Sunday, September 6, 2009


The Newsday and the Express have as their lead story on Sunday September 6th that the Uff Commission of Inquiry into Udecott being postponed until further notice.
Alas the Guardian's lead story on Sunday is that big spenders should be targetted in the national budget to be presented on Monday.


It's been a while, but it's nice to be able to give kudos where they are due.

"The Media Association offers its heartiest congratulations to Keith Smith on the occasion of his being honoured with a national award. Keith Smith has become a national institution who is treasured for his wit and his down-to earth wisdom. Over the years, he has conducted in his newspaper column a seemingly offhand but shrewd and searching examination of the different threads that make up the fabric of everyday life in Trinidad and Tobago.

"It is to be noted, however, that Smith has always been scornful of the pretensions of novice journalists who hankered to offer their opinions on events in the news. He has always insisted that that was a privilege that had to be earned, and the price to be paid was years of soldiering in the trenches of reporting.

"This is the second time in two years that a veteran journalist has been recognised in this way, and Matt hopes that this is a sign that the contribution of professional journalists in leading and shaping public opinion is being increasingly understood and appreciated."

And here's a look at the story in the Express of September 1st.

Well a few months back it seemed as if the prime minister was the one shaping public opinion and that MATT was on the defensive, but that's another discussion.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


The Guardian's Dixie Ann Dickson recently wrote a story about a Trinidadian taking a trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
The most interesting things about the story are the comments from four readers posted at the bottom of the page. We didn't say it. Take a look.

Dixie Ann et al, take note.


Here's a comment on the reappearance of Colleen Holder (formerly of TV6) on C News, from MT.

"Where has this girl been hiding? After a long absence, Colleen Holder suddenly shows up on C for the summit and now is on the early morning news on C. You were missed. But what's up with the specs? Don't recall seeing those when she was at TV Six."

We really didn't think it was retirement anyway. No one retires that early in their career.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Joel Julien of the Express, maybe you and your sub editor(s) can help us finish this sentence from your story titled "Inside job suspected as guard robbed of $15,000": "This robbery comes on the heels of other robberies in recent months where persons who just left the commercial bank with large amounts of money."
Yes? And?


Here's an interesting article in the Express of May 6th titled "Lewdness, vulgarity on radio".
Former House Speaker turned radio talk show host Nizam Mohammed is berating his fellow talkers by saying ""Society is getting addicted to bacchanal and radio presenters must make an effort to avoid spreading careless remarks and indulge in idle conversations,"".
The story adds that "He noted that too many talk show hosts were uninformed and callers take their cue from presenters to malign and slander."

You know yourselves. Take note.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


It's interesting that we have to ad-dress this issue again with the same presenter, but here goes.

On the morning of Friday May 1st around 10 o'clock, we noticed on CNMG that there was a recorded programme. It looked like a press conference in some foreign location, based on the nature of the questions asked and the responses.
One of the persons asking questions was Nicola Barriteau of C News. Nicola you will have to forgive us because we did not hear a thing you said as we were too distracted by your outfit. You remember don't you? A purple sleeveless top and orange jewellery. The top was cut so low in front that we are sure the people at the head table also had no clue what you were asking.

Now you could easily say that you went to a party and a press conference was arranged in the midst of it and you couldn't pass up an opportunity to ask questions. Maybe so, but when you are inappropriately dressed for an assignment, the best thing to do is give someone your list of questions and ask them to ask the questions for you. Your cameraman would have still got the responses, without subjecting the viewing audience to your ample, almost bare chest.

But if you say you went to the assignment knowing full well that you were going to be identifying yourself as working for CNMG, then we have to take issue with that. There is a correct way to dress for assignments, and you were dressed incorrectly. Period. Yes it may have been an entertainment piece, but you have to remember that you have an audience. Old people. Little children. Middle aged men and women. Not everyone would take kindly to seeing you so exposed.

Another thing, we understand that the assignment may have been a one-camera shoot, so your cameraman had to pan the camera back and forth between you and the head table. We have no problem with that at the recording stage, but we find it difficult to believe that you arrived at the station with that tape just minutes before it went to air, so there was no way an editor could have put some cutaways over those bits. You probably had many dizzy viewers after about five minutes.
Why didn't you get an editor to cover those panned parts?

And later at 10.30, we saw you most appropriately dressed for the live hosting of the opening of the interchange. What a difference. You probably knew about that assignment weeks in advance?

And by the way Roger Dwarika of C News, the interchange is not in Port of Spain.
And did you stick your hand in a socket before you went to that assignment? Your hair stood on sculpted end for the entire thing. Remind yourself everyday before you apply a ton of hair gel and before you leave home that you do not work for MTV or Synergy.


The Express newspaper has been ordered to pay damages to Dr Krishna Persad in a successful defamation action he filed against the newspaper.
As part of her judgement, Justice Carol Gobin ruled that:

"“With the recognition of the importance of the court reporters in our system comes a corresponding obligation of responsible journalism which in the sphere of court reporting means a duty to get it right,” Gobin ruled.

"“This was not a case where it is suggested that there was a mistake on the part of the reporter about the outcome of the matter which was the result of his own misunderstanding of legal technicalities. It was a case where the reporter chose to rely on a confidential source who plainly got it wrong.”

"“Once it became clear that he had been misinformed, I consider that there was an obligation not only to the claimant but to the public as well to correct the report. “I have also taken into account the defendant’s conduct in their flagrant disregard for the procedures and findings of the Media Complaints Authority,” the judge said."


The Media Association has issued this press release in regard to World Press Freedom Day.

"May 1st, 2009

"As we celebrate World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, the Media Association points out that under the threat of job losses in the economic downturn, it is not only media workers who stand to lose. Many media houses in developed countries have already cut staff or closed down as a result of the worldwide recession. The same has happened in this country, where a much smaller market supports a large number of print and electronic media houses.

"But in that event, the loss would be felt not only by their staff, but also by the public, as closures would also reduce the number and diversity of opinions and issues covered by the local media. Those media owned by major conglomerates are the most likely to survive, but this may lead to the over-representation of corporate or political interests, an outcome which is not for the best in a developing democracy.

"Cost-cutting efforts may also lead to misguided decisions when reducing staff numbers. In today’s world, where a barrage of information is readily available from numerous sources, experienced journalists are needed more than ever to sift through the raw data and make sense of it for their viewers, listeners and readers.

"The local media must also adapt to today’s rapidly evolving technology and the changing needs and expectations of their consumers if they are to remain relevant and viable. This is not a matter for media workers alone, but also for managers and owners, who need to be aware of these changes and to provide the financial and managerial support they require.

"Another challenge faced by media workers is that of dealing with politicians, the police and sometimes members of the public who may not understand the role of the media. In the past year there have been direct and indirect threats to the media from politicians who ought to know better.

"But the freedom of the press is not only commemorated on a special day but enshrined in the Constitution, whose framers recognised the importance of a free press in discovering the facts and reporting even inconvenient truths."

Friday, May 1, 2009


Here's another comment on what seems like sour grapes from TV6, this time from Trini Media.

"When you cannot reach the grapes, then the next thing to do is describe the grapes as sour. It appears that this is included somewhere in TV6's core values. Firstly, they announce to their viewers that they couldn't get the grapes, by stating in a news item after the prime minister's visit to The Big Story on CNC3, that the company tried several times to get the prime minister and failed. Now, another news story, "the grapes are sour".

"Indeed those who managed to get the grapes and eat them, must be sour too. So CNC3, as TV6 would have us believe, is also sour -- a lackey of the Government. There are so many things wrong with this picture, that I don't know where to begin other than to simply ask, has CNN ever run a news story calling the BBC sour and a lackey of the Government for getting an exclusive with President Obama? Has NBC ever found CNN or President Obama sour for the same reasons?

"Last time I checked, the prime minister, like any other leader in the world, has the right and privilege to choose which station he wants to give an exclusive to. President Obama has the same right -- didn't he choose to have a media conference at the Hilton for ONLY the media travelling with him? I didn't hear TV6 criticising President Obama for favouring anyone or calling any of the media houses at the media conference lackeys of the US Government.

"I think that somewhere between the ambitions of Fabian Pierre and the shame of Dominic Kalipersad, TV6 felt the only way to deal with the facts -- that CNC3 pulled off something TV6 didn't or couldn't -- was to play the role of victim. Well here's a lesson in real journalism: the only way you win viewers and earn respect is by your news product. You think CNC3 beat you, get up and do something better. Get a bigger scoop and stop wasting time, space and energy crying victimisation.

"Saying the prime minister is practising favouritism, does not make it so. Saying CNC3 is a lackey of the Government, does not make it so. Saying the grapes are sour, does not make them so. You want credibility, then stop crying and do something better. Since when journalism was defined as criticising another station that scooped you? Is that in the public interest? In fact, has it not occurred to anyone making these stupid decisions, that your loyal viewers don't even have time to watch CNC3 because they are glued to TV6, and by announcing all of this to them, you actually create such interest that they, "Just Switch"? Where's the simple logic?

