on. Well get some real experts in to enlighten the audience nah! Not every former athlete or coach makes a good television presenter.

"Not only is the race commentary pathetic, but the in-studio 'experts' are similarly boring. If I had a choice to watch George swim on NBC over CMC this morning, I would have chosen NBC, even though they are horrendously biased towards the American athletes.

"And TV6, please do not patronise your audience by giving us a half-hour comedy before your prime time Olympic broadcast. We know we're missing something and we don't want to leave the decision to watch NBC's 'analysis' up to you. If you're bringing the damn Olympics, give us everything, and don't shortchange us, please! Once every four years, those of us not privileged to attend the Olympics want to watch every second if it that we can. Let us decide what de hell to watch! Steups...

"And Flow, why hasn't someone pulled the plug on them yet? They already tiefin' de people channels, and blocking NBC, while TV6 is showing a sitcom. What dotishness is dat? It have more bandits in shirts and suits dan wit wife-beater and three-quarter jeans in dis country, oui!"


We concur. That blond beach boy giving 'analysis' alongside Julius Gittens for the swimming events is truly boring.
And the least CMC could do is put some video over that looong monologue by the woman in the blue dress who told us about Pierre du Coubertain's Bajan experience.
Hoping for some improvement, but not counting on it.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Please Otto Carrington of CNC 3. Please tell us where the 'car-roni' bridge is located.
Does anyone, from the video editor, to the news producer to the head of news listen to your voice pieces before they go to air?
People accuse us of all kinds of things when we give harsh comments, so we will spare you this once.
Just know this: you have the best pronunciation of any reporter on local tv right now.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Rae Furlonge has an interesting piece in the Thursday Newsday on the pros and cons of a rapid rail transit system, with the models of Santiago, Chile and Bogota, Colombia.

Rae, have you sent this story and a profile on the report's author, Dr Luis Willumsen to Works and Transport Minister Colm Imbert, who has been touting this method of transport for Trinidad for some time?


We have been reliably informed that Roger Sant of CNC 3 did interview George Bovell III early this morning (about two hours ahead of the start of the opening ceremony), and it was aired on the station's early morning show.
And we understand George was holding the huge national flag he would carry during the opening ceremony.
Kudos Roger.

We will be glued to CNC 3 for the newscast tonight to see what other gems Roger will provide.


The Newsday usually has a daily poll where they ask readers to vote on a particular question.
The answers are usually yes or no.
But when they thought of today's question they apparently did not bother to rectify the selected answers.
Today's question: What would you like the Government to focus on in the 2008/2009 budget?
Click to see your options on the top right hand side of the page.
So what's your answer?


On Wednesday, we were treated to a story by the major tv stations that an 85 year old woman had been given an eviction notice on her government apartment by the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), and the story appeared in the newspapers on Thursday. Here's the Newsday's version (no byline).

The television reports showed us the elderly woman hobbling around her tiny apartment which seemed chock full of all her life's possessions, which had been accumulated over the 60 years she said she had lived in the apartment. Then we saw a shot of her sitting in the doorway surrounded by media people outside the front door (because the apartment was too small for everyone to fit inside). Also by her side were Laventille activist Lennox Smith and a female activist from Port of Spain.

Two of the reports told us the woman admitted that her son had bought her a house in D'Abadie which she was using as a source of income. The media reports also said no one from the HDC could be reached for comment.
But did any of the reporters bother to do any further investigation of this story before they hurriedly reported on it in the midday and 7pm newscasts, and printed it in the newspapers, and called for heads to roll at the HDC for this heartless act?

Well the truth came to light on Thursday during the post-cabinet press briefing, when the Housing minister told the members of the media gathered that "investigations by the HDC revealed that Gowing is living in a house at Piarco Branch Road in D’Abadie but renting her apartment in Port-of-Spain." (One bedroom is reportedly being rented for $600.00 a month, while the pensioner only pays $100.00 a month in rent to the HDC).
The minister also indicated that the pensioner had lived outside of Trinidad for 25 years of those 60 years she claimed she had been living in the apartment.

