News Alert launched By Shauna Jemmott
Guyana Chronicle
May 23, 2004

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A NEW 30-minute television news cast has hit the Bartica airwaves.

News Alert, a name suggested by Geoffrey Phillips popularly known as `Mighty Rebel’, is aimed at “educating and informing residents (of Bartica) on their activities and events,” founder Rawle Nelson announced at the launching ceremony held Friday evening in the conference room at the National Library at Church Street, in the capital city.

Nelson’s focus is on Health, Environmental and Youth-related issues in the main. He promises an “an investigative and professionally executed newscast.”

Former NCN Radio (then Guyana Broadcasting Corporation) journalist and Senior Communication Officer at Government Information Agency (GINA), Claudette Fredericks, is editor-in-chief of the outfit which began broadcasting on March 21.

Editor-in-Chief of Stabroek News, Mr. David De Caires, delivering the feature address, said Nelson will be rewarded for his energy.

“Energy, courage and willingness to continue one’s education on topics that one is dealing with” were some essential qualities De Caires outlined that are needed in order to succeed in the media business.

“You can survive in very unpromising circumstances if you have the perseverance and the energy,” he told the gathering.

The newspaper veteran included great skill as another requirement for the practice of good journalism and said although it is a popular assertion that anyone can be a reporter, it does not take just anyone to become a first-class journalist.

“To be a good journalist requires skills not any less than those required to be a good lawyer,” he asserted.

De Caires encouraged reporters to constantly raise their levels and become more involved in writing the story to effectively get the message across to its audience(s), since some of what they report depends greatly on what they bring to it. He mentioned being well informed about the society as one of the ways in which reporters can effectively and efficiently report about it.

De Caries said reporters serve the community at the highest reaches by performing their duties which he described as “sacred and honourable”.

Mr. Robert Persaud, in his remarks said he looks forward to a meaningful partnership between GINA and News Alert, and added that “the (Guyana) government is convinced that freedom of the press is one of the pillars of any democracy.”

Persaud said he is thrilled with the idea that another newscast has joined the arena, and he hopes it “present(s) what is, with sincerity and honesty.”

“For too long, remote communities felt only Georgetown and its environs were being blessed with newscasts,” he stated.

Another speaker, Joseph Sing who is Permanent Secretary within the Tourism, Industry and Commerce Ministry, charged the news team to uphold certain standards in executing their duties.

One of those standards, he said, is that journalists should always identify and include the element of timeliness in reporting news, since “timeliness is the essence of journalism.”

Along with that element, professionalism, good ethics, effective money management and excellent marketing plans are among the ingredients for a successful business, Singh advised.

The newscast airs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings on TTS Channel 5 in Bartica.

The news will be presented by Fredericks. Other members of the team are veteran journalist Francis Quamina Farrier, Phillips, Richard Pitman and Zarinah Hameed as reporters, cameramen Rudolph Morris, John Pompey and Patrick Browne-Johnson, and Jeremy Harding as Technical Editor. GMA Executive Secretary Derrick Cummings is Chairman of the Board of Directors and GT&T General Manager Terry Holder, Vice-chairman.

News Alert news reaches audiences in Bartica and neighbouring Makouria, Goshen, Riversview, Koaw Island, Itaballi and further North and South along the Essequibo, Cuyuni and Mazaruni rivers, as well as Parika, a press statement from News Alert stated.

The team plans to launch its website in the near future.