Thursday, September 25, 2008


Noooooo Naette Lee. No.
Why did you decide to wear a suit to read the 7pm and 9pm news on C?
Your station's main newscast is not the place to play dress up games!
"Oh, someone loaned me a man's suit and thought it would look good. I'll give it a try at 7 o'clock."
Well if your goal was to appeal to or help increase the station's homosexual viewership, then kudos, you did a very good job in looking like an attractive man with big earrings.
And if you insist on wearing a suit (dark green[?] with a light blue tie) then at least wear a colour that complements your skin tone.
The entire look was just wrong.
Please leave the suits to Robert and Ean.
And we really don't want to believe that your producer had nothing to say about that suit.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Here's a comment on the budget coverage.

"I did see when Samantha John over at TV6 apologised for the Finance Minister not being able to make it to a live interview after the budget presentation on Monday, and yes I saw when she noted it was a pity, or was it?

"Well I thought to myself, "hmmmmmm Samantha you not too good with those live interviews anyway, so you must be happy the Minister was too tired to make it".


Monday, September 22, 2008


We'd like our loyal readers to give us their views on the media coverage of the reactions / panel discussions of the 2008/2009 budget presentation.
We made a few observations, one of which was that CNMG's set with the very high chair and desk for moderator Sandra Maharaj made her look like a judge presiding over the trial of guests Thackwray Driver, Hazel Brown and the gentleman from the CWU.

Then at 7pm, Samantha John of TV6 told us the Finance Minister was supposed to be interviewed live during the news but they received a telephone call that she was tired and would not be able to make it. Well instead of leaving it there and moving on to the next item, Miss John said "It is a pity."
Did we detect a slight sarcastic tone? Was that line scripted?

Tell us what you thought of the coverage.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Once again, Lennox Grant of the Guardian shows the younger ones how to spin the tools of their profession into a marvelous piece of prose in his Sunday commentary, which focuses on the speech by Chief Justice Ivor Archie to mark the beginning of the new law term.
"Forget the calf-length black gown piped in red and white, and the roman collar, with the fan-shaped, lacy bib, frothing down his chest: those visuals of Chief Justice livery recall a high clerical functionary of medieval times.
Hear, instead, soundbites and the buzzwords that present Mr Archie as the today CEO of a state enterprise, operating in a service industry called justice."

Lenny, when are you going to start teaching this thing man? You can start with your charges at the Guardian (see the post Basic Grammar).


Here's the headline for Keino Swamber's story in the Monday Express on three men appearing in court for possession of cocaine: "Threesome in court charged with 27 kilos of cocaine".
Do the people who write these headlines get any tongue lashing from the reporters?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


"Hi Martine,

"Do local sub editors know the basic grammatical rules? This is the opening of the Guardian front-page story today about the nurse who was executed:

""Discovered with her hands and feet bound and a single gunshot wound to the back of the head, investigators believe Paula Lakraj, a nurse, was killed execution-style."

"As written this sentence suggests that the investigators were "discovered with her hands...". This is incorrect and nonsensical. In grammar, this error is called a dangling modifier. The opening clause should modify the victim, so the sentence should have read:

""Discovered with her hands and feet bound and a single gunshot wound to the back of the head, Paula Lakraj, a nurse, was killed execution-style, investigators believe."

"This is very basic grammar, and I'm surprised that this wasn't caught by the subs seeing that it's the lead paragraph of the front-page story. Makes you wonder about the quality control at our newspapers.
By the way, this isn't the first instance I've seen of this, but it's the most glaring.


Thanks for pointing this out Mike.
Guardian subs and senior editors and Miss Kowlessar, take note.
Basic grammar.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Miss Johnson's 'performance' in the TV6 sportscasts is getting some more attention.

"I'm liking Rochelle Johnson reading sports on TV6 while Joel is on vacation. Its about time that women start getting in front the camera in sports journalism in this country. And she seems to be very comfortable in front of the camera too.
Good move TV6. Hope it's a sign of better things for, and an inspiration to, women in sport..."


Now that we think about it....we don't necessarily agree that what Miss Johnson is doing is 'sports journalism'. She is just a presenter, so she is putting a face to sports journalism, reading other people's work.
Otherwise it would be like saying Samantha John and Diane Baldeo are journalists....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Here's an interesting observation made to us about one of our recent posts on the US stock market crisis.