So how come that same information which was made available to the HDC's investigators was not dug up by any one of the reporters who covered the story?
Well that's what your investigative skills, or lack of, will get you.

BTW, did anyone follow up the story on Friday to get a response from the pensioner, or the activists who were quick to jump to her defense and condemn the government?
Probably not, because it would show up the faults in the original story. Tsk tsk.


First off we want to say we are glad the Olympic Games are starting because we really want to see Trinidad and Tobago's athletes accomplish great things in China.
TV6 has the rights to broadcast the Olympics, but the first few minutes of coverage leave much to be desired.

At 7:33am, Joel Villafana pumped us up and told us he was handing us over live to the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing, but what we got instead was a studio shot of Julius Gittens and a Mr Lightbourne inside the CMC studio in Barbados. So no one could have told him that they were going to CMC and not the stadium?
Julius gave a long monologue, then said not only does the Caribbean have a dream team of athletes in Beijing, they also have a dream team of journalists there as well, and he turned us over to Lance Whittaker and two others standing outside the Bird's Nest Stadium.
They were by themselves, all alone like three pieces of cheese. They spoke among themselves about some of the athletes then Lance handed us back over to Julius. Boring. (So there are no Trini sports journalists in that 'dream team'? TV6 owns the rights, couldn't they pull a string to have one of their sportscasters go to Beijing?)
Then when Julius came back from a break, they showed two long speeches from the IOC's Caribbean representatives. Again, boring. Not a shot yet of any of the athletes who will be representing the Caribbean.

Anyway, while over at NBC (Channel 60) at the very same time, Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and Meredith Vieira were interviewing live outside the Bird's Nest stadium some of the American athletes who will be participating in the games. They also had on display some of the new high-tech swimsuits that swimmers will be wearing and they interviewed Olympic medalist Michael Phelps.
So CMC couldn't record a few interviews with athletes ahead of time to show in the first few minutes, or a montage of the athletes representing the Caribbean?

Well the opening ceremony thankfully, finally got underway at the stroke of 8am, saving us from more boring speeches.
Please TV6, use your clout with CMC and tell them we are not impressed so far.

On another note, we notice that TV6 does have a reporter in Beijing after all, Kwame Laurence, a reporter for the Express. We have not seen any video from him, just reports over the phone and archive footage of athletes like George Bovell III.
Hopefully that situation will be rectified within the next few days.
Roger Sant on the other hand had a report in CNC 3's newscast last night which included interviews with the the team's doctor, Dr Ali talking about the fact that the heavy smog has not yet begun to affect the athletes, and we saw shots of some of the athletes out on the streets of Beijing.
Nothing so far from CNMG. Do you have a camera crew in Beijing?
Well we are still watching the opening ceremony.


Kudos go out to the producer of First Up on CNMG for allowing the cameraman to adjust the height of the camera which the news presenters use.
We made the point on Tuesday that the camera was way too high, and this morning we noticed Ria Roopchandsingh looking straight ahead at the camera, instead of breaking her neck to look up at it.
We are sure the presenters are all giving a collective sigh of relief.
And you are welcome.

BTW, we are looking at Gennike Mayers interviewing Ricardo Bharath in Arima live, and she is using a wired microphone. Is there some reason why she does not have a wireless mic and/or a lapel mic for her guest?

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Fabian Pierre of TV6, where is 'An-ge-line-ah' Terrace? (spelt Angelina).
We heard that confident mispronunciation during the midday news.
So we are guessing that if you had to read a story about Brad Pitt's significant other you would tell us 'An-ge-line-ah Jolie now lives in France'?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Here's an addition to the discussion on salaries.

"I agree with "NN" that Editors need to fine tune their approach in newsrooms around the country. They are contributing to the lesser quality that the media is quickly becoming. But this happens when half baked reporters become Editors and Assignments Editors. There are one or two Assignment Editors in newsrooms at present, who have been reporters for less than two years, but yet still they made it to the ranks of Assignments Editor, or Producer or just Editor, what a "cock and bull" reality this profession must contend with; as it appears, it so chooses to...tsk, tsk.

