Sunday, October 31, 2010

Should more local content be aired on our local television stations?

By H. Murray

Have you ever turned on your television set onto one of the local stations to watch the news and left it on past an hour only to wonder if you were still on the same channel, as the programming was from one of those American networks?
There are about 13 television stations in Trinidad and Tobago, most of which are on Cable, with only about four that operate nationally.
There are scores of international cable channels, predominantly American, yet still some of the local stations still find it necessary to include a large amount of foreign content in their programming.
Imagine you can find shows like USA’s Burn Notice, Lifetime’s Army Wives, NCIS, CSI, Without a Trace, Ellen DeGeneres, Desperate Housewives  as well as various sitcoms throughout the night and day on these local stations. Several of these shows follow closely behind the new episodes from the American Networks and one can imagine the cost for such popular, foreign shows.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that some of the popular shows or movies cannot form part of the local programming, but at a minimal, to perhaps accommodate people who live in rural areas and do not have access to Cable.
Some may say that there isn’t a lot of local content to broadcast, but I beg to differ. There are a couple  of stations that broadcast all local or even Caribbean content.  Local does not have to be restricted to Trinidad and Tobago, we are part of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and we share some of their culture.
Yet how many local or Caribbean movies, films, documentaries or even sitcoms do we see on our local stations? And there are numerous materials. You only hear about or see them during the annual Film Festivals we host here. Someone very close to me is in his last year of a BA in Film at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. After his class graduates, what’s next? Students have graduated before them and have made films and documentaries. Has anyone of you seen any?
The Fourth Estate (the media) is supposed to be the voice of the people, not only when they are in trouble but also when they are trying to get their messages, in this case creations, across. I think it’s time they approach the Film students at UWI and try to give them a platform where they can create and have their films/documentaries aired.
Don’t think for one second that the Media Companies may not be aware of the Film Degree at UWI, because some of their employees are enrolled in the programme.
As it relates to Caribbean films, if you do some checking you would see that the directors of some of these films are Trinbagonians. We need to give them the encouragement to produce local/Caribbean content or they will simply migrate to where their skills are needed and appreciated.  To the local stations that do air predominately local content, hats off to you, but to the others I think it’s time you guys get on the local bandwagon. 

'Trini to d Bone' returns

So what do you think, should more local content be aired on T&T television stations?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Should the T&T media be more ethical in their coverage of tragedy and grief?

By K. Wilson

How often do you open the newspaper or watch the  7 o'clock news and see the scenes of horrific accidents with the bodies of the victims sprawled out uncovered on the highway, a street or in a drain. What effect does this have on the mother, father, children and other relatives of these victims who would be scarred for life?
For example, a couple of months ago a municipal police officer was shot and killed in an attempted carjacking by bandits along the Uriah Butler Highway near the Grand Bazaar traffic lights. The picture of him lying dead on the road, still holding his car keys, was on the front page of all the major newspapers and shown on prime time newscasts on different TV stations. This was one of the most insensitive coverage of a story that I’ve seen in recent times with reporters going so far as to visit the family at their home in such an obvious time of grief and place a camera and microphone in their faces, asking them asinine questions, such as, how they felt about what has happened. 
I am questioning the ethics of our media and after some research I learned that there really aren’t any established set of rules or guidelines of ethical behaviour for local journalists. However, I looked at the code of ethics for the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), part of which states: Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children. Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief. Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. 
Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance. I wish our local media will take note of this and be more responsible and sensitive in their reporting.

NB: Only Newsday front pages were used in this article as they were the only ones accessible via the local newspaper online archiving system.


Do you think the local media should be more ethical in their coverage of tragedy and grief?


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Has the media turned our cultural Caribbean cuisine nation into a fast food federation?

By C. Felix

Trinidad and Tobago was once an island known for its local cuisines which were handed down from generations to generations for centuries from all ethical backgrounds.  
The East Indians brought a range of curry tongue-tingling delicacies while the Africans brought their own delicious creole flavours, making Trinidad and Tobago the taste bud paradise of the world. In other words, Trinbagonians could 'reallll' cook.
However, with fast food influences from abroad being magnified by the dominating media, Trinbagonians are quickly loosing the ‘sweet hand’ we could have proudly boasted of just a few years ago. 
Instead of one spending 40 minutes over a pot to make a healthy tasty beef pelau or dhal, rice and curry fish, we prefer to spend $60 on a medium pizza or $40 on a 4-piece chicken and fries daily, which by the way research has proven are filled with so much unhealthy trans-fats that it slowly clogs your arteries, killing you while you eat.
It cannot be that these fast food are so popular in Trinidad and Tobago because of the ‘fastness’ because if you have ever been to a local fast food outlet, you would definitely see that the lines are extremely long, notice the very unsanitary conditions (particularly in the bathrooms) and the service is unbearably slow which is also accompanied with hoggish customer service representatives.
It's simply because the media have pushed the convenience of fast food so extensively throughout the world that we now wonder how the hell can we live without fast food, which companies spend millions of dollars on monthly advertising  to ensure the messages are delivered and registered.
The speed, the luxury of not cooking, the yummy taste;  all these messages and thousands more like it are being fed to us in all 'forms and fashion' - Internet, billboards, television, posters, banners, etc. All this effort to ensure that you the public are hooked on fast food.
As for me, the fast food brainwash of the dominant media can take a back burner because nothing beats my great-grand-mama's curry crab and dumplings washed down by some sweet homemade passion-fruit punch.

