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The media-rough terrain!

This week we congratulate the many media workers that were honoured for their work at the 12th MWAG Media Awards ceremony hosted by the Media Workers Association (MWAG). We hope that the awards will serve as motivation on all fronts as you stare at the horizon of greatness according to the feature speaker Brian Grimes.  

The Bernadette Connel’s award and the one bestowed on Neisha Paul, are certainly great initiatives. But who got the Anthony ‘Jericho’ Greenidge award? We congratulate the events planner responsible for the well put together occasion but the absence of the judges’ comments left much to be desired; also ushers’ slip up in taking an invited guest to his seat. We suggest that a written apology be made to him. Let’s take the fourth estate seriously.

However, it was certainly a great event. But, interestingly, some senior media workers were forced to resort to viewing it on line as a result of not being officially invited and in some cases not even having any knowledge of the event. The editor of a popular newspaper said that it was the same Sunday while at a supermarket that he heard of the event to come later that day. Another one claimed to have been alerted about it while it was taking place, by someone in the United States and was sent a link.

This is cause for concern because as one listens to the address from the outgoing president – Gerard Joseph who was calling for unity, one gets the message that there are issues to be dealt with. He said that the media have not been a unified front as he called on MWAG’s members to continue to be unified. In continuing, he revealed that he has seen the different cliques, the different personal issues among members which were shocking for him especially from some of the senior ones; and there are external shocks with people trying to “break us up which should not be allowed … .”

Could pressure be the reason for the outgoing president of MWAG leaving his job in the media?  Shouldn’t the lessons he has learnt in the roughly eight years of working in traditional media make him stronger? The senior media workers can tell you Sir that media is rough terrain. The saddest part of this is that the public shows very little mercy for media workers’ struggles. As Joseph said there are the health challenges, the missing of meals to meet deadlines and the double shifts when other staff members are absent for various reasons. However, the show must go on and that’s the nature of the beast we are dealing with. A lot of us have learnt, the hard way, that the media is clearly not the place for the timid or weak heart. The truth is, many will come, but not many will live the legacy of a lifelong career in media such as Lew Smith, Ray Roberts and others as the situation will not meet their expectations.

From experience, senior workers are aware that it’s not only in Grenada that media worries exist; some who have attended courses outside of Grenada, can attest to that. Show us the media house where the manager finds it easy to cope with creative people; the people at the newsroom get along with the editor; show us the reporter or journalist that does not feel empowered because he or she has a personal telephone number for government officials; Show us the media house where media workers love and respect their manager; and if you can, we will tell you it’s your lucky day so take a chance with Lotto.

We commend the efforts that MWAG has made to train media workers which is a great need if one wants to move up the ladder and still find a job outside of Grenada. Training and qualification play a great role in lobbying for a decent salary. The pay that some workers receive at the end of the month is atrocious. It seems that gone are the days when training was a must, as managers insisted on high standards. Today, it is so unfair that young untrained people are hired in traditional media and are expected to immediately write proper news stories, do great interviews and programmes to differentiate themselves from the writers on social media.

Interestingly, with all the information and even online courses available on the internet, it leaves one to wonder about personal pride on the job. Managers and media owners may find it fitting to not encourage training in a bid to support the low salaries they pay; but should you settle for that?

Media workers, you owe it to yourselves to avoid getting comfortable and letting years past before you become qualified as a professional in what you do.  Here is a little personal test one can do to see if training is needed. It’s a good writing checklist from a Reuter’s course for journalists.

Did you commit any of these errors?

Topped the story with a weak lead; Used the same words in the lead as in a supporting quote; Did not consider which 10 keywords sell the story; Failed to place significance at the top of a story; Focused the story too deeply in the past; overwhelmed the reader with detail too early; deployed and failed to translate or explain jargon.

This appraisal should most certainly show you where you stand in the scheme of things. It is our hope that the senior workers will be invited next time around, there is the need for togetherness!

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