"Finally, who can forget that TV6 lost their best personnel in the Natalie Williams era? Where are Rosemarie and Roger Sant, Shelly Dass, Sampson Nanton and Eric Mackie? Does it occur to anyone that they are among the last of all the TV6 walkouts that are still today actively involved in television news (Charlene Ramdhanie of C News is the only other)? Where are they? CNC3! TV6 on the other hand, has a newsroom full of neophytes, with not one of them, apart from Sharon Hamilton-Cudjoe, having more than three or four years' experience in television journalism.

"So don't cry if the prime minister and anyone else chooses experience over immaturity. TV6 may be around longer than the others, but when you compare TV6's newsroom to CNC3's, TV6 has a lot of catching-up to do."

Thursday, April 30, 2009


We don't usually comment on the nature of stories outside of the journalistic side, but this one caught our eyes and we just had to comment.

The Newsday of Thursday April 30th has a photo of two members of the Under 17 national football team hoofing it to the Priority Bus Route after they were released from quarantine at Jack Warner's hotel in Macoya.

So, on top of losing their three matches in Mexico and failing to qualify for the World Championships in Nigeria, as well as fearing they might contract swine flu in Mexico and being quarantined on their return to Trinidad, those boys had to put their bags on their heads and find public transport (according to the write up by Roger Jacob) to get home after representing their country on the international stage? Steups!
Mr Warner, that not good enough!

In the Newsday story written by Carol Matroo, we are told "CONCACAF president Jack Warner yesterday said the youngsters and the technical team were being well taken care of." Well medically yes, but nothing else apparently. So none of the technical staff found it fit to arrange transport for these guys to get home? Steups!

Mr Warner, hopefully your communications people will advise you that actions speak louder than words.


Here's a response to dh/Trini.

"Trini this is one time I could not agree with you, Dominic Kalipersad did the right thing by instructing Fabian to do that story (which it appears Dominic wrote himself).

"It is clear that the PNM has its claws deep into the CNC newsroom, maybe a strategy for countering TV6's Sasha Mohammed's UNC exclusives. But this is no reason for a Government to send out exclusive releases, or to pick and choose. The Government is not a privately owned company; what the opposition can get away with they can't---even though they are both public property. Kudos to TV6 for exposing that ridiculous action by the Government and Dominic do stay on top of their case.

"And there is nothing wrong with a media house complaining about rejected or turned down requests by the Prime Minister for an interview. After all didn't the PM say he does not give exclusives? So did he catch the Obama syndrome too? In that case, that's a good thing and we hope his next exclusive on another issue will be with another media house. That's the intelligent way in which US President Barack Obama does it. If all the exclusives are done on one medium then this will become suspect.

"So Rosemarie did you make a pact with the PNM for exclusives? Can you tell us what it is?

"Some things in life become very obvious...

"Your Observant


Here's a comment on what we originally said was sour grapes by TV6, but has been expanded by dh to include other media houses.

"Isn't TV6's obsession with CNC3's "exclusives" with the prime minister a bit petty? Fabian Pierre and Dominic Kalipersad dedicated an entire story to CNC's exclusives with Manning, whining that Manning never responded to their letters, and then crying that they weren't invited to the prime minister's breakfast meeting. Hilarious. TV6, did it ever occur to you to pick up the phone and call the day before the breakfast meeting to find out what was taking place, and if you could get access to the event? You all must have known it was going to take place? Lazy really.

"In any event, you don't hear CNC3 complaining about all Sasha Mohammed's "exclusive interviews" with the UNC or Tim Gopeesingh, do you? More than that though, no one has any right, in any station to pick sides, or point fingers, and pretend to be self-righteous or "independent". CNC3's Francesca Hawkins, didn't she work "closely" as well with the UNC and the minister of Energy with the UNC? And isn't TV6's former head of news Maxie Cuffie now working for the PNM Gov't? Aren't Rose and Roger good friends with Jack Warner? And wasn't Shelly friends with Howard Chin Lee? And didn't Shelly, Roger and his boss/wife Mrs Rosemarie Sant all come from TV6 in the first place?
No one can point fingers. It's all incestuous or in-breeding.

"By the way, seeing more of Gizelle "Y2K" Legall on CNC3. Is she gradually being phased on? Replacement for Francesca? Francesca has been a reader since God was a baby. Gizelle's advantage is that she seems to be some kind of reporter, doing stories for news. Francesca, hope they give you a good retirement package after all those years reading. How come you never went deeper, or became a credible reporter? Gizelle, do something about that hair. This is not Y2K, or BET, or MTV. Keep trying though. One day you'll get there. Gerard Lampow (of TV6), you are hilarious. Aren't you the play whe fella? Or Lotto? This "amazing mumford" look has got to go! A for effort though.

"Trini..watching it all on the web!
"*PS, CNC3 your website, or lack thereof, SUCKS. CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP."


Here's a question for Juhel Browne of the Express: what part of Tobago is that place you call Landate?
In your story published in the Express of April 30th, titled "Max knocks UNC", you seem to suggest in paragraph 11 that Landate is an actual place on the map.
"Rowley himself won a legal suit against the Integrity Commission for its investigation into allegations that he had been involved in the removal of materials from the Scarborough Hospital project to a private housing development in Landate, Tobago, owned by his wife, Sharon."

Hmmmm. So we did a little research to see whether any other local journalist thought Landate was an actual place, and can you believe we found the exact paragraph in a story you did back in January titled "Rowley knocks 'donkey logic' boasts".
In paragraph 10 you wrote: "Rowley himself won a legal suit against the Integrity Commission, for its investigation into allegations that he had been involved in the removal of materials from the Scarborough Hospital project to a private housing development in Landate, Tobago, owned by his wife, Sharon."

Sound familiar? Copy and paste is ok Juhel, if the information is correct. What happened to your sub editors, then and now?

BTW, the Landate development is situated in Mason Hall.


During the 4pm news on I95 FM on Wednesday April 29th, Marlan Hopkinson introduced a story from the BBC on the preparation for the third stage of the five-phase voting process in India.
He introduced the reporter as what sounded like "Karisha Vidarie", but when the report began, we immediately recognized that the reporter was in fact Karishma Vaswani, and that her report was specifically tailored to a television audience.

16 seconds into the report, she says "As you can see, people here live on top of one another...". Well we were listening to the radio, so we couldn't see. Just that one phrase did it for us.

Marlan we can't blame you since you were probably just reading the script that was presented to you (and we hope you will correct us if you did in fact pull that clip), so we will have to throw the blame on whoever recorded that clip, whether off the BBC's website or off the television. You could have edited out that part about seeing the people.
All your listeners probably let out a collective Steups!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Here's a comment from Inshan Ishmael of IBN TV on the Privy Council ruling on the Trinity Cross. Read the story in the Newsday, Express, and the Guardian.

"I just hope that the Media takes note that this was one of the very first times that a Muslim and Hindu group came together to fight an issue on this level.

"Also on another note, I am no longer affiliated with the Islamic Relief Centre, I started the organisation and left because of my position in IBN Channel 8..I just pray that the local print media especially will recognise the Muslim's involvement in this great achievement and we are not relegated to one or two words as per the norm, except where terrorism is concerned."

"Inshan Ishmael"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Here's a comment on Miss Dass' interview with the PM, from John M.

"1) It appears that Shelly Dass was caught a bit off guard - and not in a position to handle the PM in a face to face - who could blame her - a quick check reveals that this interview was the first since his resumption of PM duties in 2001; Also, quite coincidentally a few of the only negative calls were accidentally cut off - I smell a 'soft ball rat'...

"2) It appears that the PM got 'Obamaized' - possibly he figured if the leader of 300 million folks (a good portion of whom despise him) and a world powerhouse could subject himself to all daily interviews - who is he?

"3) A sharp eye did not Miss the PM and the Managing Director of the Guardian 22-04-09 taking a picture "GREETINGS" PG. A4 - ......Hmmmmmm......smell a soft ball for the Exclusive."


First off we have to say kudos to Shelly Dass for getting that exclusive interview with the Prime Minister on The Big Story - his first one on one interview in several years (well if you count that staged interview with Anthony Wilson, Ria Taitt and Rosemarie Sant ahead of the last general election.)
Lots of back door plotting must have gone into this latest encounter.

At some points Shelly seemed uncomfortable, as if she was in awe of the PM and still couldn't believe he was sitting on her set. She played with her wedding ring quite a lot and slouched down over the desk. Mr Manning seemed to tower over her throughout the interview. At one point she asked him with a half smile "Mr Prime Minister, why are you doing this?", in response to a very aggressive caller. She also didn't sound sure about the website address for the Fifth Summit of the Americas; and she kept saying "I have to ask you this question...". Why tell him that? Because he clearly saw all the prepared questions ahead of the interview? Where was the element of surprise?

Well we knew Mr Manning was really running that interview when, in response to a question from Shelly about Mr Big, he said "There is a difference between information and evidence. (Pause) I say no more." and Shelly happily moved on to the next caller.

Well after the Big Story ended, Giselle Legall of Y2G fame read the 10pm news. She looked like a deer caught in headlights. We will say no more.

Overall we felt Mr Manning answered the questions that he was asked, but the interview was not hard-hitting enough.

