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"? d.martine6@gmail.com

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.