"And will the good or inconsiderate folks over the most notorious Daily Express Newspaper do something about that embarrassing salary scale it has set for its Senior reporters? Omatie how could you rock back and feel comfortable knowing your Senior reporting staff only takes home a pay cheque in the region of TT$5,500 or $TT6000 monthly? Shame!!! what ah burning shame! Especially in these hard times.

"Salaries in the media need a complete revamping. This should be the new battle for the Media Association. Please Joanne Briggs, find a way to roll up your sleeves and take on this one. Media Houses need to also stop making Junior reporters Senior reporters just because their newsrooms do not have Seniors, that still does not make the green horns Seniors, all they're wearing is a title without the experience.
That too is wrong with the media.

"Kudos to CNMG for lifting the bar on salaries in the media, but please CNMG, stop paying rookies TT$10,000 a month, in the scale of things, it just cannot be the right thing to do. I understand rookies and Seniors in your newsroom are taking home the same $10,000 monthly or same $9,000 monthly, what kind of rubbish is that CNMG...all yuh GET REAL nah!

"Excuse the harsh use of words this time, finding out all this is just vexing, totally vexing."


Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Well, well, well.
Roger Sant sent his first report from Beijing, China for the 7 o'clock news on Monday night as part of CNC 3's coverage of the Olympic Games, and to set the stage for the opening ceremony on Friday.
Even though TV6 has been touting itself as the official Olympics station, the most we have seen from them so far are those recorded bits on the athletes.
We have even been seeing a feature from Beijing, recorded in May, by a local production company on CNMG on Monday nights.

So when is Joel Villafana of TV6 going to hop a plane to China?
And CNMG/C News, who are you sending to the Olympics and when are they due to arrive in Beijing?

Roger's report centred on the air quality in Beijing (he spoke with a Dutch tourist) and the fact that the stadia are all prepared for the arrival of the athletes.
His video was clean and steady, and the audio quality was excellent.

TV6 on the other hand gave us what they called a 'Sports Spotlight' on Olympic track medal hopeful Richard Thompson. James Saunders interviewed him at the Hasely Crawford stadium.
Well James, a few things. The audio on the soundbites was awful.
Mr Thompson sounded like he did not have a microphone in front of him, as we heard the background noises very clearly.
Most of the shots were handheld, even though the cameraman was not shooting in a crowd, nor was Mr Thompson running around very often.
Why did your cameraman decide to go handheld? This diminished the quality of your shots (along with the poor audio) and thus rendered your report less than up to par.
And this was the first in a three-part series on Mr Thompson.
Let's see how best you can salvage that report.

Well Mrs Sant take a bow. Once again you have scooped TV6, just as you did for the 2006 World Cup. Even though TV6 showed the matches then, Roger gave us all the atmosphere stories with the Soca Warriors while he was in Germany.
Let's see if they can play catch-up.

BTW, we hope Astil will get just as much exposure when Roger returns.


C News has debuted a new morning news presenter for First Up.
We did not catch her name on Monday, but we certainly could not miss the white stripe of eye shadow above her eyes every time she bent her head to look at her scripts.

Please First Up producer. If you never listen to any other piece of advice from Media Watch, please address this one thing for us: the camera for the morning news presenters on First Up is too high.
We have seen it with Miss Khan-Daniel (where is she these days?), we have seen it with Esther and we see it with your new protege.
They have to look too low down and then too high up. They end up looking uncomfortable and this is very distracting for the viewer.
We see the tops of their heads more than anything else.
Have you not given any thought to getting a teleprompter for the camera which the presenters use?

Perhaps your presenters are shy or intimidated, so we hope you will hear their plea for help through us.

And speaking of presenters, Diane Baldeo at TV6, you are reading too slow. We caught your newscast on Sunday night and it seemed laboured. You are not presenting a drama production, it's a newscast.
You need to keep the interest of your audience.
Now that Samantha John is reading much faster during the week, you seem now to be dragging the weekend newscast.