Well at least one media house suffered a case of envy. During the TV6 news on Wednesday evening...while they did use soundbites from the PM on the CNC 3 set and they did put up the Courtesy graphic, they also put up a graphic telling viewers that they had been asking the PM for an interview since March. While they were probably trying to show that the PM was playing favourites, they only succeeded in announcing to the whole world that the PM outright blank them. Steups!
Whose decision was it to put up that graphic?


Here's Denzil again.

"Oh might I add, C's summit wrap could not touch TV6's summit wrap though. TV6's product was far superior to that of C boasting an excellently done set and an excellent format. C's was just plain bogus and boring."


Monday, April 20, 2009


WIN TV's Gideon Hanoomansingh's story on cocoa has made it to the CNN World Report, and the story is also running on their website.
Good on you Gideon. Not bad for a station that is almost defunct.

Your story seemed a little short though, and there were too many soundbites. It seemed as if you were trying to get in every point of view, and especially the technocrats. You said there are approximately 2000 cocoa farms in Trinidad, most of them small holdings, yet we found it strange that you did not interview at least one farmer to get his perspective of how the local cocoa industry is being affected by the world economic crisis.

Contrast Gideon's story to the one done by James Heer in Sao Tome. He told the story from the perspective of one farmer whose livelihood depends on cocoa, then he linked it to the economy of the country. Fantastic video work.


Here's an updated response from Denzil.

"Ok. Well that last post I had was a bit premature in the summit coverage. While most of it remains true, I have reassigned the positions on best summit coverage. C keeps their position in first place for THE BEST coverage of the summit. TV6 now stands at second place and CNC3 at third place. Why you may ask? The reason being that C News and the TV6 news both aired specials last night to wrap up their coverage of the VSOAs. C's summit wrap was anchored by Josanne Leonard (formerly of Gayelle, TV6 and CNC3) and TV6's summit wrap, by Leeron Brummel and Andy Johnson.

"Mr. Brummel did an excellent job anchoring the news section of their post summit analysis summarizing the events of the past three days. This young man has potential of becoming another anchorman like his colleague Fabian Pierre. CNC3, where was your post (summit) analysis??? Tonight on the Big Story?????

"Oh by the way, TV6 has relaunched their website, It's actually competition for C's website. TV6 can now be viewed online live and the day's big stories are posted so viewers can click on them to watch at any time of the day. So you guys can check it out if you wish."


Finally TV6 has a website that actually works. Of course this is the beta version, so they are still probably trying to work out the kinks.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Here's another comment on the coverage of the Summit of the Americas. Denzil you beat us to the observations about the new (old?) faces at C.

"Recent resignations at C: Desha Rambhajan, Naette Lee and Sherwin Long.
Recent hirings at C: Colleen Holder, Kaymar Jordan, Hema Ramkissoon???????

"I'm totally confused now. It is nice to see Colleen Holder gracing our screens once again, too bad she's not on TV6. It was also a pleasure to see Hema Ramkissoon on set at C as well. But are these ladies now employed at C?

"On to the coverage of the summit now, I must commend all three stations TV6, C and CNC3 on their extensive coverage. In my opinion however and it really does pain me to say this, I personally find C had the best coverage and TV6 and CNC3 may tie for second best. The only advantage that CNC3 had over TV6 is that they brought live pictures of reporter Sampson Nanton at the Hyatt Regency hotel. TV6 had the upper hand however in bringing live telephone interviews with selected persons such as Erica Williams Connell. Otherwise they had the same standard of coverage.

"Andy Johnson, Roger Sant, Kaymar Jordan and Colleen Holder must also be commended on their anchoring of the summit from their respective studios. Colleen, if you're reading this, I must say, I missed you and it would be great to see you back on television again, please don't let the summit be the only time."


Saturday, April 18, 2009


Here's the first comment on the summit coverage, from John M.

"Summit Coverage

"1) Can't our reporters read and do their research so that they can identify the leaders as they come in. You don't just stroll in and hope to make someone out.
2) CNC 3 Show us the same photo opportunity first at minutes to 12 and then 1:22 p.m. and tell us that is is live."

Monday, April 13, 2009


James Saunders of TV6, now we understand why we can't understand a word you say.
We saw you putting down a rap song at Mobs 2 at the youth gospel concert on Monday. Couldn't understand a word you said. That's the nature of rap music we surmise.
But then we heard you narrating a piece on the American stunt riders. Still couldn't understand a word you said. Is that the nature of reporting? Hmmm. How do we say this? YOU NEED TO SLOW DOWN.
Comprende? Verstehen sie? Comprenez-vous? Capisce?

Monday, April 6, 2009


The Boston Globe newspaper may be next on the chopping block.
"Leading US newspaper the Boston Globe faces closure in 30 days unless unions associated with it agree to cuts and savings worth $20m US dollars (£13m) demanded by owner the New York Times Company,...".

Here's the story on, The New York Times, and the UK Guardian.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Our apologies to Mr Fabien at Gayelle, we did not see your notice about the closure of your newsroom until it was brought to our attention by a reader.
Scroll down on the following page and take a look.
But we still think you were poorly dressed for your head honchos meeting.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


When we recently wrote about the closure of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado due to economic pressure, we really did not think we would have to address the issue of the closure of any media entity in Trinidad & Tobago so soon afterward.
Well it seems Gayelle's newsroom is the first to fall victim to the vagaries of the world economic system. They have now entered a "strategic alliance" with CNC 3, so while they have shut down their newsroom and sent home 16 persons, they will now be showing the CNC 3 newscast during the 7pm time slot.

On Wednesday evening, Samuel McKnight reported on the meeting that changed the fortunes of the company...we saw shots of CNC 3's well-dressed managers including Rosemarie Sant, Brandon Khan, Grenfell Kissoon and Cintra Achong meeting with Gayelle's man in charge Errol Fabien, who was wearing (what we Trinis would say) a 'ramphle up' baggy green t-shirt and washed out blue jeans. Steups! Come on Errol! These people come to pull you out of a hole and that's how you meet them? We know media people like to keep things casual, but you went a bit too far. If we had shown up for that meeting with you looking like that we would have told you to reschedule for when you could borrow a nice shirt and pants. Steups!

And with all that meeting and 'ole talking, no one saw it fit to add a few lines on your website informing your loyal viewers or curious visitors about the closure of the newsroom, or to remove the news page from your website touting "Live updates every hour Tonight at 7:00" with a photo of the former news team headed by Paolo Kernahan; that photo will now probably be replaced with a composite photo of the CNC 3 news team.

In the end it's sad that a community station which is (we hear) doing the great work that Gayelle is doing had to lose a significant number of staff members in such turbulent times. Will they really be absorbed into the newsroom of CNC 3? Have the skills of the junior reporters/cameramen/newsroom staff been elevated to such a stage that they will be able to easily find gainful employment not only at CNC 3, but at any media house in the country?
Where was the business community and the community at large when the news first broke that this was going to happen?

Only time will tell, but feel free to share your comments on the closure of the Gayelle newsroom: write to us at


With all the dry runs taking place in Trinidad ahead of the Summit of the Americas, we thought it would be nice to give a dry rundown of the television coverage that would make the local tv stations look as good as their foreign counterparts when the Summit begins.
When US President Barack Obama arrived in London for the G20 Summit, here's how the BBC reported it:

1. Opening billboard then straight to field anchor live near Downing Street, positioned where we could see Obama's motorcade over his shoulder; he gave the headlines then an introduction on the fact that Obama was in London and was about to come rolling down the street;

2. Field anchor continues talking over live shot of Obama & his wife Michelle greeting UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah outside Downing Street office;

3. Field anchor introduces packaged story on Obama's arrival in London aboard Air Force One the previous evening and an outline of the issues to be addressed in the summit;

4. Field anchor introduces packaged story on massive security detail required, including shots inside Scotland Yard's surveillance centre and an interview with the officer in charge of security for the Summit;

5. Field anchor introduces packaged interview with the European Union President on what European leaders hope to achieve;

6. Field anchor interviews a political analyst who is there with him;

7. Field anchor tosses to studio (split screen) where business reporter on set outlines the concerns of the Japanese President;

8. Business reporter tosses back to field anchor who tosses to studio anchor who gives the main headlines and one packaged story;

9. Split screen with studio anchor and field anchor; field anchor introduces his packaged one on one interview with the World Bank President;

10. Field anchor tells viewers they will get live coverage of an Obama/Brown press conference in two and a half hours and they should go to the BBC's website for full details on the summit, as well as a profile of all the countries attending;

11. Field anchor tosses to studio anchor who introduces two packaged stories;

12. Studio anchor tosses back to field anchor who tosses to field reporter who is standing outside Gordon Brown's office for a colour piece on the meeting between the Browns and the Obamas;

13. Split screen on both field anchor and reporter, then full shot of field anchor who again tells people to go to the website for full details, and he tosses to the weather presenter.

This was almost flawlessly done in 25 minutes. The only hiccups were that the first packaged story on security measures had to be interrupted when they went to the live shots of Obama arriving at Downing Street, and when they initially cued the reporter outside the Downing Street office, she was not ready, so they went back to her eventually.

