Caribbean journalists attending the Thomson Foundation Multimedia Journalism Workshop in Barbados were urged to recognize that “a word is like a bomb and once it is set free it can do all kinds of damage.”
Delivering the feature address at the opening of the one-week workshop on Monday, Harold Hoyte; Editor Emeritus of the Nation Newspaper in Barbados also reminded the journalists of the important role that they have to play in the media.
He spoke of the technology that is now available and the “instantaneous nature of which information is transmitted,” while recognizing that journalists have to be on the ball to meet deadlines.
The workshop is being conducted by Dan Mason; online editor from the United Kingdom and Senior Consultant & Media Trainer through the British High Commission.
At the opening ceremony too, was British High Com-missioner, Paul Brummell who welcomed the 15 journalists who hail from Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.
Hoyte said too that, “It is critical that journalists of the Caribbean are made aware of the challenges which we face as a people and the solution which you literally have at the palm of your hand.”
According to him, “More than any generation of Caribbean people you are capable of reconciling the differences and the disparities which people in North Africa and more recently in North America have identified.”
In order to effect the change, he noted, Caribbean media must have a clear understanding of the make-up of the society of which they are a part.
He pointed out that journalists are in a position to assist decision makers and can reach all relevant persons “in any given situation and encourage and even influence their reaction.”
While the media has been an essential tool for change, journalists must develop a critical attitude to the change that is taking place regarding technology.
He emphasised that they must continue to ask the ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘when’ and ‘where’ questions and must also be brave enough to ask ‘why’ and even ‘why not.” The “journalism-jellyfish,” he said “should never be used other than to carry other people’s messages, noting that “it has been people of certain vigilance and a selfless attitude who have made journalism a source for change.” He noted that the Caribbean, being one of the most fragmented regions of the world creates a challenge for journalists but with “new media and the immediacy which technology delivers we are slowly discovering a Caribbean awareness and commonality.”
“It is critical that the journalists of the Caribbean are made aware of the challenges which we face as a people and the solution which you literally have at the palm of your hand,” he noted.