Monday, August 4, 2008


A few pointers on the Emancipation Day evening news.

The very first thing we noticed was Mark Bassant's (of C News) huge earring in his left ear while he was standing outside that bar.
Does your station not have a standard of dress for reporters who appear on the air?
You have not yet reached the stature of Ed Bradley, deceased CBS newsman and reporter for 60 Minutes. Later in his career he started sporting a very small earring in his left ear. But then again, he won 19 Emmys and a Lifetime Achievement award from the National Association of Black Journalists, so who was to argue with him for wanting to sport a little bling?
But you Mark need a good talking to. Your 'little bling' has morphed to napkin ring-sized proportions; very distracting and not professional-looking at all.

Anyway, both Samantha John of TV6 and Odeka Oneal-Seaton of CNC 3 had teleprompter issues, Samantha at 7pm and Odeka at 9.30pm.
Then Sampson Nanton of CNC, for his story on Emancipation Day celebrations, gave the spelling of the Ghanaian President's name as John Kafour, when it is Kufour.
Tsk tsk Sampson. That was a very silly mistake.

Then Samantha over at TV6 unfortunately had to correct some information in that story with the shooting at the bar in Maracas/St. Joseph at 7pm. Apparently incorrect information was given on Carol Dundonald's status.
But to top that off, the same incorrect information was again given when the story was played in the 10pm newscast and once again the information had to be corrected, at Samantha's expense.
So no one checked that script after the 7pm newscast to ensure the wrong information was not repeated?

And finally, at 9.50pm on Friday August 1st, CNC 3 ran an ad for Emancipation Day celebrations which were scheduled to begin at 7am on Friday August 1st, with a procession from the Brian Lara Promenade to the Savannah beginning at 9am.
So the marketing people did not tell the master control people not to run that ad after a certain time?


Here is NN's take on the issue.

"I'm intently following the discussion on salaries for media workers. How's about we call some names of editors, managers and owners now? I'm not sure how much the field of journalism has improved in the last 46 years. The quality of reporting may be alright but there is no overarching industry standard set so that the young, green cub reporters coming in have something to aspire to. Do any of the media houses have a content and writing style guide? A procedures manual? A journalist's handbook? Any document that tells people what the newspaper/media house stands for?

"This brings me to an errant article in the Newsday in the Sunday edition (3 August) which reported a missing La Brea teen found DEAD. Fortunately I had access to the Guardian which seemed to have the correct story that the young woman was found ALIVE, seemingly drugged but alive. The Guardian found the grandmother who expressed relief at her granddaughter being discovered.
Who the hell was the Newsday talking to?!

"This occurrence is altogether too frequent. Even Media Watch reports on inaccuracies in crime reports when details are different in all three dailies. Here's a suggestion. Why don't the media collaborate with the the Police Service on the best means to conduct daily media briefings on crimes that have taken place across the country. Journalists shouldn't even have to go to Police HQ for this information; it should be compiled and distributed electronically to each media house to ensure that everyone has the same basic information.

"There are precious few media houses that can be taken seriously in this country. It seems like they operate by vaps more often than not."


We could not have said that last part better ourselves if we tried.

And for our readers outside of Trinidad and Tobago who don't understand the use of the slang term 'vaps', it means "making an impulse decision, sudden desire to do something or doing something impromptu", eg, 'We caught a vaps and went to see the movie.' (Trinis would say 'We ketch a vaps and went to see a show.)'


This reader is not too pleased with some aspects of the news coverage on Emancipation Day.

"TV6 and C News what was the significance of carrying the triple murder story in your newscast on Friday night over the Emancipation Day Celebrations on Emancipation Day?

"C News carried the Emancipation story as a second item, while TV6 carried it as either a third or fourth item, I can't remember because I thought I saw so many stories go by before a mention of the BIG event of the day (August 1st) much so I lost track...What's up with that Dominic that a joke? Well for the record it looked bad just operating like that. Whatever the reasons for so doing, it felt horrible waiting in the audience to hear and see about the BIG EVENT of that day.