And not once during that entire show did we hear the same reporter more than once.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The Guardian's cartoon about the UNC-A fracas says it all.


Well Ramjack promised fireworks but delivered a volcano! And it seems all solely for the enjoyment of TV6's Fabian Pierre.
During the fracas at Rienzi Complex on Sunday between opposing UNC-A party supporters, Mr Pierre was shot (by his own cameraman) grinning from ear to ear as the pushing and shoving was in full swing.
Tsk tsk. So suppose someone had been seriously hurt (and a little girl was slightly injured)? And why did you decide to use the shot?
Hmmmm. Good way to show impartiality Mr Pierre.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Here is Express reporter Darryl Heeralal's first hand account of the raid on his home by police officers, from the Monday 16th edition.


So the Telecommunications Authority is cracking the whip on errant media houses and threatening to suspend their licenses for a period of time or indefinitely based on that "rumour" about the children in the container?
We'll keep you posted on where this goes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Here's some expert opinion on the future of news delivery in Latin America, our very dear neighbour.


The Media Association is hosting a broadcasting workshop this weekend.

"Dear colleague,

"The Media Association is set to host the second instalment of its workshop series.
The two-part session will be led by seasoned broadcasters Edison Carr and Dale Enoch and will cover the fundamentals of radio broadcasting.

"The session is carded for Saturday, March 14th from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m at NALIS in Port of Spain, Seminar Room 2. The workshop is free of charge and all practising journalists are welcome.

"The areas to be covered are:
1) News writing, 2) Identifying the story, 3) Identifying the sound byte, 4) Slander, 5) Interviewing skills, 6) Sourcing information, 7) Pronunciation, 8) Basics of grammar, 9) Phrasing, 10) Breathing, 11) Proper use of voice.

"Limited seating is available and will be allotted on a ‘first come first served’ basis. Light lunch and refreshments will be served.

"We look forward to your cooperation in this venture.

"Marlan Hopkinson"

After last week's storm in a tea cup Mr Hopkinson, your colleagues need all the help they can get. And maybe you could add this module: 12) How not to throw an entire nation into panic mode.


After 149 years and 311 days, the Rocky Mountain News of Denver, Colorado, USA published its final edition. The newspaper is just one of the casualties of the global economic crisis.
The IMF is warning of a "Great Recession", even as T&T politicians bury their heads in the sand. Hopefully local media managers aren't jumping in to play in the sandbox but are taking stock.
A videographer documented the last two months of life at the Rocky Mountain News and produced a fantastic documentary. One of the striking interviews is that of Reporter Laura Frank thanking readers and sources, but also apologising to them.
Take a look.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Nowhere in that phrase do we see the letter 'u'. So it's pretty baffling to us why the Guardian's Richard Lord would slip up with "Commonwealth heads agreed at the last Chogum in Uganda, in 2007, to encourage those institutions to create a more effective multilateral system that would lead to a more inclusive and equitable global society."
It's pronounced like that Richard, but usually abbreviated to CHOGM.
Maybe your sub editor is to blame, because your colleague Naz Yacoob told us West Indies captain Chris Gayle said "It’s a well-diciplined unit. “It is physological boost ahead of the ODI series."
Did you mean physiological?
Whatever happened to spell check?


The home of another Express newspaper reporter has been "raided" allegedly by police officers.
This time it's Darryl Heeralal, who usually writes crime stories. There is no byline on the story, so we'll just assume Mr Heeralal wrote it himself and sent it to his editor.
So this begs the question: what's up with the police? And Mr Heeralal's brother, who is also a policeman, also had his home searched. Hmmm.
As you'll recall, the home of Anna Ramdass was raided by police last December 31st. That story was written by Joel Julien, and embellished with an emotional interview by Miss Ramdass.
The top COP needs to say who's next. Maybe his officers will be greeted with cocktails next time.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Here's a comment on an ongoing theme on this blog.

"Hi MW,
I think the container story cock up is yet another example of the lack of any standards in local journalism -- an ongoing theme in many posts on this blog. (So in addition to Sam Feist making the rounds of local media houses, Media Watch should also be made required reading for all local journalists, I think.)

"Given the implications of the container story, it should not have been broadcast until properly sourced. How can you broadcast a story of this seriousness on mere hearsay? This episode does not even warrant lengthy comment because the stupidity of it is so obvious. It really makes you wonder. Can you imagine the impression of local journalism Sam Feist must have left with?

"Re the John John photo, it is quite striking. Pity it wasn't given more prominent play on the site. It would also have been great as part of a photo essay, don't you think?"


We can only imagine what Mr Feist really thinks about T&T journalism. And yes, the Newsday photo should have been the front page image, as well as part of a photo essay. But again, who pays attention to these things?

Saturday, March 7, 2009


The Newsday photographer who got the shot of the John John residents running off after setting fire to debris deserves an award. There is no credit on the photo.
If we didn't know it was John John, we would have sworn the photo was taken in a war zone in some African country or in a Haitian slum. It spoke volumes about the state of affairs in the community.
And it's also interesting that no tv station carried that incident live. We all know there is crime in John John and Laventille, but when was the last time the residents staged a fiery protest to complain about alleged police brutality? Those images would have made for fantastic live tv.
Local reporters aspire to go to war zones around the world like their CNN and BBC counterparts, but when the war zone comes to them, they don't even react. Sad really.
It seems they prefer to concentrate on broadcasting rumours.


The Telecommunications Authority has decided to get in on the act and "...has launched an investigation to determine the extent of the “false and misleading” information carried by the broadcast media on the alleged discovery of children in a container at a port in Trinidad.
It is also considering “the possibility that the reporting may have involved public mischief on the part of the broadcasting stations involved”."
See the full story in the Newsday, the Guardian (whose sister station CNC 3 was one of those which carried the initial false report), and the Express.
The Express also carried an editorial on the issue on Thursday.

And, CNN's Political Director and Vice President added his two cents to the ensuing drama while addressing Communication Studies students at the UWI on Thursday.
Here's what was said by Sam Feist: "...all that was being broadcast was second-hand and third-hand reports and hearsay."; "Wait until you go to a source of information before you believe a rumour."; "...CNN requires two separate and direct sources of information for every story they report. “Democracy is entirely dependent on the citizenry accessing trusted information.”"; "Don’t report information that you don’t know to be true."; "It is important to have standards, ask tough questions and have reliable sources."

Clearly Mr Feist needs to make the rounds at various media houses in this country.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


That situation with the rumour about a container filled with children being found at the port would be serious if it wasn't so funny.
So why would Red 97, 94.1, and CNC 3 even mention that rumour, even to say they are checking it out, before actually confirming or debunking the information?
You added fuel to the wild speculation, raised and subsequently dashed the hopes of every parent with a missing child, and drove dread and fear into the hearts of all parents who may have believed this rumour was true.
So how did your Heads of News or news producers show any responsibility to the community by broadcasting that rumour?
And what's to stop the hoaxer from trying to plant another one, even more outrageous than this? Maybe next time we'll hear that the police are investigating reports that the Prime Minister was shot on the way to meeting President Obama? Or that party-loving Pres. George collapsed during one of his famous soirees?
Where will it end?

What's your take on how certain media houses handled this "story"?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


At 7am on Monday, we heard Dale Enoch of I95 tell his listeners that investigations had been launched into the "crib death of an 8 year old infant".
"Nah!" you protest. "Dale wouldn't say a thing like that! With all his experience, he wouldn't make such a mistake!".
We are absolutely sure he said it because he read it in the headlines at the beginning of the newscast, he said it while reading the story, and lo and behold he read it in the headlines again at the end of the newscast.
So. There was no one in the newsroom at the time who picked up that mistake and decided to take matters into their own hands and just print an amended headlines page for him to read at the end of the newscast? Steups!
Dale tell your reporters to be more careful, and make sure to triple check the scripts before you read them.

Friday, February 27, 2009


An observant reader has sent us a link to a story about the global problem of newspaper houses worldwide which are also feeling the effects of the global financial meltdown. Trinidad and Tobago is no exception, as we have seen recently with CL Financial and its interests in One Caribbean Media: The Express, The Nation, TV6 and the Grenada Broadcasting Network.
There are some lessons too for broadcast media houses which have websites. Take a look.

HOW DO YOU SAY....??? 3

Here's a response for Mike.

"@ Mike,
You're right, Zakaria is with Newsweek. That's why one shouldn't write, then click send when one is vex...:)"


Sunday, February 22, 2009


It's Carnival time again and while you may be jumping and waving and having a generally good time, remember to send us your comments on the local media coverage of Carnival activities, such as Dimanche Gras, J'Ouvert, and the Parade of the Bands.
If you catch any international coverage, let us know as well.


All the Sunday dailies carry the story of the three men who died in the crash along the Eastern Main Road in Wallerfield. The Newsday's Ralph Banwarie tells us: "Dead are Kareem Romain, 26, of Bel Bird Avenue, Arima, Cliff Croffon, 24, of Bois Bande North Eastern Settlement, Ojoe Road, Sangre Grande and 28-year-old Randell Boyce."