"Hi Martine,

"You all have referred to events on Wall Street over the past couple days as a stock market crash. Is this your own interpretation of events? I've been following the events in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, FT and other news outlets and am yet to see the market decline described as a crash. Indeed, a 5% fall in the market is not considered a crash. It's dramatic, yes, but not a crash. Also, it wasn't a broad market decline, but largely financial stocks that were affected (as to be expected).

"I just thought I'd point this out as you all often chide reporters for not getting the facts straight. We wouldn't want you all to fall into the Trini media penchant for sensationalism and hyperbole.


Thanks for the observation Mike. We certainly did not set out to sensationalize the issue, and we take your point.

We hope Curtis Rampersad of the Express will take to heart your point as well, since he also referred to the issue as a crash in his story on the AIG bailout in the Wednesday edition.
"There will be no immediate fallout but the crash in the US financial system and a global recession may inevitably affect investors and consumers in Trinidad and Tobago, a financial expert has suggested."

Monday, September 15, 2008


The Guardian's Tuesday edition has two sides of the story of the man who set his 'wife' on fire on Sunday evening, then was apparently knocked down and killed as he tried to escape.

Geisha Kowlessar tells us about the "Man found dead after burning Valencia home", and her colleague Camille Clarke interviews the woman's mother and sister who were also injured for her story titled "Jilted lover runs amok over food, then kills self".

While Gyasi Gonzales of the Express tells us "Man sets wife, in-law on fire".

Mr Gonzales says the incident took place at "Pineapple Road" while Miss Kowlessar tells us it took place at "Alexander Street".

Both Guardian stories detail injuries to the three women and two small children who were also in the house, but there is no mention of a third woman or children in Mr Gonzales' story.
Miss Clarke and Miss Kowlessar refer to the man as "Jamel Sebastian", while Mr Gonzales refers to him as "Jimell Sebastian".

Miss Kowlessar tells us "His body was discovered later, lying on the side of the road...Police said they received information...that Sebastian threw himself in front of the car. They suspect that he committed suicide."
But Mr Gonzales tells us "Sebastian managed to reach a nearby bridge not far from his home when he was hit by a car. It is believed that one or two other cars then ran over him. A passing motorist took the young man, then still alive, to the Sangre Grande Hospital, where he died around 12 midnight."
How could the two reports differ so fundamentally?
It's either his body was found at the side of the road, already dead, or he was taken to the hospital (dead or alive).
Which is it?


Yuh know, when we first saw that front page splash in the Express, one of the first things that struck us was that we hoped Ria Taitt and Juhel Browne actually saw the documents Mr Maharaj was referring to, following his accusations against Mr Imbert.
(We won't add a link to the story here for fear of repeating the libel and attracting a lawsuit).
But we will add a few lines from the contentious story: "Attempts to get a response from Imbert yesterday (Saturday) were unsuccessful. (Probably because he was consulting his lawyer all day long.)
In a telephone interview yesterday (Saturday), Maharaj said...he had all the documentary evidence to prove his allegation."

Did Miss Taitt or Mr Browne actually see the documents for themselves before going to print? Did they ask Mr Maharaj to supply them with copies, just to be on the safe side?

And if you still don't know what we are referring to, we'll spell it out: Colm Imbert is suing the Express for printing allegations made against him (under Parliamentary Privilege) by Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj during debate on the motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister.
The debate ended at close to 2am on Saturday so we are guessing one or both of the reporters were the only ones left in the media gallery and exulted that they had a scoop.
Feel free to correct us if we are wrong, and we promise to publish the corrected version.


We must say that we could find no fault in the story Sherwin Long did for C News on the US stock market crash.
The story had all the right elements...coherent and relevant soundbites, good audio and video (nice touch to use CMMB's scrolling stock board), and best of all Sherwin, a good standup!
Practice makes perfect. We have been hard on you in the past because we know you can do much better.
BTW, it's good practice to stand still for a few extra seconds at the end of your standup for the sake of your cameraman.
We caught you moving almost as soon as you ended your tag.


