Friday, October 31, 2008


We are now hearing from more reputable people like economist (and former finance minister) Wendell Mottley that the government's spending spree and 'head in the sand' syndrome will eventually be to this country's detriment in light of the global financial crisis.
Some interesting comments follow the article in the online version of the story.
We hope the government will begin to answer some of the burning questions being posed by all and sundry.


Here's a comment on the McCain/Obama debate from PH.

"I just want to throw this out to those who care to give their views on it.
"All Universities teach you that whoever the media favours in a US Elections tend to win the Election. One real difference however was with Ronald Reagan who managed to work around a media that was unfavourable towards him back in the 80's.

"Now could someone tell me how Obama could get such overwhelming Television, Radio and Print Media support from the most trustworthy names in news, spend $600 million compared to McCain's $80 million on the campaign trail and is leading in the polls by only 8 points. What is wrong with this picture? And please come better than the "because he's black" argument.

"I will not buy that argument because he beat Hillary, even though she melted him in every debate, the media still made him look good. So was her uphill battle a gender issue? And did the "who is who" choose the lesser of two evils to support between Hillary and Obama? Anyway, you can stick with the Obama McCain question."

"Here is an article to back up my take that the media support for Obama was substantial compared to support for McCain.
Study: Media coverage has favored Obama campaign

"Granted the Obama media blitz could hurt him and create an upset, being beaten by a good like McCain (sic) in a year when the Democrats are supposed to win. But let's hope not."



It's finally here! The day we have been looking forward to!
CNC 3's programming is going national on Saturday November 1st.
Well we were wondering if the day would ever come, since Rosemarie Sant and her news team were given a cable license three years ago when the station first came on stream, and later a national broadcast license.
The competition for ratings will begin in earnest, especially if they can produce a national newscast to challenge the viewership of TV6 and C News, which are already national.
There will probably be some revamping of the CNC newscast, so we'll see.
And don't forget to let us know what you think of the new(?) product.

And by the way, when will we see a new media survey?


This reader wants the media to answer a question that we have been asking for a very long time.

"Who is really informing the media when it comes to crime information? It is amazing how stories are frequently incorrect, inconsistent and often grow extra arms and legs. One particular incident, to which I was almost a witness (I passed by seconds before and seconds after) occurred last Sunday afternoon. It was the 'accidental' murder of 14 year old Kimberley Monderoy from Four Roads, Diego Martin. Not only did her age change from 15, to 14, to 13, but the circumstances surrounding the event as reported in all the press is inaccurate.

"Today's (29 October) Newsday editorial is particularly erroneous, as the only fact they got right was that the fatal bullet was not meant for her. Every other detail about the incident was untrue. For the 99% of the population who are looking for accurate details of an event, all the major dailies failed miserably in the reporting of this particular incident. Unfortunately, I was close enough to know that. But what about everyone else?

"I sincerely hope (though I doubt) the new MATT executive will conscientiously address reporting standards in the media. It's no longer good enough to give the excuse that the reporters are green, or the management prevents accurate reporting.
It's time for media houses to take ownership of their product instead of constantly defending themselves, with the attitude that whenever criticised, somehow it's because freedom of the press is under threat. Get off it!

"I also doubt there will be any debate within MATT about the Broadcast Policy, even though it is a step in the right direction. But like every other institution and industry in Trinidad and Tobago, the media could do what they want too."


Well we certainly hope the new MATT executive looks at this issue. But like a certain state institution, they seem to be a toothless bulldog, not able to make any inroads in the media industry.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


There's an interesting story on the BBC website re: the Nigerian government's pending budget cuts due to the falling oil price. Their national budget is pegged at a minimum of $62USD, however Trinidad and Tobago's is pegged at $70USD.
Do we see any similarities to Trinidad and Tobago's situation?
On two occasions, we see government ministers affirming that the government sees no need to adjust its budget: Browne: No need for T&T government to adjust Budget, written by Juhel Browne for Latin Petroleum on October 13th; and again Mr Browne's story for the Trinidad Express on Friday October 17th, titled Govt stays course as oil dips below US$70.
Nigeria is one of the world's biggest oil exporters and they are taking heed to the situation, so why are Trini politicians showing so much confidence?
Who is going to help them see the light?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Well it's a tough one trying to listen to the commentary on I95 during the World Cup qualifier between Trinidad & Tobago and the USA.
It's very difficult to understand anything Errol Andre Baptiste is saying when he gets to an exciting point of the game, e.g. when Dwight Yorke struck the ball over the USA goal post around 8:30, and when Chris Birchall flew past a couple of American defenders with the ball a few minutes later.
Hmmmmmmmm. The other two guys on the air with Errol have to pipe in with their interpretation of what they think he is trying to say.
Where is Channel 4 when you need it?