The Guardian's Peter Balroop tells us: "Dead are Chris Dauphin, 24, and Randell Boyce, 28, both of Ojoe Road, Sangre Grande, as well as Kareen Romain, 36, of Bell Bird Avenue, Malabar, Arima."

While Driselle Ramjohn of the Express tells us: "Police reports state that around 5.30 a.m., driver Cliff Dauphin along with Kareem Romain and Randall Boyce were heading west along the Eastern Main Road when Dauphin lost control of his Nissan Frontier and crashed into a tree.
Dauphin, 54, of Ojoe Road, Sangre Grande; Romain, 26, of Malabar and Boyce, 28, also of Ojoe Road, died on the scene."

Well according to the three reports, a total of seven persons died: Randell Boyce, Randall Boyce, 26 year old Kareem Romain, 36 year old Kareen Romain, Cliff Dauphin, Chris Dauphin and Cliff Croffon, while two persons were driving the death van at the time of the accident: Chris Dauphin and Cliff Croffon. Well no wonder there was an accident!
It's strange that all the stories quote from police reports, and they all say that Sgt. Robain is continuing investigations, yet the information on the victims differs so radically. Did all the reporters speak with Sgt. Robain? Steups!

More reason why town say you shouldn't believe everything you read in the newspapers.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

HOW DO YOU SAY....??? 2

Here's a response to that comment on Fareed Zakaria.

"Wow, that's amazing that someone would mispronounce such a prominent journalist's name.

"NN seems to have mixed up her magazines, though. Zakaria is the editor of Newsweek International, not Time. Are you sure you've read Zakaria before, NN? Just joking...Point taken."



Here's one for CNC3 & C News.

"I listened in horror to a promo on CNC3 about a CNN programme hosted by Fareed Zarakia. The announcer pronounced the man's name Zah-kah-REE-ah, when it should be Zah-KAH-ree-ah. I shudder to think that the announcer is a member of the news team. Hasn't she ever seen the programme? Does she know who the man is? Has she ever read Time magazine?
Steupsss....if you think his show is important enough to be imported onto your station, at least pronounce de man name right nah CNC3!...steupsss.

"I have a long list of woes following C's broadcast of the Groovy & Soca Monarch show last night/this morning. Apparently the show organisers and C weren't on the same page. Everything from the camera work to the couches the celebrity panel sat on were horrible. I plan to itemize every detail and post on your blog and elsewhere. Steupsss x2..."



This one speaks to a lack of understanding of basic journalism principles.

"Did I just hear right? Did TV6 reporter Elizabeth Williams-Allard say the name of the suspect held in connection with the murder of the German national?
Yes she did ...why? It was during the interview with Andy Johnson on Morning Edition, Andy asked what can you tell us about the suspect and Ms Williams-Allard proceeded to tell us the man's name, the business establishments he holds in Tobago and even the suspect's wife's name.
"Why oh why, does she not know this is a no no?....Ms Williams-Allard come on, you have covered court in Tobago, do you name a suspect before he/she has been charged? Steups."


Saturday, February 14, 2009


The Newsday's Rhondor Dowlat has a story in the Friday edition on the disappearance of two little girls between Tuesday and Wednesday.
"ANTI-KIDNAPPING Squad (AKS) police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the abduction of two schoolgirls, aged seven and eight, in unrelated incidents between Tuesday and Wednesday."
Yet the story's headline reads: "Schoolgirls feared kidnapped".
This is for the person who came up with the headline but who clearly did not read the story first; to abduct means 'to carry off by force; kidnap'. What do the young people say when you say or write something that's obvious? 'Duh!'

Thursday, February 12, 2009


This reader has some comments on football and chutney, a potent mix.

"Can someone tell me what this Ray Davis character is doing masquerading as a sports reporter on 102FM? During a five minute sports report you get as much as one minute of actual news. The rest is irrelevant, illiterate fluff and padding. Looks like he feels he is clever. Come on Ray, give us the score. We don't want to know about who win Panorama. Somebody needs to give him lessons about writing news too. Ignorance is real bliss yes.

"The other one is the girl from C who hosted the Chutney Soca show. Not Nicola Barriteau (nice bosom), the other one. A pretty chick. Regarding the interviews. How Ramesh Maharaj and Jack Warner come in that? What they know about chutney? Then when you do that people will come and ask why you didn't go and look for Christine Kangaloo or Jerry Narace in the crowd.

"Come on girl. Judgement. Judgement."

"King Arthur"

Can we add our two cents' worth? That guy who did the half time show during the T&T/El Salvador match on Wednesday night added nothing to the overall programme (yeah, the one in the B Mobile t-shirt). OK, so he wanted to get a feel of how limin' Trinis reacted to the game. First of all your producers picked the wrong venue (Trotters) because the crowd was small and tame. Why not Smokey and Bunty's? Second, he sounded as if he was sampling a few things other than the barbeque wings. Third, that's probably why he was having difficulty forming his words. He was shouting and just being overly obnoxious.

And none of the interviews were noteworthy. No, not even the one with Express reporter Lasana Liburd, who also had difficulty with his speech. We thought since your hey dey in tv interviews back in '06 based on your spat with Jack Warner that you would have been a pro at the one on one interviews by now. Oh well. You have lots of time to practice for South Africa.


Here's some good news for TV6.

"Kudos to the TV6 News on the implementation of a tickertape and CNN style graphics. Continue to raise the standards. (But) Please don't tell me that you hired some of CNC3's staff who had that same (spelling) problem some months aback."


Denzil, we can't quite agree with you on the graphics. They are small and green, much like a leprechaun. Or green and red, like Santa's elves. You almost need a magnifying glass to see what's on the screen, and that's unfortunate. What about the visually impaired?


Here's an interesting story on the Clico situation which was printed in the Jamaica Gleaner on February 1st and brought to our attention by one of our readers.
Guardian Holdings Chairman Arthur Lok Jack said it was important that no one tries to bury the nail in the coffin.
"Even Guardian Holdings...was swift to react, saying it was profitable and strong, had no liquidity problems and anticipated no bounce-back from Friday's development. 'There is no connection with CLICO whatsoever of any kind with the Guardian companies,' Chairman Arthur Lok Jack told Sunday Business."
But we all know the old saying....


It's been a while, but we can't move forward without taking a look back at one of the biggest financial stories in the country's history. If we need to spell it out at this point, then you have been living under a rock.

When the news first broke on the morning of Friday January 30th that the Finance Minister, the Central Bank Governor and that most elusive and reclusive of businessmen, Lawrence Duprey were holding a joint news conference, we heard alarm bells: dingdingdingdingding!!!!!
But alas, not so in the close to 50 media houses across the country. Why didn't EVERYONE go live, considering that probably 70% of the population has some dealings with Clico whether through the banks or insurance???????????
Kudos to I95 for bringing us the entire news conference and the Q&A live. C News got in on the act as well, and we understand the Express was updating its website as the news conference progressed. TV6, considering you are (or up to that point were) 20% owned by Mr Duprey through OCM, it was really surprising that you did not go live. Most news producers showed their poor news judgement. Tsk tsk. Ticker tapes afterward just didn't cut it.

TV6 though was luckily redeemed by Andy Johnson's live programme that night, an ongoing discussion on the country's pending financial crisis, which could not have scripted a better topic than the collapse of one of the region's most successful conglomerates.
Two of the very best stories on the Clico debacle came from TV6's sister paper, the Express. Curtis Rampersad's story titled "We made a mistake" had perhaps one of the most concise descriptions of the entire situation, and this was also commented on by someone who is not even in the media: "It took decades for businessman Lawrence Duprey to build an empire that controlled more than $100 billion in assets spread across the globe. It took just a week for it to start crumbling."
His colleague Ria Taitt meanwhile encapsulated the effect of the global financial issue as it relates to Clico in her story which was based on statements by the Finance Minister.

A couple days later, Monday evening to be exact, TV6's news producers allowed Sasha Mohammed to run roughshod over viewers by letting her do three packaged stories at the top of the newscast from the parliamentary debate on the Central Bank Amendment Bill and the Insurance Amendment Bill. Not even CNN would allow Christiane Amanpour to package three stories back to back.
So everyone else in the newsroom took an unscheduled holiday? Why wasn't anyone else given the opportunity to look at the different stories coming out of the debate? This begs the question then of how adequately Miss Mohammed would have covered those stories since the debate lasted several hours. Maybe she could teach Ria, Juhel and Gail a thing or two?

As you may have guessed, we are partial to the style of musing on current issues by the Guardian's Lenny Grant, so we'll take you to his commentary on the disintegration of Mr Duprey's Colonial dream: "As if it were a corporate mug shot, the beefy image of Lawrence Duprey, a name usually prefaced with “billionaire,” became a poster, to which a “Wanted” sign was understood to apply. On January 30, it was the image of a man in the moral equivalent of custody. Exhausted from a fugitive tramp through the financial badlands, he had given himself up...The Caribbean’s most colourful captain of industry had sailed his flagship, Colonial Life Insurance Company, and other vessels under the flag, into a government safe harbour, there to be made seaworthy once more."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Here's a response to the original post on Mr Pierre's audible faux pas.

