Home Commentary What Is The Role Of A Journalist Or Social Commentator?

What Is The Role Of A Journalist Or Social Commentator?

by Tony Kelly
0 comment

Tony Kelly resident Diabetes expert

For this article that question is for the readers to think about as with the advent of social media things  get misconstrued  and one needs to be mindful of false narratives  spun in such a way which are far removed from the truth. Embellishment and hyperbole also spring to mind.  As a child my grandmother used to say that not everything in the Bible is the gospel truth and I still hold firmly to that belief.

Written and printed words can be libelous and that is why editors make sure to state that the views expressed  by contributors and feature writers are not necessarily those of the  publication that they are in.

Any writer is entitled to state their opinions on a subject matter  within reason as we all have what is often referred to as our lived/living experience which no one can deny us.  However there also  needs to be a level of  neutrality/impartiality and  independence  and  thereby allow the  readers to make up their own minds  on what has been written.

Most newspapers are known to produce sensationalized headlines as that is what sells the publication. Attention grabbing headlines are as the phrase implies meant to do that and buyers are expected to then part with their money to read what the story is all about. I cannot tell the last time I bought  a newspaper as everything is now readily available online at the touch of a button. The technology is so advanced that websites are able to tell how many times a particular article has been viewed online and which persons or events garner more  interest and are searched and read  more often  by the public.

As one of the online writers for  Caribdirect.com  I cover a range of topics which readers read and digest.  As a member of  many WhatsApp groups, I often receive positive feedback from some  group members.  On a fairly recent occasion an individual  in one of the groups took exception to my fortnightly articles complaining  that  they were not appropriate for the particular  group and I should stop posting them there. Others in the group begged to differ as freedom of expression was viewed as being of paramount importance. They voiced their disapproval adding that they find my articles are  informative, interesting and educational. I had no intention of not sharing them any longer because of one person wanting to be a killjoy.

If only the students of today across the globe were given the basic background to develop their creative writing skills instead of  the text language that most are accustomed to on their hand-held electronic devices and which they  then transfer to use in their written work.  The good old days of essay writing often referred  to back then as compositions as well as  formal letter writing are certainly  not encouraged now and that is a crying shame. This dumbed-down approach has to be halted.

I recall whilst studying at  a university  in Birmingham  and  being a stickler for grammar instilled from my Jamaican primary, secondary and tertiary education, the tutors  began to move away from formal   grammar and were more concerned about the content of essays. I found this a rather strange concept to accept let alone adopt. That modern approach needs  to  stop and be replaced by a return to the old-fashioned method in terms of the rudiments of English grammar.

Someone recently responded after I sent to my WhatsApp contacts the first-rate  interview that the well-known Jamaican journalist, author and broadcaster Barbara Blake-Hannah  did  for  Britain’s  Independent Television (ITV)  with Rohit Kahroo.

I received the following message , ‘‘Yeah you are always late Tony, she is based in Jamaica now… nothing new…’     That is so below the belt as I am quite  familiar with Barbara’s excellent work whilst living in Jamaica  until 1979, the year I migrated,  as she  was the  organizer and driving force behind the annual international film festival  at Carib Theatre in Crossroads, Kingston which started in 1974.  

To use my often quoted saying ‘I don’t do late’ whatever that is supposed to mean in the context aforementioned, there  are many  readers  who are not aware of  this exceptional pioneer who paved the way for others to follow. Within my role as a writer there is a duty and a responsibility to present factual information for the readers to  read and  digest and that was my intention when I chose to share the aforementioned television interview. It  was enlightening as Barbara  Blake-Hannah made reference to aspects of the struggles she encountered as a Black television reporter in England.  0ne of her quotes stated that  ‘Birmingham  was the most racist place I experienced in Britain.’  Some would argue whether the second city which based on the  2021 census data on ethnicity has revealed that it  is one of the first ‘super diverse’ cities in the UK –  with more than 50 percent of the population from an ethnic minority background has  changed for the better in the 21st century.

Knowledge and the sharing of information equates to power and the greatest thing is to know so I take exception to someone instead of commending me for making the television interview more widely accessible, choosing to castigate me for as it was put my lateness and patronizingly  informing  me that Barbara lives in Jamaica and that is nothing new.  One is not averse to being criticized in a constructive way but considering I am au-fait with her work the  comments I received were unnecessary, unhelpful and belittling.

I will end  by attaching the insightful interview Barbara did as it truly is an eye-opener and forms part of  the history and experience of the first Black woman reporter on British television over 50 years ago.

Tony Kelly

Tony Kelly

London born Tony Kelly of Jamaican parents grew up in Jamaica and returned to live in Birmingham in 1979.
He is a graduate of Mico Teachers’ College and taught in Kingston high schools prior to working for 30+ years as a middle manager in central and local government with an emphasis on equity, equality, diversity and inclusion. He has a masters’ degree in socio-legal studies from the university of Birmingham.
For over a decade Tony has volunteered as a diabetes ambassador firstly for Diabetes UK and now for the National Health Service – Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group. A multi-award winner doing a yearly average of 150 health and well-being events, locally, nationally and internationally focusing on type 2 diabetes. He was diagnosed with this medical condition 18 years ago. However with a combination of physical activity and diet he has never taken medication thus proving with the right mindset and discipline it can be achieved.
As a diabetes advocate/activist Tony will continue delivering the message of healthy options to readers of CaribDirect.com .


You may also like

Leave a Comment

Copyright © 2024 CaribDirect.com | CaribDirect Multi-Media Ltd | CHOSEN CHARITY Caribbean New Frontier Foundation (CNFF) Charity #1131481

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy