As part of the British Council's Commonwealth Class programme, over 90 Secondary schools' students in Trinidad and Tobago attended the first ever Caribbean Newsroom Youth Symposium featuring leading local journalists from BBC, CCN TV6 and CNC3.

Former BBC journalist and founder of the Bocas Lit Festival, Marina Salandy-Brown, was the feature speaker. The Caribbean Newsroom Youth Symposium was hosted by the British Council, in collaboration with students from COSTAATT’s Ken Gordon School of Journalism and Communication Studies.

The University of Trinidad and Tobago’s auditorium at the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA) was the venue for this symposium. Attendees were given the opportunity to listen to real life and applied experiences from prominent local journalists. Our aim in this initiative was to introduce young people to the field of journalism by the very professionals in the industry. The Caribbean Newsroom Youth Symposium was not simply an information event. This event also created opportunities for young people to interact directly with local media professionals and engage in discussion on current issues. These prospective journalists were given a holistic perspective on what it takes to be a journalist along with the different fields of journalism.

Some of the topics included:

  • Experiences Working in a Newsroom
  • Ethics in Journalism
  • Photojournalism
  • Social Media's Impact on News
  • Introduction to COSTAATT's Journalism Programme

The Caribbean Newsroom Youth Symposium is similar to the Future News International Young Journalists' Conference. As part of the Commonwealth Games legacy programme, the British Council selected over 100 young people from across the Commonwealth. These individuals were selected to attend the Future News International Young Journalists’ Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in April this year. Four students from COSTAATT’s journalism and communication studies programmes represented Trinidad and Tobago. An additional four students from Jamaica were selected so that there was a strong Caribbean presence in Glasgow. Participants benefitted from an international programme with contributing partners such as BBC, CNN and Reuters.

Eager to share their experiences and implement a similar event in Trinidad & Tobago, the COSTAATT students were an integral part of planning the Caribbean Newsroom Youth Symposium. The target audience comprised Secondary schools’ students pursuing studies in media and communications. This event was a successful one and plans are underway for a repeat event next year.

Please see below for the speakers' biographies:

Feature speaker: Marina Salandy-Brown

Marina Salandy-Brown is founder and director of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

The prestigious literary festival that takes place annually in Trinidad and Tobago. The non-profit Bocas Lit Fest started in 2010 with the objective of promoting Caribbean writers and advancing publishing in this region. It partners with various local, regional and international agencies, including the British Council and Commonwealth Foundation, in several literary initiatives and runs a series of prizes for Caribbean writing across different genres and levels. The multi-faceted annual 5-day literary festival attracts international writers and visitors to Trinidad and Tobago every April and has been a game changer for Caribbean writers.

For the first 4 years of its existence Marina was executive director of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and since 2005 she has been a consultant with the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company. In recognition of her contribution in these cultural fields of literature and film the UWI conferred an honorary doctorate upon her last year.
Marina returned to live in TnT ten years ago after a 20-year career with the BBC in London, having made her way up from researcher in arts and current affairs to executive in BBC News. Her time in the BBC was one of immense change in that organization and she played an active part in that change in relation to the BBC’s employment policies and the content of its programmes.

As a programme maker she won several awards including the coveted
• Sony Gold Award for Best News Programme in 2000
• Radio Journalist of the Year in 1994
• New York Festivals Award, Silver in 1992
• Programme of the Year, UK Television and Radio Industries Club in 1990
• Sony Silver Award Most Creative Use of Radio in 1988

In 2005 the University of Westminster in London conferred her first honorary doctorate upon her for excellence in broadcasting and her role in reshaping the media environment in Britain. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts in Britain, and on the occasion of Trinidad and Tobago’s 50-year Independence, she received an award from the TnT government for service to Trinidad and Tobago while in Britain. Upon returning to live in Trinidad Marina worked for 8 years as a media consultant throughout the Caribbean and has trained hundreds of regional broadcast journalists. Since 2006 she has also been involved in print journalism as a columnist for Newsday, the TT daily newspaper.

Senior lecturer at COSTAATT: Earl Best

Earl Best is a senior lecturer at COSTAATT

Earl Best taught at QRC for two undergraduate years (1969-71). He returned to teach cricket, football, French and Spanish there from 1974 to 1992 with a break from 1979 to 1982. Mr. Best studied Translation and Interpreting in France. From 1992 to 1996 he was an associate editor at the Guardian with responsibility for the Sports Desk and then Sports Editor at the Express from 1996 to 2002, with a brief stint as acting Sunday Editor in the first half of 1997. He was also Copy Editor at the Trinidad and Tobago Review for a couple of years before being hired to lecture in Language and Journalism at COSTAATT.

