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Nov 14, 2011

News 5 nabs 4 Caribbean Regional Awards

At this station we are extremely proud to announce that our newsroom has won four major awards in television broadcasting in the Caribbean.  In fact, News Five has won in three categories of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union Awards. There were a total of eighty-three entries submitted by member stations across the region in the television category. News Five’s Jose Sanchez snagged the top awards in investigative reporting for his series on the immigration scandal which exposed how nationals from blacklisted countries got suspect visas to travel to Belize to make their way up north to the United States. Jose also won on a story entitled “Marijuana” which took him to a field in northern Belize that was destroyed in a pre-dawn raid by the BDF. Isani also distinguished himself at the CBU awards. He won for the best regional story in the category of Youth and Children’s Issues. The winning story is called “Program feeds the Belly and Nurtures the Mind of Hungry Youths.’’ Isani captures the essence of an unsung hero; a fifty year old woman who has been running a feeding program for underprivileged students for eleven years.

The fourth award was won by former News Five reporter Marion Ali on a story about the economy and finance in which Marion reports on a budding industry in northern Belize.  The story “Cohune Oil: An up and coming Industry” features the making of cohune oil in northern Belize. Veteran cameramen Chris Mangar and George Tillett were the winning cameramen in the four stories. Jose and Isani spoke to colleague Andrea on the news of the awards.

Andrea Polanco

“Jose, one of your award winning stories here at Channel 5 from the CBU is the destruction of a marijuana plantation. Can you tell us how you came up with this idea of doing this story?”

Jose Sanchez, Reporter

“Well as part of the job in working in the media, sometimes you get to do things and go places the public doesn’t normally get to go. And I thought that since we were doing all of these written stories with no images of marijuana plantations, I though why not go out and do. And so I called Lieutenant Colonel Ganey Dortch and told him what I wanted to do and he said it sounds like a great idea and as soon as something comes up he’ll call me. Little did I know when we got the call, it would have been in the middle of the night. But it was a lot of fun going out there. It was about three-four in the morning, we went on the highway; there were all these B.D.F. radioing each other in the cover of darkness, there were markers on the road. It was just a lot of fun to go out in the bush not knowing what to expect and covering and watching the story unfold as it did. It was just fun to bring it back for the viewers.”

Jose Sanchez

Andrea Polanco

“So I know the work that you put in with respect to an investigative piece like this; is there a story behind the story? Because I know that most of the times when the cameras turn off that’s when the real things start showing up. Tell us; is there a story behind the story?”

Jose Sanchez

“Well, certainly there is. Unlike the marijuana story this one actually was very dangerous. Believe it or not, some people didn’t believe that this was really happening; it could happen. There were days when we’d go out into the world, we’d get into one vehicle, we’ll switch three different vehicles, drive in an area of the country. There are times when we went to the borders late at night, same thing again switching vehicles, jumping out of vehicles, people showing you documents that are sent to the highest level of governments, you get to meet people from different countries, people with recording devices—I mean it was like a James Bond kind of thing for me. People telling me to worry, you have relatives of ministers calling you and cursing you because they think their names were going to be in the news.”

Andrea Polanco

“If you are presented with the opportunity to do another investigative piece of this magnitude, would you jump on it?”

Jose Sanchez

“I would have to think twice about it because I didn’t like the fact that we were in danger and it wasn’t really a nice feeling to have to look around you at every instant because really and truly this is a way of life for a lotta people; a lot of well connected people. And I can’t call the name on the newscast because it would put me in danger.”

Andrea Polanco

“Isani, in a society where hard news takes precedence over human interest stories, why did you decide to feature a feeding program in the news?”

Isani Cayetano, Reporter

“A year ago, a cousin of mine who was employed by Restore Belize came to me with an idea for an expose to highlight the effort of one woman Miss Marie Godoy who has been feeding a group of underprivileged kids in her neighborhood over the past eleven years. And as you mentioned a lot of emphasis is placed on hard news—the day to day occurrences—that have become atypical so to speak. I decided to go for a human interest angle by identifying this unsung hero and highlighting her efforts in trying to change the society that we’re currently living in. I never knew at the time that it had the potential of actually winning a CBU Award. I submitted it as with all other stories that I believe are strong enough to qualify for the awards categories and I was pleasantly surprised when it was shared with us that the story actually made the cut.”

Isani Cayetano

Andrea Polanco

“And this is the completion of a year here at Channel 5 and your very first award. What’s that feeling like for you?”

Isani Cayetano

“Well quite honestly Andrea, my gold upon joining the team here at Channel  5 a little over a year and a half ago was that I wanted to do what I thought was seemingly impossible—to come in as a young upstart, a new journalist, and win an award within a year. And I set out for that relentlessly and I pursued it and it’s a very good feeling I must say. And I am also an overachiever, so winning one—I’m still a bit disappointed; so the next time around, I’m gunning for at least two to measure up with my colleagues here at work.”

According to the Secretary General of the CBU, Patrick Cozier, arrangements are being made to broadcast the awards on television in the Caribbean, USA and UK with a total potential viewership of fourteen million households. So tonight, we are extremely proud of our newsroom reporters for winning the major awards in the Caribbean. Later in the newscast we’ll have a repeat of Jose’s Marijuana story.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “News 5 nabs 4 Caribbean Regional Awards”

  1. belizeanpride says:

    congrats to you all from news 5 who bring the best in news, keep going with the excellent work.
    being also that you’re the only news that allows us viewers to blog after the news giving us the chance to express our view, thoughts and contribute to polls.

  2. belizeanheat says:

    Congrats channel 5! You have the most polished newscast with the best Anchor and reporters.
    Also congrats to your tech and camera crew, your picture quality is far above all the rest.

    Tell Marleni she’s gorgeous and keeps getting hotter and hotter each day.

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