"About Fabian.
Well 'AD' it's a good thing you're not a decision maker about anything. Couple Questions: What was Fabian's reaction when he appeared on camera after the flub? As Sue Simmons did, he should have gracefully apologized, for his part.
The technical editor however, who assembled the voice and the video, and did not re-check the story, or was not careful enough to edit out the error, is culpable.

"Furthermore, it appears as though TV6 management did the right thing, since 'construction language' shouldn't be used in any kind of recording studio, especially in a fast paced environment, when granted, technical editors must be under tremendous pressure.

"What happened does not warrant pulling Fabian off air, especially if he apologised. Oh but then again...wait...if we are to follow 'AD's logic...I'm Fabian, and I might be defending myself using a fake name... ooooo..."


The question is: has Fabian appeared on camera since this story aired? And if yes, did he apologize?


Here's a first-hand account of what happens when media people feel entitled to have extra passes to all-inclusive Carnival fetes.

"Hi Martine,
I am an avid fan of your blog and keep up the great work.
On the question of media workers abusing their so called Carnival coverage, I think the editors should be the ones calling the promoters. There have been instances where editors do call and make arrangements and reporters/photographers call for extra passes.

"Having been a former Guardian entertainment reporter, I can tell you of my personal experiences where a certain photographer will bring his girlfriend to several Carnival all inclusives and we will be stopped at the door/gate and asked for our passes. Normally a press pass will get you in, but since the promoters send two passes (reporter/photographer) we did not have a third pass and the end result will be the photographer arguing and sometimes calling for security to come to the gates. Tres embarrassing....and this photographer does this year after year.....
In some cases this same photographer goes to every party, inclusive of Zen with the company's camera on the pretense that he is working and gets into the parties free of charge.

"At a certain all inclusive last year, a photographer was already rostered to cover an all inclusive and the other photographer who was not rostered showed up with his girlfriend and when told there was already a representative from the company inside the photographer said: "All yuh ain't know who is me, I is Creole, I know the promoter, he called me personally...". The photographer (Creole as he calls himself) then took out his cell phone and pretended to call the promoter, but the guard let him and his girlfriend into the party.

"Martine, my point is this, when media personnel do this, they all look bad; media people have been known to like free thing and that is a dangerous thing. By doing this people start losing respect for the media and look at them as one laughing stock. Trust me, I know 'cause having left the media, I am privy to the talk from high officials...."

"Missing the media"


This one is for C News' producers.

"As much as I enjoy C News, there were some errors made in the (Monday) 7pm newscast that no one picked up in time for the 9pm newscast. Firstly, the member of Parliament for Point Fortin was titled, "MP for Portin Fortin" both at 7pm and again (at) 9pm. Was someone sleeping all that time?
And who is Minister "Grolund"? It's "Gronlund". Come on, don't start dropping your standards like another famous TV station."

"trini media"


The discussion continues.

"Ah TV6. Once again you show how unprofessional you can be. I know the exactly person who you're referring to requiring these tickets in obscene language. Begging for tickets to carnival fetes is an absolute no in the media. It is unethical, inappropriate and only helps to create a bad impression of the media in general. I trust that her managers deal with (her).

"And how could the tiredness of an editor be to blame for loud, obscene language by Fabian Pierre being broadcast on air? Get real TV6. You need to remember than you are not the only news station in the country and we are downright tired of your continued failure to lift your standards.

"And talking about standards, I must once again congratulate CNMG for continuing to keep Desha Rambhajan on the 7pm newscast. Maybe it's like football, where one player who is away for long is replaced by another player who performs so good that the regular starter, when he/she returns, has to fight for his/her place. Desha has made a fantastic substitute and it appears that C News managers have placed the regulars on the bench to fight for their place. Well done! Competition is healthy and Desha, you're doing very well."

"trini media"

Monday, January 26, 2009


Questions have already arisen about that story re: CNMG.

"Hi MW,
(Sunday)'s Express has an interesting story about the government's plans for its various media holdings. I'm a bit confused by the penultimate paragraph of the story: 'But the idea that CNMG, a reincarnated TTT, might go the route of a Government-controlled broadcasting structure has alarmed many people, both inside and outside the State-owned TV station.' What's the difference between being a Government-controlled broadcasting structure and a State-owned TV station? They seem like one and the same to me.

"The story does raise an important question that I raised in an earlier post about CNMG. Should the government be owning media companies in 2009? What's the rationale for this? I understand that government ownership was necessary back in the day when broadcast media was still in its infancy. But today we have several private broadcasters. So why does the government need to be involved in media of all things?"


Good questions Mike and we'd like to post this one as an open letter to both current and former Information Ministers, Neil Parsanlal and Dr Lenny Saith.
Maybe they should consider the BBC's operations.


Here's a comment on a few of the responses we gave to questions from some budding journalists.

"You say in response to one question: "Your editor will eventually notice and will eventually pay you top dollar because he'll get the heads up that some smart editor out there is also noticing your brilliant writing. If not, you can always quit and go become a lawyer." Keep in mind that not all lawyers make big money. Those who go into public interest lawyering, for instance, make as much as journalists do -- and sometimes less!

"Also, the question goes to the heart of one of the problems I see affecting local media: the idea that because you can write or like writing you can be a journalist. This is a mistake. Journalists aren't in the main people who like to write; they are people who like to know. Basically, you need to be smart and curious enough to see and explore all the angles to a story and submit to the copy desk a well-reported story. Note, the story does not have to be well-written because the copy desk will re-write submissions to conform to the respective organization's style, iron out any rough edges, correct grammatical errors, etc.

"If someone likes to write and loves to know then journalism is certainly a field I would recommend. But if the desire to know isn't there then he could explore other writing roles: screenwriting, speech writing, creative writing, biography etc.

"My experience in Trinidad is that people tend to be closed-minded about the options available to writers. The options available to writers also tend to be limited. So people good at writing (and some who think they are) see journalism sometimes as the only option available to them other than maybe teaching. A quick scan of the Internet would reveal that this isn't the case and that there are many fulfilling career paths for writers. You would generally have to leave Trinidad to pursue some of these career paths. But if you're serious about realising your potential this shouldn't deter you.

"On the issue of penalizing errant reporters, I agree in part with your answer. However, I also think that the problem is one of a lack of moral authority within the newsroom. There are no standards within the industry, so nobody can discipline anybody."



Mr Pierre, this one's for you.

"Hi Martine:
It's strange you all did not pick this up (maybe not yet) but on Thursday night, in the TV6 regionals section, which was read out by Fabian Pierre, there was a VERY AUDIBLE ERROR (Like he fumbled) and then he actually said "F**K". Loud and on air. The story was pulled immediately, but my cousin called TV6 that night to complain. No one took the call but on Friday, she called again and someone said the matter was being dealt with and the editor was overworked and tired.
But what about Fabian? She was told by her media friend who works at the Express that the bosses sent a general memo, but that type of language in a studio recording, where you know the chances are it will get out, is simply unacceptable.

"I believe he should be pulled off the air for a while at least, because cursing/obscene language is unacceptable on air and he should be properly disciplined."


It's unfortunate that the foul language was played on the air, but was an immediate apology issued by the news presenter once the story was pulled off the air? If not, then that would be the amazing part.
This is how NBC 4's veteran anchor Sue Simmons dealt with a similar faux pas, but hers was live. (Warning: adult language, viewer discretion advised).


We've had a response from the businessman who sent us that heartfelt appeal about the treatment meted out to his staff by media houses which 'demand' free passes to cover fetes.

"Well. I finally got a report from two of my juniors (involved in promoting separate fetes) who had the misfortune of being called by the producer I referred to in TV6.
She was even more rude, hostile and abusive towards them. (Last) week, when she called them for tickets, she told them, (on separate occasions) that - and I'm quoting from them - "All yuh feel writing to media watch bout me going to do anything. Just get the **** tickets for the fetes - we doin all yuh a favour".
Suffice to say, these workers had no clue what she was talking about, and when they asked her to explain, she actually used obscene language. Sad to say, the managers are not reining that woman in at all."

"Carnival police"

Let's see if this situation will be addressed before the free tickets season is over.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Recently some questions were submitted to us by budding journalists in training; questions on how the media really works and what it takes to succeed in this business.
We've decided to post some of the questions and answers because they were pretty interesting and perhaps are what some seasoned journalists would like answered as well.
Feel free to write in with comments, suggestions, and anecdotes about the TT media which can benefit budding journalists.

Comment/question from AH:
"I do not think that media workers should purchase tickets to cover fetes. The onus should be on fete promoters to facilitate the media's request if they want their event publicized. In the event that tickets are not sent, do you believe that their 'demanding' behaviour was justified? If not, how should editors/management deal with these reporters?"
MW: If fete promoters or anyone else wants an event publicized they rightly should send invitations and the necessary tickets, but since when does it take a crew of 12 (scantily dressed) people to cover a fete when the story on that fete will not last more than 2 minutes?
Assignments editors are the ones to make arrangements for these events and not reporters, so they can often be unreasonable in their requests, depending on the hype surrounding the event. Do you believe that same assignments editor would 'demand' 12 tickets to a luncheon for a home for the aged?
These fete tickets are not cheap, so any fete-loving editor would promise to cover the event once several tickets are sent so the three cameramen, the broadcast assistant, the six reporters and the cleaner can get in for free. Oh, add their grandmother (who is freelancing as an editor) to the list for tickets.

