Analysis Versus Rubbish From Our Nation Newspaper


In the coming weeks and months, BU will be highlighting what we believe to be deficiencies in the Barbados media. We have written extensively on the role of the Fourth Estate and its importance to commit to report on the news accurately. What is equally important is for the journalists to present the news after applying the basics of What, When, Where, How, and Why. The two quotes below adequately illustrate the glaring inadequacy of our leading daily newspaper.

The two articles highlight the performance of RBTT a leading regional bank. The first article published by the Trinidad Express gives a detailed analysis of the banks performance which any idiot should be able to follow. The second article published by our own Nation newspaper published a public relations release obviously issued by the bank. We would have thought given the fact that RBTT operates a bank in Barbados, the Nation newspaper would have felt obligated to provide the public with voluminous analysis of the banks’ performance. This is in light of a pending acquisition by Royal Bank of Canada.


Flat financial results were the order of the day for RBTT Financial Holdings Limited (RBTT). For the nine months ended December 31, 2007 the Group reported an EPS of $1.95, a 1.5 per cent decrease over the previous financial year’s nine month EPS of $1.98.

Net Income of the Bank underwent a marginal 6.6 per cent increase from $2.21B to $2.36B. The sole contributor to this increase was Net Interest Income which increased 12.5 per cent. However, the Other Income component endured a 2.8 per cent reduction. Operating Expenses for the nine months increased 8.5 per cent year on year to $1.46B, while the Bank recorded an Impairment Expense of $6.4M compared to $20.1M last year.

Read More in the Trinidad Express…

RBTT FINANCIAL HOLDINGS LTD has reported US$145 million in pre-tax earnings for the nine-month period ended December 31, 2007, a five per cent increase over the corresponding 2006 period. Group chairman Peter July said the profit attributable to shareholders, US$107 million, was affected by a higher effective group tax rate that moved from 21 per cent to 25 per cent mainly due to changes “to tax legislation in one jurisdiction, increased provision for tax assessments, and higher taxable income generated by our retail banking entities”.

As a result, the banker reported diluted earnings per share, US$0.31 vis-a-vis US$0.32 for the same nine-month span last year.

Read More in the Nation newspaper…

We will let our readers judge for themselves.



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12 thoughts on “Analysis Versus Rubbish From Our Nation Newspaper

  1. The Trinidad paper is dealing with an overall performance of the company without any reported speech by the Group Chairman. The Barbados paper is dealing with various highlights of performance by the Group Chairman. It is a precis of the overall outlook of the bank as quoted by the Group Chairman.

    The Chairman dealt with Pre tax earning (see paragraph 4); “higher taxation rate” etc, etc. This is as clear as mud. What is the problem?

  2. Just printing quotes from a press release with trite analysis or a dearth of it. Not good enough. Ever read Wall Street Journal, Globe and Mail or Financial Times?

  3. The two newspapers in Barbados routinely regurgitate news scraped from the international services like BBC, Reuters etc. If we take the Advocate as an example in any one day you can struggle to read five original stories. Our investigation suggests that this is a cost saving measure by the owners of the advocate. It is why they can usually publish their online version of their next day rag before 11PM most nights.

    It is only a matter of time before people realize that there are alternatives this is especially true with the young generation who are loathed to buy the traditional ‘paper’ newspaper anyway.

    In the United States for example blogs have been integrated into news delivery and are making a contribution. It is so obvious how traditional newspapers can use blogs to promote and safeguard freedom of expression. It is also regrettable that Dr. Don Marshall after singing the praises of the blogs leading up to the last election has mysteriously made an about turn. It is myopic that Professor Michael Howard has continued to spurn our requests for comments.

    Shouldn’t academics attempt to feed the masses wherever they elect to congregate? In this case we have a large gathering who find it acceptable to search for news in the virtual market place. This is a sad case of affairs when one considers that the educated in our midst should serve as change agents in our societies.