We got a chance to take a look exclusively at the TV6 7pm news this evening, and a few things struck us.
First of all...interesting choice for the lead story - the US stock market crash. We have a thriving stock market in Trinidad so the US scenario would be of interest to a sizeable portion of the population.

But things went steadily downhill from there.
Leeron Brummel is not pronouncing the ends of some of his words. We can't remember which story he did, but he left off the ends of his words, making him sound as if he needs a refresher course on pronunciation.
Then that story from Fabian Pierre with the interview between Andy Johnson and David Abdullah from the Morning Edition. We saw the original interview, and at one point the cameraman who was focused on Mr Abdullah seemed to bump the camera, sending it off centre of the guest. Well we got that bump again when the story was turned into a voice over with two soundbites for the midday newscast, and we got the bump a third time when Mr Pierre turned the story into a packaged piece for the 7pm newscast. Why? So at no point did it occur to anyone to cover that bump with a piece of b-roll video?

Then for Elizabeth Williams Allard's story on the new political party in Tobago, Samantha John told us the name of the party was the "Tobago Organization of the People" and we saw this on the screen before the packaged story began, but then party leader Ashworth Jack later told us it was the "Tobago People's Organization" and their sign clearly stated that.
Miss Williams Allard failed to tell us what are the ramifications, if any, in the Tobago House of Assembly now that there is no more DAC - the party which holds the minority seats in the Assembly, and Mr Jack holds the position as Minority Leader.
She also told us that some of the big wigs in the new party are former Minority Councillor Hochoy Charles and Dr Hughvon Des Vignes; no mention was made that they are also 'former' members of the DAC.
You always have to give enough background in your story so that the uninitiated will not get lost. What if someone was watching your story and they are new to the politics of Trinidad and Tobago?

Sharmilla Persad's crime story went on and on, so we are guessing that's why it was cut abruptly so Samantha could read the People Meter question. It was very jarring, but there was no apology...she just launched into a new story afterwards.

Then later in the world news roundup, Natoya Johnson very confidently told us that "Hurricane Ike left a trial of destruction in Texas...".
She also told us about the power sharing deal that has finally been signed between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe. But there was no word in her story on what that really meant. Would the two men rule together?
We had to do a little digging for ourselves to find out.
"Under the deal, Mugabe cedes some power to Tsvangirai, who is now prime minister. But Tsvangirai reports to Mugabe, who remains president and head of the Cabinet where his party has most seats...For the first time, though, Mugabe is not autonomous. He must consult the prime minister before making decisions like appointing judges or dismissing parliament."
Miss Johnson, not every viewer has the luxury of searching the net to get the information you left out of your report. Most times though they will switch to another station while you are still talking to try to get the complete story.

Then came the sportscast with a fresh new face. Miss Rochelle Johnson, filling in for Joel Villafana who is on vacation. Was she on the Morning Edition recently with Joel Julien? Anyway, she did a commendable job. Her head was not bobbing up and down or side to side like, well, you know who. She pronounced all her words correctly and most of all she flowed. Not staccato like Mr Nanton or Mr Renn.
Nice change of pace, TV6. We look forward to seeing more of Miss Johnson.
So. When is Samantha going on vacation?


We are hoping someone can correctly answer that question for us.
C News is telling us 373, while TV6 is telling us 378.
Anyone care to elaborate on where the other five murder victims went to?

Then at 9pm on C News, Desha Rambhajan did a story where one of the figures she gave for the latest murders is 328.
Is it 328 or 378? You people are confusing your viewers and listeners. And is it 373 or 317? Prounounce your words properly so we will know exactly what you mean!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Editors at the Guardian, when you want to copy a story from the international media, do it properly nah!

Here is your version of a story on Hurricane Ike's passage through Houston, Texas which was published in your Saturday edition.
First paragraph: "HOUSTON-Hurricane Ike bore down on the heart of the US energy industry yesterday, leaving most production idled and threatening a fifth of the nation’s refining capacity with howling winds and a wall of high-water."

And here is the first paragraph of the version which appeared in the UK Guardian's online edition on Friday: "HOUSTON, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Powerful Hurricane Ike bore down on the heart of the U.S. oil sector in Texas on Friday, leaving energy production idled and threatening nearly a quarter of the nation's refining capacity with howling winds and a possible 20-foot (6-meter) wall of water."