What's your opinion?  Do you think the media turned our cultural Caribbean cuisine nation into a fast food federation?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Media: To Brainwash or not to Brainwash?

By K. Johnson

It was Friday evening, the rain was pouring in Port of Spain. I had one goal that evening and that was to get out of the capital city before it started to flood. As I made my way down Frederick Street I was forced to stop to shelter the rain in front of one of the stores that lined the street. Standing next to me, one of the students shouted “Deuces b***es!!!”  Apparently Chris Brown’s song Deuces has finally started to serve its purpose.  
That incident made me wonder how many of us 'closed-mindedly' absorb what the media feed us and regurgitate some of the nonsense as though its “We ting”. If we look around in our society now we see that the media have started to fold new cultures into our already fading culture. We see evidence of this when we hear Trinbagonians (young people in particular) speak, when we look at their attitudes - just looking at them communicate reeks of international influences through the media. Since when we as Trinbagonians use the term “bumbaclot” – which in Jamaica means "king of curse words”…or phrases like “me afi go pon d bed” which means “ I have to go on the bed.”  And there are numerous other phrases that sometimes makes me feel like I am in ‘little Jamaica’.  
Sometimes it’s even hard to distinguish some of our local artistes from the Jamaican artistes. Language is supposed to be one of the tools that help to define our identity as a society.
The question here is, are we not satisfied with the way we speak? Or do we just copy and speak what we are frequently exposed to and bombarded with by the media?
So for now I am just waiting to see what new slang we are going to adopt…But even with that said I hope we just stick to just the slang and not behaviour such as this…

Plain talk, bad manners

What do you think, is the media in fact brainwashing us?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fashion and Styles - Do we or the media determine what we wear?

By S. Elie

For generations, the media has shaped our fashion sense through music, videos, advertising and television shows. From pictures of Prince with "jerry curls" to Kartel’s  song, Straight Jeans.
My question is, has the media gone too far? 
I recently went out with a guy, and like a typical female, I took quite sometime choosing what to wear, making sure that everything was right; hair, make up, shoes and jeans. That night  I saw at least 20 girls in my jeans and this was just outside of the club. Then  inside, though the club was packed and the DJ on par, I couldn’t help but wonder between my date and I, whose jeans were tighter. This bothered me, mainly because I took such a long time looking for those jeans, settling for nothing less. I wanted the jeans that I saw Beyonce, Tyra and Faye Ann wearing, and I guess he wanted the jeans that he saw Chris Brown, Kartel and T.C. wearing.
After the date I couldn’t help but wonder why I had to have those jeans, then it dawned on me, the media. Through music played on the radio, music videos, ads and pictures in print and the electronic media, I learnt that I needed to dress a particular way. I had to get those jeans.  I bought into everything I saw and heard, buying “their” concept of fashion hook, line and sinker. 
I am sure that you can finish these songs - Straight jeans and fitted..., or, Ah way yuh get dat new Clarks dey daddy…, maybe this one, wey them blackers  at  wey them blackers at …, or a song that was my anthem for a while, Auda Marva Kay Watch,  dimples in your neck tie, Hermez briefcase, Cartier top clips, silk line blazers, diamond cream facials, vvs cuff links, six star pimp suites...
Kartel brought back skinny jeans and Clarks for men, Rihanna ushered back black and after Beyonce wore a shirt  as a dress in her Upgrade You video, men’s shirts became fashionable to women.
We are surrounded by media influence everyday, whether it be radio, television, pictures and ads in newspapers, magazines and on billboards, videos on television and the internet, even our local presenters dress in the new trends. We are bombarded with this concept of fashion by the media. 
I like this guy, but I can't help but think that if we took our jeans off we might have difficulty deciding whose is whose.
Plain talk; bad manners

What do you think, has the media shaped our fashion sense?

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