The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC) concluded a six-week energy journalism training which saw local and regional journalists tuning in online every Wednesday from June 03rd to July 08th 2020 to learn more about the energy sector.
Resource professionals comprising local and international energy industry experts, academics, and senior journalists with experience in the field, presented at consecutive sessions. This training programme was hosted by the Media Institute of the Caribbean and sponsored by NGC. Each session covered a specific aspect of energy reporting and was intended to increase awareness of the main issues in the regional energy sector and to promote journalistic best practices in the coverage of the industry.
According to veteran Broadcaster/Journalist Vernon O’Reilly Ramesar, a session participant, “The webinar provided a broad range of perspectives that helped to shed light on the present and future of a complex industry. It also guided journalists on sources and methods for deep diving into a key sector of the economy that is often shielded from investigation.”
NGC sees this initiative as a step toward building a cadre of media professionals with a stronger understanding of the energy sector, which may appear to be mysterious to many non-energy professionals. The role of the media in shedding light on this industry cannot be overemphasized with the wider society relying on journalists to provide the information and insights that assist in increasing their understanding of the industry.
Additionally, the energy sector remains a major contributor to our local economy and has played an integral role in the development of Trinidad and Tobago. As such, clarity and knowledge-sharing are seen as integral parts of demystifying the energy sector for journalists and by extension the wider society.
The major topics covered in the webinar series included:
- News Angles in the Energy Sector – facilitated by Noah Brenner, Houston Bureau Chief, Energy Intelligence, who discussed Regional Developments, Global Trends, and finding the angles for various stories
- Energy Contracts and reporting – facilitated by Jay Park QC, Managing Partner, Park Energy Law, London & Calgary who gave insights into energy agreements and contracts with both domestic and international business partners.
- Finance & The Economy – facilitated by Mark Wilson, Veteran Business Journalist who discussed international oil and gas markets, interpreting financial statements, and the energy sector impact on the economy.
- Energy Reporting from a Multimedia perspective – facilitated by Brant Houston, Executive Director, Investigative Reporters & Editors who took a look at data journalism specific to the energy sector.
- A panel discussion with presentations by Mark Loquan, President, NGC; Dr. Thackwray Driver, CEO of The Energy Chamber; Canute James, journalist (former FT Caribbean Correspondent) and Gregory McGuire, Energy Analyst.
NGC President, Mark Loquan, noted the importance of this initiative, stating that, “As citizens of this country, we must all be made aware of the importance of the energy industry in building our nation, as well as in the larger picture of Caribbean development. This sector is the backbone of our economy, and with better understanding of the sector our local and regional media practitioners can provide clear, concise and accurate information to the public. We are heartened by the response to the virtual sessions and am proud to have partnered with MIC to offer this opportunity to the Caribbean media practitioners. Sustainable use of resources continue to be an ongoing conversation on an international stage, and it is one in which we must play an active role.”
Kiran Maharaj, President of MIC also saw the importance of this session and added that “NGC allowed our region’s journalists a unique opportunity to gain better insight of the energy sector from some of the best in the media and energy sectors. The participants were very appreciative and said that what they learned surpassed other such training series. Media Institute of the Caribbean is proud to have partnered with NGC.”