Friday, September 12, 2008


C News, your 7pm newscast was the first time we were hearing the speech Prime Minister Patrick Manning made in Woodford Square this afternoon. Unfortunately Sandra Maharaj had no choice but to use the soundbites with the really, really poor audio.
What was the problem in recording that event? Didn't you know it was going to happen? Did your crew get there early enough to set up?
Was your cameraman wearing headphones while recording the speech? Did you have a mic on the stage?
It was really painful to listen to.

And whose idea was it to go live to Golda Lee at Woodford Square during the newscast? The most she was able to tell us was that the cleaners were working really hard to get the place back in order, and she basically recapped what Miss Maharaj already told us in her report.

BTW, who is the stylist for your weatherman Ean Wallace? Steve Erkel? Tonight he sported a bright orange shirt with a bright red tie. Why?
Does the producer of the show have no say in what all the presenters on his/her show wear?

And Naette it's Svetlana Kuznetsova, not Kustenova!

NOT! 2

In our last post we recognised that Kyle Jeremiah of the Guardian had nothing to do with the omission of a crucial word from the headline of his story on the Commission of Inquiry into Udecott.
The omission was only in the online version of the story, while the hard copy carried the correct headline.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


What a difference a little word makes.
One of the lead stories in the Thursday edition of the Guardian is that of Udecott Commission of Enquiry Chairman Professor John Uff answering questions on who gave the deadline date for the report.
The story, written by Kyle Jeremiah, is titled 'Uff: I did set October 2009 deadline'.
Yet in the body of the story we see "Uff said, that he formulated the timetable but did not choose the deadline."
Hmmmmm. Kyle we are not blaming you because it's unlikely you typed in the headline, and it's unlikely that you had the final say on how the page would look.
We are hoping.


The front pages of the Thursday edition of the Express and the Newsday were a welcome sight, with photos of double Olympic silver medallist Richard Thompson and six year old cancer patient Shakira Robinson.
Compare those to the front page of the Guardian, with its composite photo of the political storm in a teacup.


The Minister of Information Neil Parsanlal was the featured speaker at the Media Association's meeting on Wednesday.
The Express story, written by Camille Bethel, is titled 'Minister: Media must check itself'.

He says: ""If the media is the body that sees itself as keeping politicians and the society on its toes, and keeping Government officials in check by being able to challenge what they do, then who does it for the media, if the media doesn't do it for itself?

"In the absence of self-regulation, internal challenge and the challenge to a greater degree of professionalism, then what should a society expect of a free press in terms of raising its own quality?""

Thank you Mr Minister. We couldn't have said it better ourselves (especially the second paragraph).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Here's another comment on this issue.

"Why am I not surprised that the three daily news papers did not see it fit to refer to Prime Minister Patrick Manning's controversial "running like thieves running from the police comment" to describe how fast the Olympic athletes ran in Beijing.

"What is this a pro PNM media? Or is it that the goodly journalists got carried away in the moment that they too didn't catch on to a good sound bite or quote?

"I see that is happening a lot these days, it must be the influx of novices taking effect...hmmmm.

"Well it was talked about on the Dale and Tony show on i95 on Tuesday morning, and the sound bite was played over, so I was able to get the exact quote of "thieves, (not bandits) running from the police" which sounds more common and worse.

"Anil Roberts on Power 102FM also went to town on Manning for the comment on Tuesday evening on his talk show programme, and it was talked about in media circles, so why the reporters on hand did not see the need to write on it, or why did the Heads of News see the need to eliminate it from the script? Maybe that's what happened.

"The PNM can't brainwash all these reporters, but they can the Heads of News. I hope the Mirror do their part and not let this foolish analogy make any escape."


And all this before the US media jumped on Barack Obama for his 'lipstick on a pig' comment.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


We saw something which was really interesting after watching both IETV and CNC 3's newscasts on Monday evening.
First, IETV ran a story in their 6:30pm newscast on the reaction to the call for a nationwide shutdown. One such story included soundbites from two people in south Trinidad. The first was a businesswoman (with very pale makeup and yellow hair) and she was followed by a man with a Caribbean accent.
Nadine Hackett referred to the gentleman as a 'citizen', but didn't tell us which country he was a citizen of.