Curtis Rampersad of the Express has an interesting front page story in the Wednesday edition titled "FREE CARS, Vehicle firms offer Govt summit VIP deal".
Basically, according to Phillip Knaggs of the Automobile Dealers Association, the government should allow the dealers to bring in the 200 luxury vehicles minus all duties and taxes, have free use of the vehicles during the two international summits next year, and the vehicles would be handed back to the dealers once the conferences are concluded.
The most interesting part of the entire story is in paragraphs 10 & 11: "This seemed like one of the best approaches, (Mr Knaggs) said, adding that this option would save taxpayers' dollars and would cost the State nothing.
"He suggested that it would also reduce overall State expenditure to host the conferences."

How kind of Mr Knaggs and his cohorts to consider trying to save the taxpayers of the country when in fact taxpayers have nothing to gain and he and his buddies have everything to gain. Not only are they suggesting that they bring in the vehicles for free, but that they should also be allowed to turn around and sell the vehicles for a profit. So where's the benefit there for the large majority of the nation's taxpayers?

Curtis wrote: "Generally, these vehicles retail for about $700,000 to $750,000 but without the taxes and duties, this could come down by more than 40 per cent (or $300,000), it was learned.
"Sources said yesterday lease and sale proposals for 200 vehicles could still total between $50 million and $100 million."
Meaning bigger bucks for the dealers. Curtis that story deserves a great big Steups!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Hmmmm. Here's one for Odeka O'Neil-Seaton of CNC3.

"Odeka O'Neil needs to brush up on her familiarity (I won't go so far as saying knowledge) with macro economic/financial issues. She doesn't have to transform into a business reporter but she needs to be briefed and she needs to read and understand a bit more about the sector.
"During her live interview on the Wednesday night broadcast with Minister Mariano Browne, her opening question (if you could call it that) was a complete disaster. I wasn't even sure what she was asking, far less the Minister, who promptly rattled off what sounded just as confusing.
"There were a few simple questions that Odeka could have jumped in and asked while he rambled but unfortunately no-one who watched that gem of an interview came away learning anything new.

Well this is not the first time Mrs. O'Neil-Seaton has interviewed Minister Browne, and with similar effect (see the fourth paragraph of T&T too rich 2).
Time to pull up your financial & interviewing socks, Odeka.

Friday, October 10, 2008


We are taking a rap on the knuckles for our post on Clydeen McDonald's piece, and this is from Burton Dookhi.

""...then Clydeen you need a sharp wrap on the knuckles and a really thick dictionary."
"That was the wrong 'wrap'. It was supposed to be 'rap', as in a quick, light blow or a reprimand. At least I hope that is what you meant, and not that poor Clydeen should be wrapped 'sharply' in something.
"Maybe, not only Clydeen, but we all need dictionaries!

"P.S. It makes it easier for people to take your corrections about word use especially if you are not as bad as they are."

Thanks for the admonition Burton. We can admit when we are wrong, which is better than most of the reporters/editors out there.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


An enterprising reader has brought this story to our attention: a piece done by Clydeen McDonald of the Guardian following the FCB Sports Hall of Fame Induction ceremony in July.
The story is titled "Ato Boldon: Good things to come", and unfortunately Miss McDonald is guilty of several (the reader counts more than 10) grammatical and spelling errors.
We would like to believe that Clydeen sent the rough draft to her editor, who then promptly either ignored the errors or mistakenly sent the story onward for its starring role in perpetuity.
If this is not the case, then Clydeen you need a sharp rap on the knuckles and a really thick dictionary.

Monday, October 6, 2008


TV6 is at it again: giving us reporting with incorrect spelling.
"Nutramix" is dropping the price of its flour (see the third paragraph of "Hype dies down"), Coosal's "untimatum" to its drivers, and the story on the EMA and the "Alutrin" smelter (see this story in the Jamaica Gleaner).

On the bright side though, Samantha John is looking really polished these days, as is Charlene Ramdhanie of C News. Nothing distracting about their presentation or wardrobe. Keep it up ladies.


