BEING A JOURNALIST DOESN’T MEAN YOU ARE THE NEWS

KINGSTON, November 26 – It is Journalism Week in Jamaica and the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) is celebrating 70 years as a body. The week has a variety of events which looks at topics relevant to the profession while celebrating those who have contributed for an extended period of time. 

One of the public sessions discussed “The role of media facilitating economic development”while another will focus on Years of Modern Journalism in Jamaica hosted by the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communications (CARIMAC). The week will culminate with the national awards and the Journalist of the Year will be announced from the shortlist of Tyrone Reid, Dionne Jackson Miller, Karyll Walker and George Davis. 

 

Lots of issues have emerged for a more in depth look at practices of journalists and media houses – some of which I hope my colleagues would be able to discuss and offer solutions. Here are some examples 

Social Media and its impact on Traditional media – has it helped?

  1. The changing Caribbean landscape – can media help in Caribbean Unity
  2. Sport performance – how has Jamaica and the region fared?
  3. Are politicians being treated with Kids’ gloves?
  4. Investigative Journalism – A thing of the past?
  5. What of Climate Change?

These are just some topics I can recommend. I hope these can be aired soon . 

I want to jump to the headline though as I think more and more journalists are becoming the news and way too much. I know celebrity journalists exist, but I think in our context it is happening way too much. Journalism still is preparing, engaging and publishing or broadcasting information geared at informing, educating and entertaining, nothing about being the news. So let us stop ‘fronting’ and get back to work. 

Here are some tips:

1. Remember our beat days – get back on the streets and talk to the people 

2. Follow up on information that is relevant 

3. Add value to the work already done 

4. Use valuable and credible sources 

5. Keep that phone book handy, or in this case smart phone

6. Be a trusted source of information 

7. Leave a legacy of being known as someone who can be trusted while being on the A-list of those called to be told a story 

Happy Journalism weeks my pals and good luck to the candidates for the Journalists of the year. 

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