Saturday, January 3, 2009


It's unfortunate that the killing spree has resumed so soon into the new year, but let's hope the reporters and their editors and producers don't repeat last year's position of just doing a daily body count.

It's interesting that two reporters contributed to this particular story in the Saturday Guardian, yet one of the key details of one of the killings is left out: where it took place. By the process of deduction, we are assuming that it's the San Juan market, but the reporters Leah Sorias and Tabhiry Men Kau Ra don't tell us for sure. We are told that "Police reports state that Grant, of Rambaju Street in Aranguez, San Juan, was beaten to death...It was said Grant had stolen the bundles of celery earlier from a garden in Aranguez, and was caught by the owner. He was confronted and beaten about the head with a piece of wood. He tried to escape the beating, but collapsed and died between two vending stalls. The killing occurred at about 9.30 am, in full view of customers and vendors. Officers of San Juan/Laventille Municipal Police were called in and arrested a suspect."
That's a good enough clue, ent? Why do your readers have to play guessing games with your story?

The other thing about that story that's a bit strange is the juxtaposition of information in the paragraphs.
The above quotation was in paragraph two, and paragraph three reads: "Annmarie Matamoro, Grant’s sister, admitted to police that her brother was a known drug addict...The second murder victim was 27-year-old Brent Greene, of Nicholas Street, Carenage. Reports stated that...".

(Paragraph 4): "Investigations are continuing. About 30 minutes after that shooting, 19-year-old Sultan “Beads” King, of Chafford Courts, Port-of-Spain, was shot to death...".

(Paragraph 5): "Relatives said the teen was a witness in the killing of Kwamie “Butters” Julien, who was shot at Harpe Place, Observatory Street in September, 2007... In another incident, Sherman Findley was at building No 2 Almond Drive, Morvant,...".

Why break the reader's train of thought by juxtaposing two incidents in the same paragraph, when the ensuing information could have very well fit in the same paragraph? Why couldn't the line "Investigations are continuing" fit at the end of paragraph three? None of the paragraphs are so inordinately long that the information had to be broken up like that.
Is that a writing style of the paper or of the particular reporters/editor?

Another thing that struck us was this line in paragraph four: "The killing took place in full view of a CCTV camera."
So bandits and their relatives don't read newspapers? Is it inconceivable that other bandits (who did not earlier know of the location of the CCTV camera) who may be planning robberies/nefarious activities in that area will now be tempted to tamper with the CCTV camera to hide their identities?
We have dealt with this issue before, courtesy of TV6's Fabian Pierre.