Then later in the CNC 3 newscast at 7pm, we saw a similar round of stories, one of them done by Sampson Nanton. Then close to the end of Sampson's story, who could we see but the same woman with the pale makeup and the yellow hair and the man with the Caribbean accent. Mr Nanton used exactly the same soundbites from the two people, and they were used in the same order as on IETV.

Hmmmmmm. Quite a coincidence that they happened to interview the same two people out of thousands of possible random candidates, and those two candidates said exactly the same thing in exactly the same way for two different camera crews.
And there we (and all your viewers) were thinking that Nadine and Sampson and their respective cameramen pounded the pavements to get those stories and those soundbites.
Well the Heads of News of IETV and CNC 3 need to speak with whoever is supplying them with video and let them know that you don't want the same random soundbites that have already been given/sold(?) to someone else. It's fine if the person is covering a press conference or some other public function and gives the video to numerous people, it may not be obvious.
But in this case it was highly obvious that one person shot that video and distributed it.


The Guardian has an interesting study in the Tuesday edition titled 'Women pick men who look like dad'.
Where is the attribution for where the story was originally published and which is missing from the Guardian's page?
Same headline and word for word story from the BBC website's Health section.
This time though they left out the three photos on the original page and the comment from Have your say.


Here is how the daily newspapers dealt with the public rally for the Olympic silver medallists.

The Express story by Anna Ramdass was titled 'Gold Next Time: Thompson Dreams of 2012 London Olympics', but nowhere in the story is there any reference to Richard Thompson making such a statement.
Neither is there any mention of the Prime Minister's comment about the speed of the medallists mimicking that of bandits escaping from the police.

The Newsday's Sean Douglas' story was titled '$4M men', but should really have been given the title from Anna Ramdass' story, since he had the missing quote from Richard Thompson: "“We look forward to next year, 2009, at the world championship games and we hope to change those two silver medals into gold medals. More importantly, London 2012 Olympics we plan to be the dominant force like Jamaica was this year.”"

And here is Richard Lord's take on the story in the Guardian: 'Olympic heroes out to turn silver into gold', complete with the correct information: "He added that the T&T team hoped to turn the Olympic silver medals into gold at the Caribbean Games next year, and to be the dominant team in the London Olympics in 2012.".
No mention of the police and bandit comment from the PM.
However the photo looks staged. Look at his mom's face.
Richard's parents were with him in Beijing, so they had about two weeks to admire those medals without the glare of the media before arriving in Trinidad.


This reader tries to unravel the PM's parable.

"I am under much strain to point out this puzzle in the media.

"At the welcoming ceremony for this country's athletes on Monday evening at the Piarco International Airport, Prime Minister Patrick Manning made a huge boo boo.

"He said "these fellas could run fast, they too young to be running so fast, they running like bandits running from the police"...and not one of the major news houses saw it fit to take the story from that angle.

"Is it because there are too many junior reporters in the major news rooms in this country covering major assignments? Or is it because the heads of news in these major Television Stations have become political puppets? what is it?

"How could everybody miss the story? STEWPS!!!!

"And you know the dotish MC came on after Manning's impossible speech and spouted "Richard boy you are the million dollar man, get security". Stupes!

"I want to see what the News Papers will do with that statement on Tuesday, because it is not news that the athletes got millions, so did the Soca Warriors, this is not a first.

"Where journalists fail the talk show hosts step in, somebody wanna bet me Anil Roberts on Power 102FM won't miss that issue on his Monday evening show? What about the Dale and Tony show, somebody wanna bet?

"You bunch a jokers for journalists and Head of News, leave the talk show hosts alone, they pick up where you fail."


Sunday, September 7, 2008


Thanks CNC 3 for bringing us the video at the end of your Sunday newscast of Shelly Dass and Robert Clarke tying the knot in Tobago (albeit shaky video).

But is Robert on honeymoon? We saw his name in the credits as a reporter for the Gayelle 7pm news on Sunday. Shelly can't be too pleased with that.

And thanks also CNC for that breaking news item on the toddler who was swept away by flood waters in Tobago.