CCN TV6 news reporter: Jabari Fraser

Jabari Fraser is a journalist at CCN TV6

He has worked at the Caribbean New Media Group and on the Sport Desk of the Trinidad Guardian. Jabari is also a freelance contributor for pan-Caribbean news website, Caribbean Intelligence and for the British Television Network's ITV News. He has filed breaking news stories for the Associated Press, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and done features for the BBC Caribbean Service. Jabari always sees social media as vital tools for any modern journalist. He is always logged in.

Assignments editor at i95.5fm: Jenelle Wilson

Jenelle Wilson is the assignments editor at i95.5fm

Jenelle has over 10 years experience in media as a senior reporter, senior editor, news anchor, writer, producer, interviewer and at times talk show host. As assignments editor she plays an important role in events covered by the news team and the suitability of the contents of such events for the major newscasts. She also plays a part in training new members of staff to read, write and conduct interviews. Ms. Wilson’s professionalism and her ability to adapt to any work environment have won her many stripes in the journalistic field.

Chair Department of Journalism and Media COSTAATT: Joel Nanton

Joel Nanton is chair of the Department of Journalism and Media at COSTAATT

Joel Nanton is a former journalist, having served as editor of the Express Business before transitioning into academia, where he is now chair of the Department of Journalism and Media at COSTAATT. Mr. Nanton has substantial experience in writing and editing for various forms of media as well as delivering training in media and communications. He conceptualized and ran a journalism internship programme as a consultant to the Trinidad Express in 2007/8 and continues to conduct training in communication techniques, presentation skills, speech writing and media relations for other clients. In addition, he is the founder and chief consultant at JN Consultants Ltd, where he is the brain behind the company’s mission to help clients improve their communication processes and media relations to achieve their goals.

Executive Producer CNC3: Sampson Nanton

Sampson Nanton is the Executive Producer at CNC3

Sampson Nanton has 17 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism. He began his career in journalism in 1996 as a business reporter with the Daily Newsday in Trinidad and relocated to Tobago In July 2001 where he served as head of operations at the Daily Newsday's Tobago Bureau. In April 2003 Sampson joined Caribbean Communications Network TV6 in Trinidad as a senior reporter. He left CCN TV6 in August 2005 to become a founding member of Cable News Channel 3. Sampson has served as a panellist on media affairs on several occasions and has participated in dozens of seminars on journalism across the Caribbean and the United States, with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the International Press Institute, the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, the Caribbean Media Corporation and the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Senior lecturer at COSTAATT: Roddy Batchasingh

Roddy Batchasingh is a senior lecturer at COSTAATT

Roddy Batchasingh has been teaching at the tertiary level of education for 11 years now. Mr Batchasingh holds a Masters degree in International Journalism from City University, London. He did his first degree at UWI, St Augustine, in English Literature. He has extensive work experience in journalism, corporate communications, advertising, and marketing. Mr Batchasingh is also a British Council Chevening Scholarship winner, and has, over the time that he has taught at COSTAATT lectured 16 different courses; including courses in Journalism, Literature, and Mass Communication.

Conference student organisers

Natasha Twum

Natasha is one of four students that represented Trinidad and Tobago at the Future News International Young Journalists' Conference in Glasgow, Scotland in April earlier this year. She currently works at the i95.5 radio station as a news reporter. She is a full time and third year student at COSTAATT and is pursuing her Bachelors degree in Mass Communication.

Renee Ravello

Renee is another student that represented Trinidad and Tobago at the Future News International Young Journalists' Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. At just 19 years, she is an avid lover of everything involved with the field of journalism. Renee has experiences in both radio and television. Additionally, she runs her own writing blog, can read and write in Korean and is a full time and first year student at COSTAATT pursuing her Associates Degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

Shivani Narinesingh

Shivani also represented Trinidad and Tobago at the Future News International Young Journalists' Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.  She is an 18 year old budding young journalist with a passion for the arts. Shivani is a full time and third year student at COSTAATT and is pursuing her Bachelors degree in Mass Communication. In addition, she is a Do-it-Yourself (DIY) blogger and freelance graphic designer.

Terrell George

Terrell is the fourth candidate that represented Trinidad and Tobago at the Future News International Young Journalists' Conference in Glasgow. He is a part-time and final year at COSTAATT's Tobago campus pursuing his Associate Degree in Journalism and Public Relations. He is a self-taught multidisciplinary designer, certified photographer and an aspiring Creative Director in the field of Advertising and Digital Media.

See also