DB: "Do you think there should be more transparency regarding how errant reporters are penalized?"
MW: Yes there should be more transparency, but unfortunately it seems that the local media is an employees market, so if these errant reporters feel they have been slighted by their bosses, they can easily move on to the next media house where they feel their worth (or ego-tripping) is more appreciated. Media managers are often held to ransom by these over-inflated egos, so the easiest thing to do is nothing at all.

JG: "I love writing, but I don't like being poor. Have I chosen the wrong field?"
MW: Yes and no. Yes you've chosen the wrong field if your writing/reporting does not distinguish you from every other writer/reporter out there, so you'll have to be contented with making minimum wage and running after mundane stories.
On the other hand, you are in the right field if you can write with flair, passion, understanding, and come up with brilliant story ideas that no one else is looking at and get people to read and talk about your writing. Your editor will eventually notice and will eventually pay you top dollar because he'll get the heads up that some smart editor out there is also noticing your brilliant writing. If not, you can always quit and go become a lawyer.

AD: "How do editors and administrators typically respond to significant on-air flubs?"
MW: Significant meaning telling the nation that the PM was shot when he wasn't? Most times a grudging apology is offered almost immediately, while other times the policy is do or say nothing and maybe everyone will forget it even happened.

RG: "How credible is the media in Trinidad and Tobago given the proliferation of journalism errors in reporting?"
MW: The media is generally credible, though some media houses more than others.
Their strengths lie in the genuine qualifications and training of those who run the newsrooms. In days gone by, most local journalists had to learn their trade on the job, with no formal training and they became good at what they did by trial and error, rising through the ranks of their organizations.
But today, there are so many institutions offering training that there is no excuse for any journalist (young or old) not to be the best that they can be (mind you, there are many "training" agencies that are not qualified to teach journalism).

JR: "How do we find our true identity as journalists?"
MW: Your true identity as a journalist comes in reporting on what drives you the most...whether it's sport, the arts, business, politics. Try different beats (if possible) then try to stick with the one which makes your writing most passionate.

KF: "Do you think there is a need for more journalists in Trinidad and Tobago?"
MW: Yes there is a need for more journalists in TT because the crop that's out there has not exhausted all the stories that are waiting to be told. Some of them are already stuck in their various ruts and will not do anything different on pain of being fired, so you new ones have to challenge the status quo...go dig up the hundreds of stories waiting to be told that are right under everyone's noses, but that no one is telling. You may have a neighbour who is in an abusive relationship, or know that a drug dealer lives on your block, or a retaining wall in your neighbourhood that could come crashing down and cause serious damage or even death...there's always a story waiting to be told right under your nose.

AH: "Do you think that a reporter should be blamed for reporting incorrect information which was given to them by the police?"
MW: One of the fundamentals of reporting is that information should go through at least three sources before being published/broadcast. So if a police source gives information, there must be some way to corroborate that information before going to air with it. Otherwise, use the other fundamental principle...if in doubt, leave it out. But we live in a culture of reporters/editors/media houses which prefer to have incorrect scoops rather than stale facts.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Here are a few comments on the THA election coverage, from 'trini media'.

"I was not entirely surprised that TV6 did nothing worthwhile for the THA election. For a company that is "national" in scope, has a lot of equipment at its disposal and not to mention, is currently the oldest television news media house in the country, the station has not been functioning as a serious media station. Is it that you feel so comfortable with the market share Dominic and others, that you think you can rest on your laurels and not get out there and do your work? Is there even an assignment editor there who knows what to do, when to do it and how to do it?

"Why didn't the station have a live feed from Tobago on election night? I'm terribly disappointed, but as I said, not entirely surprised. The station has an entirely new staff since the great walk-out of the Natalie Williams era from which it has never recovered and the juniors over there have no one to guide them whatsoever.

"CNMG, I admire your effort. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say that Charlene Ramdhanie and Golda Lee were amateurs. They brought us regular reports but it was clear that the station had no election-night plan in place. Again, a station with equipment to do live reports and nothing from Tobago on election night with the celebrations. What if the prime minister had indeed turned up? Anyone thought about the significance of that. What if the PNM had lost the election? No thought whatsoever.

"CNC3 can be forgiven for not having the equipment as yet to do live reports. But it's high time that changes. You have been on air long enough and have "gone national" a long time now. Get with the programme CNC3, live television reporting IS the order of the day. After all, the station does have, in my opinion, the best live presenters in the country -- Sampson Nanton, who actually saved the station some face with regular and well-informed updates from the PNM headquarters, Shelly Dass, with a natural on-air presence, Francesca Hawkins, an absolutely brilliant presenter, and Roger Sant, an experienced and collected anchor who gave us some excellent reports from Beijing. It goes without saying that if the station had the equipment to go live, it could have crushed the competition. Well done however, as Shelly continued to toss to Sampson at the right moments with regular updates. I do agree with A Williams that the graphics needed to come alive.

"Now to Desha Rambhajan at CNews. I don't know if it's because Charlene and Golda were in Tobago, but you got the much needed break in the 7pm newscast and I must say, you have taken on the role with absolute excellence and with an on-air presence that is completely captivating. I particularly loved your choice of outfit on Thursday night. It was a calming colour and yet stylish enough to catch the eye of the viewer. Take a bow Desha and I hope that those in charge at CNews would recognise that they have a good presenter in the making and use you some more.

"Finally, I'd like to throw out a little suggestion though. We have had media competitions sponsored by just about everyone. So I propose some competition here as well. Perhaps without all the criticisms and tongue-lashings, we can rate the week's best reporter, best presenter, best producer (based on the overall news presentation for the week), best head of news (based on the best news content for the week), and of course, the worse in each category.

"If I were to begin, I'd give Desha the best presenter, Sampson the best reporter (particularly for his reports from Tobago), CNews the best producer for the overall presentation of their newscasts and again CNews for best Head of News for overall content of their newscast. Come on CNC3, your content standard has always been high but you need to be always reminded, you're only as good as your last story. And as for TV6, the least said the better. They may very well take the worse category all by themselves."


Here's a response to Ken Gordon's comments on the lack of standards in the media.


"I agree with everything Ken Gordon says. He's not saying anything sensible people don't already know. But his decrying the lack of standards in T&T broadcast media is like Bush calling a press conference today to decry weakened civil liberties in the U.S.

"What did Gordon do during his time as CCN head to improve the quality of journalism in T&T? Didn't Gordon oversee for many years a media company whose TV station (TV6) is a culprit of the selfsame lack of standards he now bemoans? I don't think TV6 is any better today than it was when Gordon was in charge.

"Oh, and CCN also owned the Express, whose reporting on any given day under Gordon's watch was as bad as it is today. So I find it strange that all of a sudden he's critical of the "appalling standards" in the media. But such is life, I guess."



This reader found the link to the actual 60 second BBC newscast which was pulled off the air because of the 'breathy' presentation.

"I just want to let you know that there is a youtube clip of the so-called "breathy" BBC presenter here: Sixty Seconds News Scandal. It sounds like she was trying to multitask. Hopefully no local presenters have tried multitasking in this way (A Sampson Nanton joke here would be too easy)."


Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Here's former CCN Chairman Ken Gordon saying what most of us have known all along, that the lack of monitoring of countless radio and tv stations has led to appalling standards in the media.
"“The canons of good taste do not appear to be understood, racism is promoted; excesses dominate; pronunciation is abominable, green verbs are the order of the day and standards have fallen on every side. “There is a terrible weakness in the electronic media. No efforts have been made to make people accountable for standards.”...He also said there was the need for proper training for media personnel."

And while it's easy to lay all the blame on successive governments, media managers (most of whom are members of the TTPBA) should hang their heads in shame at this sorry state of affairs.
Hiring unqualified, untrained people to write stories and read the news in order to save a few dollars shows a distinct lack of regard for their audiences.


The comments continue on the THA election night coverage.

"I found the election night coverage interesting. CNMG's panel was rather lack luster. Hamid Ghany was good, but his fellow panelists were boring. And TV6, what happened to you?! Remember old school TTT? That's what TV6 is reminding me of lately. Don't get me wrong, I adore Andy Johnson, he's great, but let's have some more shots of the scene. Don't go to a place, prepared for a LIVE event, and come away thinking you may as well have been in a dark studio.

"Both CNMG and TV6 cut out their programming around 10pm. I actually think CNC3 though was pretty good, content wise. They went until 10:30pm or so with a political scientist, and an economist and every 5 minutes they had live reports from Sampson Nanton, and some new girl. The graphics for the results are so old school though. They look like someone dusted them off from 40 years ago.

