Oh Sandra

Remembering my friend, the journalist Sandra Chouthi. Read More...
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Great Fete Notes - Day two

Some diary notes from my second day of photographing Great Fete Weekend for the third and final time. Read More...
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Great Fete Notes - Day one

Some diary notes from my first day of photographing Great Fete Weekend for the third and final time. Read More...
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Doubles fun

MCLink
Had a wonderful, if horribly rushed opportunity with Hachette publishers recently to provide the images for a planned story on Doubles in Trinidad for Morning Calm, the inflight magazine of Singapore Airways.

There were just a few days left on the publication's deadline when they contacted me (for reasons that are irrelevant to mention here) and the request came just as Carnival was heating up, but it also was a chance to plunge deep into the world of channa and bara to find out just what was going on there.

Confession. I'm not really a doubles kind of guy, but the folks who love doubles LOVE doubles and have strong, deep, absolute convictions about what constitutes a good sidewalk meal. Quite the learning opportunity.
The other two pages of the story are here...
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Outlish Magazine competes in the DMA's

Outlish.com is now in the running for the Digital Magazine Awards, 2010. Our entries are in, for New Magazine Launch and for Photographer of the Year and fingers are crossed among the crew.

Will we win anything? Who knows? A number of the entries are print shovelware, PDFs of printed documents livened up by online Flash-based presentations and I don't think that's what the judges will be looking for.

But we're also up against some formidable web-based competition, projects with much larger launch budgets than ours (our launch budget was, shall we say, minimal) and much splashier presentations.

What we do have, I sincerely believe, is honesty, authenticity and passion. It should be no secret that Outlish is buoyed almost entirely by the energy and dedication of its contributors, none of whom has drawn a cent in renumeration for any of the 25 issues we have published so far.

Each of the contributors is a digital native and implicitly understands that online publication of anything of value is a slow, steady process of winning a critical mass of readers and the project is doing exactly that. We're sliding up steadily toward 9,000 unique visitors per month and most of those readers are repeat readers, folks who come back again and again to a project that reflects their interests and aspirations.

For those who haven't visited Outlish.com, it's a simple focused magazine. We talk to young people who are entrepreneurial in their outlook across a wide range of disciplines.

This entry is a key point in our development, I think and winning anything is almost beside the point. Outlish online is focused, rich and engaging. It's not for everyone, but it resonates with those who align with its principles and outlook. Our project is confident, capable and robust and there is no contributor to Outlish who feels anything less than pride in what this collective of contributors has achieved by sheer force of will and determination to succeed.

Kudos to our webmaster, Ndelamiko Lord, who recovered from our first hacking in record time and got the site back up with enhanced security and to our bold leader, Karel McIntosh whose sense of organisation makes doing Outlish such a joy and whose vision was so comprehensive and clear that she rallied a group of contributors together behind it with what seemed like no effort at all.

To my colleagues at Outlish I offer a genuine and heartfelt salute for their hard work, to Karel, Quilin and Ndelamiko, I tip my hat to your efforts at keeping the show running so seamlessly. To our readers, I say thank you and hey, bring friends when you visit the Outlish next time around!
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MATT statement on proposed Bagoo ban

The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago posted this statement to their Facebook page. As a courtesy, I am reposting it here for general access.

It was with shock and dismay that the media association learned of the recommendations of the Privileges Committee of the House of Representatives with regard to Mr Andre Bagoo of the Newsday newspaper.

On finding Mr Bagoo guilty of an offence, the committee recommended not only that the newspaper publish an apology, but also that Mr Bagoo be banned from the media gallery of Parliament until the end of the session.

Matt considers this an unjustifiably harsh and highly unusual punishment.

Mr Bagoo had been accused by Information Minister Neil Parsanlal of committing a contempt of Parliament by publishing the proceedings of the Privileges Committee in another matter before those proceedings had been reported to the House.

The association admits that this publication by Newsday was indeed in breach of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

However, in previous cases involving breaches of privilege--including the case prematurely reported by Mr Bagoo, which involved Udecott--once the accused party apologises for the offence, he or she is almost invariably let off and no further action taken. It should be noted that the editor in chief of Newsday, Ms Therese Mills, appeared before the committee and apologised for breaching the Standing Orders.

In addition, in a minority report, three members of the committee disagreed with the recommendations and argued that banning a reporter contravened the constitutionally enshrined freedom of the press. They asked that members of the House reject either the entire report or that recommendation.

Matt endorses this call, and now awaits with apprehension the committee’s findings in the case of two other journalists also sent to the Privileges Committee.

In light of the recommendations in the case of Mr Bagoo, Matt notes with grave concern that a pattern may be emerging of attempted intimidation, by way of the Privileges Committee, of journalists whose reporting may have embarrassed or offended the Government.
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