In the Sunday 7pm news, TV6's Leeron Brummel attempted to give us a heartrending story of a young mother of five who is down on her luck and needs some assistance (the segment was titled 'Looking for an Angel').
She has been given one week to vacate the place she has called home for the last four years. Although she gets support from the father (singular?) of her children and against whom she has a restraining order.

But Leeron, it was really strange that you went the route of listing all the bad behaviour of the children, including telling us that you and your cameraman had to caution them several times while you were at the house, the neighbours complain about them throwing stones into their yards and running into oncoming traffic, and the eldest daughter walking the streets at all hours of the day and night.
If your job was to make us feel sorry for that family and empty our pockets in sympathy, you failed miserably. Who vetted that story for you???
The only thing you made us think was "This woman cyah train she children?".

And to top it off, you gave us shots of every one of the woman's children, yet we did not see Sherry Ali's face at all. We saw the back of her head as she faced you for the interview, and we got a clear shot of you.
When did Sherry decide she did not want her face to be shown? Before or after you agreed to do the interview?
So she thought it was ok (and it seems you agreed with her) to exploit the children and play on people's sympathies to get some assistance, but no one must be able to recognize her?
What about the three children whom you told us are attending school? How do you think their friends/classmates will now react to them, after hearing all the not-too-pleasant details of their lives on your station?
Did you or your producer consider any other options in telling this story?


Well we were right, Miss Dass truly is the bigger star at CNC 3 as her wedding photo made it to the front page of the station's sister paper, the Sunday Guardian, unlike her colleague Satesh Mahabir.
But unfortunately when you try to go in for a closer look at the gown, you get instead the Prime Minister hobnobbing with Jack Warner.
Oh well, the hard copy will have to suffice.
Miss Dass is now married to Robert Clarke, a reporter formerly of the Guardian, TV6 and now Gayelle. royalty?

Can you name other media couples?
We'll start the ball rolling with Emmett & Allyson Hennessy, Roger & Rosemarie Sant and Gerard and Suzanne Lampow.


And the comments keep rolling in.

"Ha ha ha, I love "A true friend of the media" response to CJ.

"Except I want to believe "CJ" is Robert Clarke and not Sampson or Samuel. Did the person say Samuel? You that friend of the media actually believe Samuel McKnight can string a few words in a sentence sensibly? LOL

"I guess he or she did not intend to be so harsh on Samuel then...Oh gawd oyyyye, all yuh go kille me here oui lol."


Saturday, September 6, 2008


Kudos to CNC 3's Shelly Dass on her nuptials today.
Her co-workers presented her with a token on the set of the 7pm news on Wednesday evening.
We are looking forward to seeing the video in the CNC 3 newscast this evening, as well as a few photos in the Sunday Guardian.
After all, CNC 3 did give us some video from Satesh Mahabir's wedding, and since Miss Dass is the bigger star, we would expect the same star treatment.


The responses keep coming in.

"Dear MW,

"Just a few words of advice for CJ/SN/SM or whoever ...

"CJ opens his weak salvo by saying: "I find "Friend of the Media's" concerns to be blatantly bias and is (a) clear sign of jealousy (perhaps another media personnel)."

"The word should be "biased" not "bias". The word "personnel" is always used in the plural. To speak of "a" or "another" media personnel is to be illiterate.

"CJ's response to me could well have been written by Samuel, Sampson or Astil and read aloud on CNC3 without comment from the big-pay bosses there.

"Also note that nowhere did I try to bring Astil down to the level of McKnight or Nanton. Those guys are an embarrassment! Astil tries his best. There are a few other characters over at TV6 and "C" who need to be dealt with. But all of that in due course.

"Where is Undine Guiseppi when you need her?"

"A True Friend of the Media"


Here's another response to the comment on CNC 3.

"So somebody thinks that Samuel McKnight cannot even pass the SEA exams...? Hmmmm... Well CJ while I agree with you on some points, I disagree with you (on) others. I think "friends of the media" (geesh what a long name) was a bit harsh on Samuel, but you cannot blame anyone for having a problem with Samuel's delivery.