"Still, CNC were the only ones who stuck around for the concession speech from Ashworth Jack. (But it seemed a bit touch and go for them though, because it looked like they were wrapping up the discussion, when the host did a turn-around, and explained they were standing by to go to Ashworth Jack in Tobago..but the guests looked caught off guard too. I guess they weren't clued into the last minute change in plan) Orville London did a long interview with 3 at some point. Is it that they have more political favour, or contacts? Why didn't CNMG get those interviews? But CNC3, get with the programme, send over a live production team to bring us back proper pictures. Get some better graphics, yours are just plain ugly. Doesn't McAl have enough money?"

"A. Williams"


Here's a question for the Guardian.

"I practically grew up on the Guardian as a newspaper but they have taken a serious turn for the worse within recent times...on the 20th they posted a letter to the editor that spoke of the alleged incident that occurred at a Mall in Trinidad. The mall subsequently printed a statement that no such incident did in fact happen.
It has been 'proved' to be an Internet Urban Legend.

"I wonder why did the Guardian still print this as the person answered self on this 'alleged' issue. Did they not have anything else to print?! I'm guessing not because there was a review of Rudder's latest CD that took half a page and I read nothing but what was already in the liner notes on the back of the CD."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Here's a comment about the election night coverage of the THA election.

"CNMG's coverage of the THA elections was far superior to Andy Johnson's excessive talk shop and CNC3's almost non-existent coverage. Andy and his partners talked the night away while Hamid Ghany and his guests spent time discussing THE RESULTS. Hello, Andy, people tuned in to get the RESULTS not to hear three overweight politicians argue with each other about a road behind a church in Bacolet.

"Junior reporters Charlene Ramdhanie and Golda Lee were amateurish and an absolute waste of time and did nothing to help the people in studio. Don't these girls know you should not get carried away by the moment as a reporter? Leave the giggling and the superlatives for the hairdressers, girls.

"Thankfully, Fatboy Hamid (who dresses him?) and his two knowledgeable guests kept things rolling along very very well and Ean Wallace was perfect for the occasion. Meanwhile, Andy and the fat boys talked and talked and talked. What a lousy production. The results came up and disappeared without explanation. Andy did not know who was fighting where and Gift, Dumas and Beard just kept on talking and talking while the results were not coming and coming.

"While all of this was happening, junior reporters Charlene and Golda seemed impressed. At one time I thought Golda would plant a kiss on Cecil Caruth's cheek and the less said about Ramdhanie the better. Back to journalism school for you girls. You wasted our time on election night."

"A. Gordon"

Do you have any comments on the coverage of the THA election? Drop us a line at


A reporter has informed us that when they interviewed The Mighty Duke last Carnival he said he was 75 years old, so therefore he would have been 77 this October.
Thanks for that clarification.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Here's a link to a story about a BBC presenter who got pulled off the air because her presentation of a one minute newscast was too "breathy".
Some of you local presenters, radio and tv, need to pay attention.


This letter was bound to come to the fore because it's been a problem that fete promoters have had to deal with ad nauseum over the years, seemingly with no redress from media managers.
It's from a businessman who has been on the receiving end of nonsense and in some cases abuse by media workers who think it's their right to get free passes to Carnival activities.

"Media houses have traditionally been granted access to cover Carnival fetes in the past, but it has come to our notice that they have been abusing their privileges considerably for the past few years. This year it is no different. Major TV stations and newspapers are the ones guilty of the following crimes:

"So called photographers/assignment editors/entertainment reporters call our promoters the week or mere days before major fetes and demand free tickets for coverage. Now in the case of photographers, we're asked for two tickets, but for TV stations, it involves an entire crew. These are expensive, all inclusive fetes and we often wonder why the media houses just don't buy tickets to cover them. But when we do allow people in via putting their names on the lists, we are faced with the problem of them bringing more than one person (in the TV stations) insisting that it is their crew.

"TV6news, Gayelle and to a lesser extent CNC3 are guilty of this this season. But TV6news is the worst. There is someone with a very gruff voice on the telephone, a
woman (from the newsroom), who normally calls our people for tickets. She actually DEMANDS tickets and speaks abusively to our people when it is not arranged to her timing. These workers claim our fetes will be properly covered on TV, but if we see more than one minute, it is a lot. Further, we note that this same woman has not been cooperative to cover any event the promoters (like UWI, CAREC, Bloodbank and Hilton) have during the year, yet at Carnival time they are keen. They also come into the fetes for free and stay there, so it is clear their intention was to get a free ticket.

"We are on the verge of refusing all tickets/free passes, but we are trying to be helpful. We think Media bosses must look into this embarrassing, abusive practice by their workers and institute some code of conduct for their "Carnival babies" workers who are out only for free stuff."

"Carnival police"

Have you had any experiences similar to what this businessman is describing or can you shed some light on why media houses demand so many free tickets to "cover" a fete? Drop us a line at

Friday, January 16, 2009


Well we may need a commission of enquiry into this one.

"Commission Questions: If NCC TV is considered part of the local media, WHO is monitoring the quality?
The broadcast of the commission (of enquiry) into the construction sector has been terrible.
The camera work is poor, I swear the cameraman is asleep or slow on the draw, the audio is dreadful too. Disappointing, because the commission has been rather interesting so far, based on news reports.
CNMG has a pretty good reputation for live broadcasts, maybe they should have handled it."



Here's a question that we would also like answered.

"Can anyone shed any light on the report a few days ago, that some news person (at a popular media house in Maraval) was being questioned by police about fraud? I heard it on the radio, and nothing else came of it. What was that about?"

"A. Williams"


And the winner of the musical chairs is....
We now understand that Naette Lee has resigned from CNMG as well as Sherwin Long. But it doesn't seem that either of them is heading to another post in the local media.
Well Mrs Sant, it seems you have some competition in the exodus category.


Here's a comment for AD on that Shelly Dass issue.

"While I hold no briefs, boxers or undies for Shelly Dass, I hope AD's posting on Shelly wasn't motivated by something personal during their school days e.g. who was the geeky, gangly school-girl growing up, a cat-fight over a boy, who developed faster (smirk) etc."

"Mirthrandir The Laughing Wizard "


As we predicted, the media musical chairs has already begun.
As you may have noticed, Odeka O'Neil-Seaton is no longer gracing the anchor's chair for CNC 3's evening news. She has called it quits after exactly one year. What happened there? That newsroom must be very dusty, and Shelly must be very lonely.

Then the Guardian's Asha Javeed (business reporter) has bid farewell to the Guardian; she's heading over to CNMG.
And there's another (how many is this now?) new co-anchor for the CNC 3 Early Morning Show. It's Renee Cummings (daughter of Strike Squad coach Everald Gally Cummings) founder of the Miss Trinidad and Tobago New York Pageant and a former sportscaster at TV6.
She had a very spirited interview with the Guardian's Francis Joseph on Wednesday morning, bringing some of her criminal justice training to bear on the interview.
(But Francis, we can understand why you are in the newspaper business: at one point you said " jus go an pick up girls an rape dem and throw dem in the canefield...". Hmmmmmm.)
Anyway, Renee welcome on board. You are coming in at a time when there seems to be a semi-mass exodus from the Ansa McAl media group, but maybe your presence will turn the tide. At least you can use your criminal justice investigative skills to help them uncover the real reason why so many people are leaving.
One note though: your hair does not have to match your clothes or your makeup.
On Wednesday you wore a peach-coloured suit, with very peachy-coloured make up and what looked like a peach hair piece. Please don't go the way of IETV's Giselle McIntyre.

Still with personalities. Is it our imagination or did we hear TV6's fill-in anchorman Gerard Lampow voicing a radio ad for BMobile (something about peas and carrots)?
Now how is it possible that the (sometimes) face of a national newscast is selling a product for a private company? And when a story on the said company comes up in the newscast we are supposed to take him seriously?
Shame TV6, but then Samantha John is also at fault as well as CNMG with Raymond Edwards and Jessie May Ventour for UTC and Jamieson vitamins.
We've never heard Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Dan Rather, Lyse Doucet or Sade Baderinwa selling goods during the down time.


Since this story first broke, we have been asking ourselves this question: who did the US$10,000 in jewellery belong to? Queen Latifah or someone in her entourage?
We all know the story by now: Latifah and her homies were chillin' (or limin' as she told Jay Leno) at Stone Haven Villas when the items were stolen.
But some reports says the items belonged to the rap/acting star, others claim it belonged to someone in her entourage.

Well by the time the culprits appeared in court we would have thought that the issue would have been settled. But here it is again the media fails to bring true clarity to an issue.
The Newsday's Karl Cupid tells us: "Kevon Bayne, 35, of Riseland Trace, Bethel, Tobago, was yesterday granted $300,000 bail by Scarborough Senior Magistrate Annette McKenzie when he appeared in court on a series of charges, including larceny of US $10,000 worth of jewelry belonging to Grammy Award-winner, Queen Latifah at Stonehaven Villas on December 28, last."

Yet the Guardian's Casandra Thompson tells us: "Three people appeared in the Scarborough Magistrates’ Court yesterday to answer charges related to the theft of items from a member of Hollywood queen Latifah’s entourage."

So which one of them do you think was actually in court and actually heard the charges being read? The magistrate would have had to say who the jewellery was stolen from, not so?

If you were in the courtroom and can bring some clarification to this matter, feel free to drop us a line at