LITTLE BAY, Sint Maarten - On May 15 – 16, 2014, the Workshop Media Training for government public relations (PR) officers took place at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. The workshop was attended by PR-officers from the Tourism Office, press officers of the Ministers’ Cabinet, communication specialists of the Department of Communications (DCOMM) and the spokesperson of the Police Force St. Maarten. The Workshop was facilitated by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which is associated with the renowned Reuters Press Bureau. Trainer Lisa Anne Essex, originally from Great Britain, came from the United States of America to give the course.
Lisa Anne Essex has extensive experience as a journalist and media consultant. Recent courses given by Essex include Oil and Gas reporting in Iraq, Political Reporting in Nepal, International Newswriting in Bangladesh, Investigative Journalism in Ukraine, Good Governance and Anti-corruption in Turks and Caicos. Essex’s clients included Reuters Foundation, UNDP (United Nations Development Program), The World Bank, The Financial Times, and the European Journalism Centre.
The workshop, which was funded by USONA and organized by the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, was intended to increase the understanding of the PR-officers and the communication specialists regarding the different roles of journalists and PR-officers. As well as increase the confidence of the trainees to deal with everything from everyday press releases to crisis communications.
The training modules were designed with communications professionals in mind, to ensure that they are providing the tools necessary for journalists to do their jobs. The relationship between journalists and PR-officers can be a challenging one, mainly because neither has a good understanding of the others’ roles. For this purpose an additional session was planned Friday evening to which local journalists were invited to openly discuss these differences.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Dennis Richardson, was present Friday afternoon to hand out the certificates to the workshop participants.