  4. BU,

    This will be an interesting exercise. I have always maintained that the Nation newspaper is good only at printing ‘press releases’. Their original news articles are usually a string of sentences that are put together in a way that leaves you with more questions than answers. I could never understand how this paper could publish ‘news articles’ where there were obviously no investigations done nor any attempt to fill in the blanks beyond what a PR officer says.

    If you read the Washington Post, you will see how thorough they are when they are reporting. I suppose it is unfair to compare the 2 newspapers, but the nation needs to up its performance specifically in the area of investigative journalism.

    There are also a couple journalists whose styles are very annoying to me. They use the same words and the same phrases regardless of the story. It is as if they start with a template and change the relevant words depending on the story.

    I dont like to criticise in a vacuum, so I promise to examine some of the online articles more closely today to give some clear examples of my own where deficiencies are.

  5. Their original news articles are usually a string of sentences that are put together in a way that leaves you with more questions than answers.
    You are absolutely right with the ‘press release’ journalists we have today, no wonder our journalistic standards are below par. Gone are the days when journalist get off their bums and get in the field and find out things by befriending certain people that might be privy to certain information. Nowadays, we have ‘internet’ journalist or you can say ‘press release’ journalists. We do not have “pro-active” journalists, but simply “re-active” journalists. Journalism now is a UWI thing, and not a profession like yesteryear. No wonder the standards have drop. Another area is research and planning with the media. Once before journalist attend press conferences and the amount of pertinent questions usually make the person sweat. Nowadays, journalists can only ask questions, if any, when a laptop is in front of them. These people depend on a computer instead of using brains.

  6. This is an interesting, timely and useful thread. Keep the examples coming, BU.

    The comment above about Bajan ‘journalism’ being a UWI thing these days is spot on.

    Many of the writers (on The Advocate especially) are recent UWI graduates with absolutely no journalistic training and severely limited writing skills. It’s hardly surprising that the quality of their reportage is so poor.

    Our two dailies are a local disgrace (though at least The Nation, unlike The Advocate, is by and large properly sub-edited), and a regional embarrassment when compared to (say) The Jamaican Gleaner, The Trinidad Express or The Starbroek News.

    The only paper we have with decent journalism is The Broad Street Journal.

  7. Incidentally, did anyone see the long letter in Sunday’s Advocate that virulently attacked Bajan blogs – mentioning BFP and BU by name?

    We found a link to a sister blog with the story.


  8. The fact that many of the reporters lack the experience and are UWI trained is not an indictment in itself. more of concern is the lack of experience available to guide the young ones in the profession. in the odd case where there is experience the poor financial health of the Advocate acts as a blocker. In the case of the Nation it is in a comfort soon born of a lack of competition with the doe rolling in. No need to rock the boat eh?

    We want to remind readers that BU is a blog which represents in large part the opinions of the BU household.

    We found a link to a sister blog with the story.


  9. Without a copy of the paper to hand I’d misremembered one thing: the letter doesn’t actually mention BU or BFP.

    It’s pretty clear though that it’s you guys the writer is lambasting.

    Did you note how he tries to intimidate you in his final paragraph…?

  10. samizdat~please see the link above. The authorities can come after TWO blogs out of the several but surely they know it is an Osama Bin Laden exercise. More will spring up. Look all around and we can see that people when they reach the tipping point will risk body and limb to acquire freedoms.

    We also want to remind the detractors of BU and BFP that it is easy to pick on a view and use it in a general argument why our opinions are dangerous. We agree that there is a place for conformity but we also agree that the freedom to express of ideas and opinions is a wonderful thing.

  11. Another area regarding journalism within the fourth estate is the respect that the main stream journalist and the one we are constant overlooking, “the photo journalist” had in the past with influential people in business and the ‘man in the street’ informers. This was due to these professionals going into places like Mustor and others, eating with the common man and listening to the mouthings of people.

    Modern day journalist prefer to go into a fast food place or a high end restaurant and whisperings are the order of the day. No food for thought. Journalists of today know more about personal gossips from places like ‘facebook’ and the lot. If you want to be a successful journalist, you will have to change your hip hop UWI journalistic approach and hit the ground running, not the nightclubs.

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