"Even if there was an editing problem, ever heard about pulling a crucial SOT for a story, to get the goodies rolling? Eh TV6.

"Oh gosh man, enough now."



Here's another addition to the debate.

""Trini" I respect your posts, and I take your point about those that have been in the Industry for sometime being paid well, but they really have to be judged from within the News Rooms and not from those of us looking on. Granted some of the names you have called have proven themselves to be in the $30,000 a month category as highly paid reporters and I speak of print magnates like Gail Alexander, Ria Taitt, Anthony Wilson, Sandra Chouthi, Richard Lord and Francis Joseph in that order.

"I put Gail first because she has a reputation for not asking questions on assignments and still put out the best story the next day...while Ria does what a true journalist is suppose to do and ask the questions openly, I think Gail has a gift there that no one else has mastered and no one else should because the Q&A part of a media briefing or conference is essential. But I still say hats off to Gail. She's special in her own way. I think her kind comes along every 20 years.

"If you are resentful at the salary range of $6,000 - $10,000 monthly...there are some of the names you mention here that are in fact way above that...they are Curtis Williams, Roger Sant, Rosemarie Sant, Sampson Nanton and Francis Joseph...and if you ask me Gail, Ria and Anthony should still be getting more than them, dem gyurl an dem hot...and so are Anthony and Richard...excuse the dialect.

""Trini" are you sure Richard Charan has made ten years in this business already? He has surely developed a good foundation for himself and has paid his dues and that I admire.

"Robert Alonzo is a gem and deserves a good take home pay.
Sean Nero is silent at the task, just like other names you've left out here that are deserving of the hefty sum. but I understand you were just drawing a reference.

"Samuel McKnight is a good example of someone who's been around for a long time but has not grown enough to be on the high pay plan. But experience is a hell of a thing and he must be able to guide a rookie with what he has learnt in what he does best --- crime. His pay should be at least $12,000 monthly, but not in the league with the names mentioned above, he lacks intellectual might.

"As for the other names you mentioned, I agree they should be paid better. Lara Pickford Gordon, and Jada Loutoo should be right up there too...their's should be at least $20,000 monthly.
Sean Douglas has lost some stripes for voicing his opinion at media briefings and media conferences, he needs to stop doing this nonsense and act like a journalist. I am not sure what he deserves. Maybe $15,000 monthly...but he needs to get back on track."



More names for the '10 years and over' section of the media, from trini media.

"Here's my own take on the whole salaries issue, but first let me mention a few other names that just came to mind;

"Gyasi Gonzales
Prior Beharry
Ken Chee Hing
Ralph Banwarie
Steve McPhie
Theron Boodan
Lester Forde
Andre Alexander
Erica Ramjass
Dale Enoch
Verne Burnett
Robert Taylor
Brian Ng Fatt
Andrea De Silva
Shirley Bahadoor
Tyrone Chang
Krishna Maharaj
Trevor Hackett
Tony Howell

"I'm sure there will be more added from time to time. But taking a quick look at these names we realise that some of the people we think have been in this business for at least a decade, just have not made the cut, and that includes some of our highest paid stars on television not to mention our overnight anchors and presenters. So who are the real contributors?

"I totally agree that the "faces and voices" of our news stations deserve to be paid well but there must be some merit, pun intended, to a call for higher salaries for those who have been serving for years, if only for the fact that they've matured into proper journalists who have covered several governments, dozens of political scandals, business collapses, high profile court matters, various weather-related calamities and not to mention, crime too much to tell.
In other words, these are the veterans and upcoming veterans in the media, the ones who many years ago could have told a snobbish minister (like Narace), the following words: "One day I'll still be here and you would not be there". Sasha, now's your time to say it. Maybe one day, if you're good enough to handle the pressure, you'll get that delightful reward in seeing the minister fade into oblivion while you become a shining star.

"Remember Panday's "as long as you are there, I will be here"? They covered that. And they're still there. In other words, they make up the thread of experience that runs through the entire media, that keeps it as a unit and help guide the newer ones, many of whom are only intent on making money and becoming overnight stars.