"However, to say he won't even pass the SEA is ludicrous because he certainly stays on top of the issues around him. Samuel is a brilliant news gatherer as you rightly pointed out "CJ" but his continued poor delivery of his brilliant story ideas is a sign that CNC3 is not doing what it has to do to beef up the talent of its reporters. Why should Samuel sound the same way months later since he started voicing? That would be any body's gripe and Rosemarie Sant really should do something about it.

"And "CJ" why do you always take things so personally, why would someone be jealous of CNC3? Come on.

"As for Sampson Nanton, I think "friends of the media" was a bit harsh on him as is true he does one of the better stand ups, but in an evolving world a great style could become obsolete. (I'm not speaking of his stand ups here)...But Sampson does sound the exact same way he did since he started voicing. That's been how many years now? Still sounding staccato, and like Alicia Nurse, way too soft and lacking dynamism. Needless to say he is in fact one of the better journalists around. But that is our opinion, you can't fault someone else for not thinking the same "CJ". There are people out there who really ain't that impressed with Sampson.

"There are people in the US who are not impressed with Anderson Cooper, does that mean he is not good, or does that mean he is good? There are people in England who think Tim Sebastian is no good, but isn't he in fact one of the best interviewers media has ever seen? So you see "CJ" it does not have to come down to petty criticisms of jealousies and envy...get with it. People have choices, and they are entitled to make their own such choices.

"All in all, CNC3 does have one of the better news products in town, but bear in mind "CJ" that one silly mistake or one bad delivery style could in fact ruin an entire newscast. People flick the channel instantly. (Ask the bloggers, they have raised this issue before). There are a lot of people who do not follow CNC3 news --- good as it is, because they do not like to hear Samuel and Otto Carrington. No matter how good their stories might be. That is unfortunate, but that is their choice.

"Please give Astil a break. He knows the issues, and never misses a journalistic opportunity. Of course that does not mean he should not work on those weaknesses."



CJ has a response for 'Friend of the Media' on the issue of CNC 3's reporters/presenters.


"I hold no brief for anyone in the media but I find some of the comments lately to be bordering on insane. I am an ardent viewer of CNC3, which I find carries the most appropriate newscast followed closely by IETV, then TV6, Gayelle and CNMG in that order. I find "Friend of the Media's" concerns to be blatantly bias and is clear sign of jealousy (perhaps another media personnel).

"While Samuel McKnight may have problems with his voicing of stories (and I totally agree that the seniors at CNC3 must take serious note of the continuous complaints), one must not see his weaknesses in one area as a loss on the whole. From what I have gathered, he has been in the media for quite some time and while he may have his problems pronouncing words correctly, judging from the substance of his stories, he seems to be a good news gatherer (not presenter). To launch a personal attack to say that he could not pass the SEA is unfortunate and shameful. The same can be said about Astil Renn, who, after Roger Sant, is the sports reporter with the longer service in broadcast journalism (let's not forget he started off in radio before moving to TV6 and subsequently CNC3). Again, to denounce him as not having a clue about writing news is again totally inaccurate and bias.

"I was totally convinced that "Friend of the Media" has no clue of what she is talking about when she touched on Sampson Nanton. Clearly "Friend of the Media" needs to go back to the drawing board and not assume that Sampson's recent unfortunate events equates in anyway to him being unlearnt or unskilled in his field. In fact I might go so far to say that there are few scripts I have heard that are as thorough and factual as his, well-written and concise. Indeed it was Sampson's first story on the integration, which his cheeky mix of Sparrow's "Federation" that pointed to what was actually taking place at the prime minister's residence, another federation in the making. I stand corrected but at no time in that report or in subsequent reports on the issue (which I have been closely following) have I ever heard him say that Jamaica did not enter the federation. I distinctly remember hearing a clip of Sparrow's "Federation" which referenced that Jamaica pulled out of the Federation leading Eric Williams to say, "one from ten leaves nought".

"While I too can identify faults in Sampson's reporting, I actually regard him as one of the best reporters in local television, if not the best with exceptional stand-ups, creative scripts and a clear understanding of several areas from politics to business to culture.

