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How can editors nurture media talent in the Caribbean?

Lelei LeLaulu - How can editors nurture media talent in the Caribbean?
Lelei LeLaulu

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Are Caribbean news editors doing enough to develop young reporters in the region? Or is their inattention turning off much needed talent?

The media is used to scrutinizing others, but the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx) will turn the tables and subject the inner workings of journalism to self examination.

“How can it be anything but healthy to encourage the media to examine itself,” asked Lelei LeLaulu, president of Counterpart International, organizers of CMEx.

“Maybe we have to work with editors to ensure they have the tools and skills they need to realize the enormous potential they possess for improving the quality of the coverage of tourism, the region’s most important industry,” said LeLaulu, himself a former journalist.

“We ignore the value of responsible desk editors at our own risk,” LeLaulu asserted, “and in San Juan I look forward to some creative proposals for reinvigorating this key element of quality media coverage.”

These will be some of the issues vented at the 8th edition of the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx), to be held in Puerto Rico early next year even as delegates examine how to attract the best and brightest Caribbean minds to the region’s tourism industry.

Organizers of the media and tourism talks announced that plans are moving apace for the February 9-13, 2006 meeting which will examine the theme “Sustainable Development: A Balancing Act”, and how to motivate the region’s best people to engage in tourism development which creates wealth while cultivating local culture and conserving the fragile environment.

Dr. Basil Springer, chairman of Counterpart Caribbean, co-producer of the meeting, said the conference will take a serious look at the quality of journalism in the Caribbean region, and how news rooms can best use the talents of local journalists.

A number of the region’s senior media managers and promising reporters have confirmed their attendance for the meeting which comes on the heels of a successful session in Nassau early this month, which tackled Caribbean niche marketing.

“Emerging from the Nassau meeting, there was consensus that the media was a crucial player in regional sustainable development – and must play a stronger role in educating the public on issues of the day,” said Dr. Springer, who warned that media houses need to be united in their vision, and take steps to harmonize operations and unify vision in the news room. “Young reporters must have a say in what news to report and how to cover it, and in identifying training opportunities to sharpen their skills,” said Dr. Springer, a columnist with the Barbados Advocate.

The San Juan meeting has attracted top media minds such as Wesley Gibbings of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers; Anthony Audain, Chief Executive Officer, The Nation Corporation in Barbados; Dennis Joseph, Managing Director of Q95 F.M in Dominica; Patrick Cozier, Secretary General of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union; and Dolores Vicioso of DR1 News in the Dominican Republic.

Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) Pamela Richards, CTO Secretary General Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, and President of the Caribbean Hotel Association, Berthia Parle have each been invited to attend the meeting, while youth delegate Kenrick Quashie of St. Vincent; Jared McCallister, editor at New York’s Daily News; and Jamaican Noel Brown, president of the Friends of the United Nations, have confirmed their attendance.

The CMEx meeting, known for its intimate, lively interactive format will whet the appetite of participants planning to attend the Annual Sustainable Tourism Conference, mounted by the CTO and its partners in Puerto Rico next spring.



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