Media workers urged to get back to basics
Stabroek News
March 17, 2007

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Some two dozen young media workers were yesterday urged to return to the rudiments of the profession in order to lift standards and help make a contribution to the development of the country.

President of the Guyana Press Association (GPA) Dennis Chabrol, opening a two-day workshop under the theme, 'Getting Back to the Basics' at the Hotel Tower yesterday, also urged the media workers to have "this period of hostility" with their fiercest critics make way for an atmosphere of cordiality and mutual respect in which they can enhance the human resource capacity of a largely young, energetic and enthusiastic media corps.

The workshop, which ends today, saw representatives from a wide cross-section of media houses in Guyana.

Chabrol noted that it comes at a time when, "our hard-working" approach has been called into question by President Bharrat Jagdeo. Jagdeo, at the opening of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) officers' conference and at the observance to mark the death anniversary of Dr Cheddi Jagan used significant parts of his speech to criticise the media using words like "lazy" and "fools" to describe them.

"The executive council of the GPA and the wider media fraternity shall never reject criticisms that are made fully cognizant of the context within which we operate. All we ask is that those criticisms be constructive, respectful and seen in the wider national context rather than be used as a weapon of distraction from the challenges that face the wider society such as drugs, gun-crimes, and the introduction of the Value Added Tax. The GPA restates the categorical rejection of Mr Jagdeo's assertions. We are not flawless but we are certainly not lazy or fools. We stand in solidarity with each member of our media family in this unfortunate period," Chabrol said.

Chabrol said the facilitators would engage the trainees in theoretical and practical exercises for both print and electronic media. He said this was deliberate, despite the fact that many of them prefer just one, since in today's era of technological convergence, many media houses preferred multi-skilled and multi-tasked workers.

He cautioned that training will never be valuable and rewarding if what is learnt is not put into practice.

"As young reporters, it is necessary that you firmly and frankly interact with your editors to ensure that you have a chance to apply the theory," he said. He also said editors have a duty to give their subordinates an opportunity to put into practice what they would have learnt at workshops.

Facilitators for the workshop include University of Guyana lecturer, Terrence Esseboom, veteran broadcaster, Ron Robinson and attorney-at-law, Rosemary Benjamin-Noble.

Sponsors of the two-day activity are USAID-Guyana Democratic Consolidation and Conflict Resolu-tion Project, GT&T and Giftland Office Max.