"But there's another aspect to all this. I'm a strong believer that when someone seems to be affected this much by someone (i.e Friend of the Media by Sampson, McKnight, Astil) it's reflective of some personal grouse by the one affected. Unfortunately and cowardly this is the only forum they could find to criticise these hard-working gentlemen. So this is my tribute to CNC3 and these three gentlemen. Yes, there are areas for improvement but keep on doing your thing until you get it right.
And a word of advice Friend of the Media, check your facts before you report -- Sampson could teach you that."


Wednesday, September 3, 2008


TV6 ran a story on Tuesday night with a woman with a hyphenated name discussing dengue prevention at a workshop.
Unfortunately the woman was very short and the podium with the numerous microphones towered over her head, so the viewer just caught a glimpse of the speaker through the myriad of mics stacked in front of her face.
The reporter and cameraman are probably saying it's not my fault she is short, and it's not my fault the people who organised the workshop did not make provision for vertically challenged presenters.
We agree with you 150% on those two points. However.
You cannot expect your audience to accept that poor shot.
Can you hazard a guess at how many of your viewers actually heard what the presenter said in that soundbite? They clearly would have been distracted by the fact that they could not see her face because she was lost behind all those microphones.

There were two simple solutions.
1. Assuming the reporter thought to ask the cameraman if he got a clear shot of the presenter's face and the cameraman responded in the negative, then the reporter could have approached the presenter during a break in the proceedings and asked her to expand on the point she was making during her presentation. You would not have had to tell her you did not get a clear shot of her. Just ask her to clarify her point while facing your camera, thereby eliminating the need to use that non-shot of her at the podium.
If the cameraman was there on his own and could argue that he did not have a reporter to help, well some initiative would have been welcomed, since you would have already known that no one would be able to see the presenter's face. During the break or after the session, you could have asked the presenter to repeat a few salient points while facing your camera which you would have locked, and with you holding the mic.

2. If the reporter and cameraman reasonably claimed that they had to rush out after the session and could not catch up with the presenter again, then the reporter could have asked the cameraman to ensure he got a shot of the presenter at the head table or wherever she was sitting, so that an establishing shot of her could have been used, then use her voice as she gave her points at the podium but with b-roll video over her face so that viewers did not have to see the tower of microphones.

(And surprisingly this second suggestion was put to us by a layperson - someone who has never even worked in the media! They said "Why didn't they just use her voice and use shots of the crowd over her face?")

Another point for TV6.
When is someone going to talk to Dr. Morgan Job about his posture on the Morning Edition set?
While interacting with Dr. Indra Haraksingh on Wednesday morning, the director gave us a shot which included interviewer and interviewee. Dr. Haraksingh sat with her ankles neatly crossed under the table. Dr. Job on the other hand sat with his legs spreadeagled under the table, his white socks peaking out from the hem of his grey slacks, and slouched down in his seat so that his ill-fitting jacket looked like it was swallowing him.


Here's a comment specifically for the bosses at CNC 3, who can address the issue of their charges.

"Dear MW,

"I have been following your occasional comments about the poor performance of Astil Renn and Samuel McKnight of CNC3. The criticisms are all perfectly valid, except that you seem to be overly sympathetic to the fact that these two gentlemen do not have a clue about writing news and the proper use of the English language. It is true that McKnight is probably functionally illiterate and saved only by the fact that he has been in the business for some years and has some news contacts. That apart, he would not pass the SEA.

"There might be hope for Astil Renn, but not on the air. Roger Sant still says 'Wast Indies', but he knows something about the English language.

"The other character is Sampson Nanton. How in heaven's name has this clown earned recognition as a journalist? He is no better than McKnight in his fundamental ignorance of the use of the English language and very regularly writes/reports on subjects about which he has not a clue.

"For example, did you see his report on Manning's trip to Jamaica and other Caricom countries? He reports, in summary, that Jamaica did not enter the Federation because of a referendum there. The fact is that Jamaica was a part of the West Indies Federation, like Trinidad and Tobago, between 1958 and 1962. The island WITHDREW from the federation as a result of the referendum (not 'refarandom'). Good God. I can find scores of other similar examples of this guy's ignorance.

"Why does Rosemarie Sant assign this character anything serious? Why isn't he sitting in parliament or the court learning about who, what, when and why?

"Come on Sabga, Kissoon et al. Come on!!!"

"A Friend of the Media"