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You will find updates on my work and other developments in media and communication across the Caribbean, resources, rants, raves and reviews. Glimpse past and current projects, a portfolio of some of my recent work and more....

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Remembering Richard Allsopp, Ph.D., Lexicographer and West Indian extraordinaire

To harness, by naming, creation around;
To label, unwritten, folk thoughts that abound;
To fight life, with language sole arm of the fighter,
Their tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

- Richard Allsopp, 1923-2009

As professions involved in the daily use, appreciation and embrace of the written and spoken word, journalism and broadcasting in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean owe Richard Allsopp a tremendous debt of gratitude for his devotion of a half-century's work to mapping the English Language as it has evolved in the Caribbean.

His crowning achievement, "The Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage", published in 1996 after 25 years of toil, remains as vitally important a reference tool as the "Oxford Concise Dictionary". Indeed, not only do we credit Professor Allsopp for ensuring the entry of authentically Caribbean words into the global English lexicon but for his insistence on the appropriate usage of English in a Caribbean context. He was a member of the editorial board of the "New Oxford English Dictionary".

Professor Allsopp was a friend and supporter of the craft of journalism, by making himself available to us to explain, amplify and educate on language usage through television and radio appearances, press interviews, letters to the editor ,even informal conversations with journalists and producers. Indeed, the BAJ fondly recalls his unveiling of "The Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage" at the association's Clennell Wickham Memorial Lecture in 1996.

Dr. Allsopp was not, as some have tried to suggest, a champion of the indiscriminate use of creole languages in formal settings. Indeed, it was his insistence on creating a dictionary of usage, with clear guidelines - standards - on formal, informal, uneducated and educated speech, that bore fruit in the "Dictionary of Caribbean Usage" - which the BAJ believes will remain a landmark in Caribbean linguistics and literature for generations.

There is such a thing, he argued, as Caribbean Standard English: an internationally accepted form of English that contained the peculiar features that distinguish it from the English of New Zealand or Newfoundland or South Africa or or America or Britain. He also reminded us of the importance of appreciating national and regional variations of words used from markets to courtrooms, from parliaments to parlours, and from the northern Caribbean to the southern Caribbean. His essay, "Caribbean English", iin "The Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage" should be required reading for journalists, educators and lovers of language and literature in the Caribbean.

His stewardship at the University of the West Indies ensured that hundreds of young Caribbean minds, many of them journalists', engaged in rigorous linguistic and intellectual pursuits that helped to define the Caribbean civilisation. Later in life, he lamented the decline of English usage, not by the abundant use of creole forms, but by the absence of effective teaching in English, particularly the absence of dictation from English Language teaching in primary schools. We share his disappointment.

To his family, especially his widow, Jeannette, herself a noted linguist and lexicographer whose life's journey with Professor Allsopp was one of shared interests, passions, intellect and effort, and his daughter and fellow journalist and broadcaster, Sophia Cambridge, sincerest condolences. Let us hope that Professor Allsopp's life work will be appropriately recognised and memorialised in the years to come. As journalists, we would do well to continue to consult his dictionary as we seek greater understanding not only of a story but the story of our Caribbean.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Remembering Mark D. Alleyne, brilliant communications scholar and fellow journalist

Dr. Mark DaCosta Alleyne, brilliant communications scholar, author, journalist and broadcaster, and former features editor of The Bajan magazine died suddenly on Wednesday, May 20th, in Guatemala City. He was 47.

Mark, associate professor of communications at Georgia State University, died from cardiac arrest at a hospital in Guatemala City, where he had been admitted after apparently developing pneumonia, his long-time friend and former colleague, Reudon Eversley, said. His death was also reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday, May 21st. Mark was overseeing six Georgia State students on a Spanish-language immersion course in Guatemala when he took ill.

He developed pneumonia, was admitted to ICU, then moved to a regular ward on Tuesday May 19th and appeared to be on the mend but went into cardiac arrest during the night and died on Wednesday morning around 9, Reudon said. Funeral services are planned for Atlanta and a memorial service in Barbados.

He was Features Editor of The Bajan magazine, his first appointment after graduating magna cum laude with a BA from Howard University. While a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he read for both his master's and doctorate degrees, he was an Advocate columnist and a freelance broadcaster for BBC World Service Topical Tapes and Caribbean Service. He was a founding member and first president of the Barbados Association of Journalists.

Mark was one of the most accomplished communications scholars to emerge from the developing world but his first-rate mind was no less significant than his warm and engaging personality.

He was at Georgia State since 2005. Prior to that, he was at UCLA, where he was Associate Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. He first taught at Hampshire College, then American University, Loyola University-Chicago (where he was director of the National Center for Freedom of Information Studies) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has also been a Research Fellow at Columbia University's Freedom Forum Media Studies Centre.

His scholarship included significant contributions to post-colonial studies on international communication, international relations, international development and race. He was the author of three books: "Global Lies? Propaganda, the U.N. & World Order" (Palgrave 2003), "News Revolution: Political and Economic Decisions About Global Information" (St. Martin’s Press 1997), and a seminal work, "International Power and International Communication" (St. Antony’s/Macmillan 1995). He was working on a third, tentatively titled "Propaganda Against Hate". His scholarship was also published in Media Development, the Journal of Communication, the Journal of Peace Research, Journalism Quarterly, SAIS Review, among others.

Much of his work was on black studies, the ideology of race, the political economy of international communications, international relations and press freedom. In response to theories of developing countries being overrun by imperialist cultures through media, he was among the first scholars to note how the Empire had begun to strike back in the face of overwhelming media imports by developing their own channels and content, indicating how complex such cultural interactions between North and South really are.

He surely would have been an important, independent voice in Barbados's efforts in Freedom of Information legislation, and contributed greatly to my early interest in the subject back in the early 1990s. He was a generous and thoughtful person, always ready, willing and certainly more than able to lend his fine mind to subjects of mutual interest and study. I believed he loved this country, and lived up to the highest ideals of being Barbadian by doing credit to his nation wherever he went and whatever he did.

We can take some comfort, small though it may be, that he died doing what he loved the most, engaging other minds in the pursuit of knowledge, understanding and achievement. We should be so fortunate to pack into our own lives the accomplishment, hard work, diligence and thought that was his short life.

May he rest in peace.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

No Fixed Place: Migrant Children and Education

No Fixed Place: Migrant Children and Education
Cargado por JPAGmedia. - Mira películas y shows de TV enteros.

Produced for UNICEF, this film examines the impact that the children of migrant workers in the Eastern Caribbean - mostly from Haiti and the Dominican Republic - are making on the region's education system, and asks whether education has adapted to the influx. Written and presented by Julius Gittens; Associate Producers Thalia Remy, Leroy Adolphus and Ben Meade; Photographed and edited by Lester Ifill. A Faith Motion Video production for UNICEF.

Friday, February 06, 2009

A Child's Right to Grow and Learn: The Roving Caregivers Programme

A Child's Right to Grow and Learn: The Roving Caregivers
Cargado por JPAGmedia. - Mira películas y shows de TV enteros.

A mini-documentary about how Christian Children's Fund's Roving Care Programme in Dominica reaches children from birth to three years of age while providing early stimulation for children and parenting education for parents. Young volunteers in the island's Carib Community and five other remote villages make regular visits to families and involve children in play that helps them develop motor, perceptual, emotional and thinking skills. They also offer tips to parents about how best to promote children’s health and safety. Written, produced and narrated by Julius Gittens; photographed and edited by Lester Ifill. A Faith Motion Video Production.