It was an odd day today. I know, most of my days are odd but this one was odder. It was a news producing day today and things were looking bleak by midday. We simply had no stories and I was, as usual, worried and verging on panic despite the amazing Giselle ( who I would steal and take to any company I ever work with) kept reassuring me that things would be fine and in any case she was reading so no matter what developed she would be the one on camera to suffer. Then it happened. While searching for regional news to pad that section I found a story that rather flummoxed me. I found something that suggested there had been another massacre in Guyana.
I was a bit surprised because the story apparently did not have any legs. I could not find it on any of my standard news sources. How could a major story – another massacre in Guyana – not be everywhere including the BBC? A few calls to our sources including a Minister who hung up on Nadine Hackett led us to believe the story was real. Even more strangely a quick internet trip to the usual Kaieteur News and Stabroek News sites showed the story was real. How the heck did this story not make it onto the radar? Even more strangely, speaking to one of my colleagues in another media house, without mentioning the story we had discovered, revealed they had no clue. I might have had a moment of guilt in not telling someone I truly respect about the story but a local exclusive is an exclusive after all. Welcome to the world of friendly competition.
We decided to go with the story as a lead. Nadine called our sources in Guyana and we cobbled together a story which might have not been the best but, given our lack of footage , worked out rather well. Amazingly, to cover the voice of the reporter in Guyana we managed to find her picture on Facebook…who knew it had an actual use? News time arrived and Giselle and I got ready wondering if we would have yet another exclusive. She read and I sat in control and produced. When we reached the weather I ran upstairs to watch the other stations…thank heavens our news is 1/2 hour before anyone else. Not surprisingly Gis ran out of the studio as the news finished to join me. We watched TV6, CNC3, CNMG and as each started their news we crossed our fingers we would not hear the word “Guyana”. Shock of shocks each newscast started with no mention of a massacre.
There are few rewards in journalism other than feeling you have done the best story. Despite the silly concept that there is some glamour in what we do it is usually just a decidedly boring exercise. There is one great thing that excites us usually and that is a scoop. In as much as this is another horror for a great country it was hard to not have a moment of satisfaction when we realized all the other stations had missed the story. Our first headline was “another massacre in Guyana as 8 miners are found dead in Lindo Creek”…it was a risk and I am happy we took it.
Sadly, as crime becomes unavoidable here, I vetted a murder story only to realize when I looked at the story in the editor’s area, that it was someone I knew very well. I never knew him by his real name when I encountered him at work but I just want to say – Trail…I am sorry you are yet another victim.