The Minister of Health rolled out his government's revamped National Health Service today, and of course members of the media were invited.
Perhaps the minister saw this as an opportunity to get some good PR for his ministry, what with the recent blows he's received from Sasha Mohammed at TV6, as well as others on the dengue scare, and his own personal episode over Trinre.
Well Mr Minister, your gamble paid off. Some members of the media willingly put pen to paper or fingers to keypads to report, and it seems without question, on this new and improved addition to the health service.
But is it really improved?

"The NHS will include the development of the primary, secondary and tertiary care facilities nationwide, to increase the range, quantity and quality of services offered. All citizens and residents of Trinidad and Tobago will be eligible to register for NHS benefits via an electronic health card, he said." That quote is from Kimberly Castillo's story in the Tuesday Express.

But is the government's brainchild anything like the British NHS, whose core principles include providing a universal service for all based on clinical need, not ability to pay; shaping the needs and preferences of individual patients, their families and their carers; working continuously to improve the quality of services and to minimize errors; supporting and valuing its staff; and working with others to ensure a seamless service for patients?

If not, then Tantie Jean sitting at home reading her newspaper or watching/listening to the news might be tempted to ask herself, "Well how is that NHS different to what is on offer in the health service now? I am already paying health surcharge and NIS and still getting crappy service at the public hospitals and I have to dig deep into my pocket to go to a private doctor or hospital for the same service I am supposed to be getting for free! So what benefit is there in the NHS for me? Steups!".
Well Kimberly and Karen Cozier-Phillip of TV6 and Joanne Briggs of C News and the countless other reporters who attended that launch or just wrote the story, these are some of the issues you failed to address in your reports.

Miss Mohammed of TV6, this NHS deserves a starring role in your weekly opinion piece "Things that make you go 'Huh?'".
Please don't forget though to include the fact that your media colleagues quoted the minister ad nauseum on the plans for the service without really fleshing out how it differs from what currently exists and how it will benefit citizens.


The current financial crisis may have lots of investors sitting at the edge of their seats wondering when the next shoe will drop, but the BBC's Lisa Jardine has a very interesting point of view on the matter, titled "Of bulbs and bubbles".
The piece is well written and researched, something often lacking in general news writing and business features.

"What we can be sure is that the growth of sophisticated financial systems will continue to play an important role in fashioning the changes in all of our lives, including funding (often speculatively) the technologies that have transformed our world already from an agricultural to an industrial economy, and are now perhaps shaping the first post-industrial information economy."

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Once again, there are conflicting accounts of a major story. This time it surrounds the deaths of Vijay Persad's relatives at their Moruga home early Saturday morning.
The Guardian's Radhica Sookraj tells us in the first paragraph that "...mother, father and their two young children were burnt beyond recognition...". But further down in the story we read, "Officers said, based on the location of the bodies, it appeared that Persad slept with his son Sanjay, while Ariana slept with her mother Marilyn."
If they were burnt beyond recognition, how were the police officers able to speculate on who slept where?
She also tells us "...the fire started around 2 am on the northern side of the house.".

While Laurel V. Williams of the Newsday tells us "...residents said they were awakened at about 1.15 am on Saturday morning by the loud crackling sound of fire.".
We are also told that "At about 7 am yesterday police officers removed the remains – two from the front bedroom and one each from the two remaining bedrooms.".
And finally this from Miss Williams: "Efforts to contact Malini (daughter of the deceased man and his wife) proved futile...".
Well Laurel, you should have stuck with Express photographer Trevor Watson, who has a photo of a grieving Malini standing next to the burnt house.

While Carolyn Kissoon of the Express tells us "...the fire broke out around 1.30 a.m..", and " officers found the charred remains of four bodies-two were huddled together inside one of the bedrooms, one was in another room and the fourth was crouched in the corner of another bedroom."


Wayne Brown of the Express has an expertly written piece on the US presidential election in the Sunday edition. It is well researched, balanced, no flowery language.
Younger writers take a look. This is the craft at its best.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Some really interesting allegations/accusations as opposed to solutions coming out of this budget debate.

See 'Budget debate turns into duel', the Guardian's Wednesday front page, Dr. Tim Gopeesingh wants the Queen to help save his UWI job (Kyle Jeremiah of the Guardian, please take a look at Express reporter Ria Taitt's version of the story, it is more complete.), and Jerry Narace and Trinre.

One of the more interesting opinion pieces coming out of the budget presentation is from the Guardian's Clevon Raphael, who wants the Prime Minister to explain his entertainment budget for the next year.