Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 5th 2014 Contents A33
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"There is a public perception
that this is a glamorous job,"
admits a senior print jour-
nalist, "and in a way the public cannot be
blamed since television and movies portray
journalism as just that."
But in fact, he said, the hours are very
long, and the work gruelling, and combined
with the need for meticulous attention to
detail, that creates a highly stressful job.
The money doesn t make up for it.
Assignments editor at CCN TV6 Marlan
Hopkinson said that traditionally media
practitioners in this country have always
been low paid, but in answering the question
why he believes this is so, Hopkinson joked,
"Maybe media managers should become
reporters for a day or week and then they
will understand how difficult the job is.
Sometimes those that come up the ranks
and become managers forget the rigours
and ultimately they toe the company line."
The Banking Insurance and General
Workers Union (BIGWU) represents staff
at several media houses. BIGWU gave the
Guardian a list of print journalists salaries
for the last two years that range, for entry
level, between $3,000 and $5,600, while
senior reporters starting salaries are any-
where between $9,900 and $12,000.
Television and radio can range between
$4,000 at entry level up to $12,000 at a
producer level over the course of approx-
imately 15 years. Department heads salaries
are varied and are usually negotiated outside
How does this compare to salaries in
The T&T Unified Teachers Association
(TTUTA) provided figures to the Guardian
that show entry-level primary schoolteachers
starting at $8,500 all the way up to a sec-
ondary school principal s entry level salary
at $17,000, ending at just under $20,000.
Continues on Page A34
The senior print journalist said the public does
not realise that a journalist is on call 24 hours a
day, seven days a week.
"News happens whether it's a holiday or not.
Whether it's midnight or 3 am, it happens."
Reporters regularly have to work on weekends
and public holidays, and the work is never 9 to 5.
If a story on a reporter's beat breaks at 5, 6 or 7
pm, he or she is expected as a matter of routine
to cover the assignment and get the story.
Another senior journalist with 25 years'
experience said unlike the North American
model, there isn't a support system with respect
to technology and other resources. This is
compounded by consistent staff shortages, he
told the Guardian, and due to the demands of
day-to-day news reporters often have to rush to
produce several stories by deadline---all of which
increases the stress level.
"Time is extremely important in this business,"
the source added, "and this is the major part the
public doesn't see. The cost to health and familial
Other reporters told the Guardian that unless
journalists are in a relationship with someone in
a similarly demanding profession, families and
spouses do not understand the time and
dedication to the job.
"This is the other cost, hidden to the public," a
The larger cost, journalists said, has to do with
security and safety. Journalists are often sent on
assignment in dangerous areas such as murder
scenes in high-risk areas where they could face
attack or injury, even death, without any form of
On an investigative report at a broadcast
media house, a journalist and camerawoman had
their lives seriously threatened by the
interviewees when an editor mistakenly showed
the faces of the gang members who were giving
an in-depth look at gang warfare. Protection and
surveillance at the employees' homes and
escorts to and from work had to be arranged.
"But every night and every day," a senior
journalist said, "the news comes out, and the
public is none the wiser.
"Don't get me wrong, they're not supposed to
know these things, but the point is they don't
know that this is part of the reality. It's not
Then there's the stress caused by the kinds of
stories media practitioners have to deal with---
for instance, cases such as the murders of
children like Sean Luke and Amy Annamunthodo.
"I broke down crying," one journalist said, "and
how could you not?"
There are many things that traumatise
journalists, she said, from murder scenes to
other stories containing gruesome details that
the public won't know because there are
standards of publication or broadcast that have
to be adhered to. Counselling is not provided by
the company, in most cases, journalists told the
Guardian, except in extraordinary circumstances.
Two weeks ago, Dr Amery Browne
spoke up for journalists in Parliament,
while debating the Libel and
Defamation (Amendment) Bill.
Media workers risk life and limb for
stories and yet are paid poorly, said
Browne, the Diego Martin Central MP.
"They are paid very, very small salaries.
And that encourages them to
moonlight, consult...do lots of other
---FABIAN PIERRE reports on the
reality of life in the media
Members of the media question OWTU President General Ancil Roget outside of Parliament, after their protest demonstration yesterday.
PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE
A river of ice in Greenland has become
the fastest-flowing glacier currently
known in the world, a study suggests.
In summer, the Jakobshavn Glacier---
widely thought to have spawned the ice-
berg that sank the Titanic---is moving
about four times faster than it was in the
The Greenland Ice Sheet has seen
record melting in recent years and would
raise seal levels six metres were it all to
vanish. Details of the research are pub-
lished in The Cryosphere journal.
Ian Joughin of the University of Wash-
ington s Polar Science Center in Seattle
analysed pictures from the German Ter-
raSAR-X satellites to measure the speed
of the glacier. "As the glacier moves we
can track changes between images to pro-
duce maps of the ice flow velocity," said
Dr Joughin, the study s lead author.
In the summer of 2012, the glacier
reached a record speed of more than 17
km per year---more than 46 m per day.
"We are now seeing summer speeds
more than four times what they were in
the 1990s on a glacier which at that time
was believed to be one of the fastest, if
not the fastest, glacier in Greenland."
Greenland glacier hits record speed
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