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One thing about watching Covid news conferences is that I am amazed at the poor state of journalists in T&T. Many cannot speak normally using proper English, or ask sensible questions in a natural speaking manner.

Many times I’ve listened to people ask nonsensical questions or bypass asking subject-related questions for off-tangent questions, almost as if they were required to ask anything to prove they were “working”. Where are the important questions, such as “At our current rate of vaccination, when it is expected that we will achieve herd immunity?”

It is also not surprising that propaganda and misinformation run rampant in T&T. When journalists are hired outright for Government jobs (to silence potentially critical voices) or otherwise influenced by special interests, society suffers as a result.

This is even more important during these Covid times, where all sorts of nonsense makes the round on social media. Journalism should be the vanguard of rational thinking that seeks not only to apply critical analysis, but also debunk false claims/”fake news”.

But instead of doing this, some media take the sensationalistic approach. There is a local TV channel whose nightly news programme I find unwatchable because they try to be “foreign news”, in terms of very little reporting and analysis, but heavy on “it’s quiet now but a while ago blah, blah, blah”.

It’s absurd that the night of initial restaurant closure announcement, considerable airtime was used to highlight how busy KFC was, complete with person-in-line interview. Was this newsworthy?

I’ve heard the toxicity of modern journalism attracts and promotes wrong people. Local journalists who are in a position to mentor as well as the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago need to seriously consider how to improve the state of journalism in T&T.

R Samaroo

via e-mail

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