"I agree that not all these people who have crossed the 10-year mark have grown as journalists as they should but still everyone knows that in this profession, experience, contacts, more experience, and more experience, and more experience and more contacts and public trust and public confidence far surpass that piece of paper called a degree. This is the profession in which you succeed because you know somebody with real pure information that knows you and trusts you and have had creditable experiences with you that's willing to give you the information.

"But are we willing to pay to hold on to these people. Apparently, sadly "no". Media managers created their own problem by causing the great ones to leave us and replacing them with the money-hungry rookies who just move on after a while and the cycle goes on and on and on.
We need not cast our minds too far back to remember the good ones who left. Where's Kay Baldeosingh, Kathy-Ann Waterman, Kathleen Maharaj, Irene Medina, Wendy Campbell, Joel and David Nanton (Sampson's older brothers), David Maynard, Denise Moore, Rookmin Maharaj, Gary Moreno, Judith Coward, Elizabeth Solomon? All moved on to better-paying jobs not because they were money-hungry but because their value was not being recognised. I salute their contributions. The media has been made worse off by the loss of these and many like themselves.

"The group of 10-years and more has been bridging that gap and they deserve to be paid well and I'd like to salute them too for their stance for this long. Yes you make mistakes from time to time, but your contribution as a collective, is invaluable.

"Finally, I'd like to recommend to the media association, that you take three days and hold a media exhibit. Call the veterans like Therese Mills, John Babb, Barbara Assoon, Lennox Grant, Jones P Madeira, Keith Smith and Tony Fraser and ask them to contribute something.

"I'm sure John Babb can lend you his shorthand notes from the Dole Chadee trial, Tony Fraser, his notes from the conversation with Arthur NR Robinson while captive during the coup, let Deborah John give you George's notes from something many years ago, Therese Mills must have a recording from her radio days or notes from Independence Day 1962 or beyond, Barbara's recordings, Tony's "The Issues Live", Madeira with Abu Bakr at his back during the coup. You'd find out how valuable this is to the newcomers in the media."

Take note Joanne.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Well here's an interesting comment from trini media on the issue of reasonable salaries for media people.

"I totally agree that media personnel should be paid well but first we need to examine who are these people with experience of over 10 years and more and what are their roles. There are a number of people working in the print media that are not as well known as those in the broadcast media but who have been working real hard at it for years and have contributed a great deal.
Here are some people who have crossed ten years in both print and broadcast.

"Francis Joseph
Gail Alexander
Richard Lord
Sean Nero
Sandra Chouthi
Anthony Wilson
Rosemarie Sant
Roger Sant
Sampson Nanton
Robert Alonzo
Curtis Rampersad
Nalinee Seelal
Jada Loutoo
Lara Pickford-Gordon
Azard Ali
Lincoln Holder
Karl Cupid
Sean Douglas
Rattan Jadoo
Mano Ragbir
Mike Gonzales
Richard Charan
Robert Cadallo
Ria Taitt
Samuel McKnight
Earl Manmohan
Louis Homer
Curtis Williams
Joanne Briggs
Ian Prescott
Kwame Laurence
Gary Cardinez
Wayne Bowman

"This is just a sample.
I am sure if you open a debate on who from these deserve high wages and who do not you will find that the names who are being called are usually the ones more popular while several cameramen and photographers are not even given second thought."


Here's a comment on that crash landing story.

"I want to confirm that C News did carry the story on the plane crash with shots of the run way and in fact did a more comprehensive report on the crash.

"Now to the issue of the Sasha Mohammed and Jerry Narrace saga interview being pulled from YouTube: I just want to say to Sasha that she should not in any way feel relieved at TV6's diligence in having the video removed because she has a lot of haters out there and clearly in TV6 it self who may slip by a copy of the same video on CD/DVD.

"Eh Sasha? Since you spent so much time deliberately creating haters, you should expect anything.
And oh BTW, for those who missed it, you can catch it on it made the rounds there too.
Ahhhh Sasha. You ain't getting away from this one so easy."