Gerard Best is an experienced Communications Specialist offering a diverse portfolio, including content strategy, institutional advertising, reputation management, stakeholder engagement, qualitative research, executive speechwriting, digital asset production (written, audio and video), and mainstream media relations and planning (television, radio and print).
2013: Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program – Communications Specialist
2010: The University of the West Indies, St Augustine – Speechwriter for Campus Principal
2005 – 2011: The University of the West Indies, St Augustine – Marketing & Communications Officer
2012 – 2015: Guardian Media Limited – New Media Editor & News Editor
2011 – 2012: Caribbean Communications Network – Multimedia News Editor
2004 – 2005: Trinidad Express Newspapers – Reporter
1998: The Independent Newspaper – Staff Writer
2016: Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business – External Examiner (Adjunct)
2006 – 2007: The University of the West Indies, St Augustine
- Tutor, Undergraduate Linguistics, Department of Liberal Arts
- Assistant Lecturer, English Language Foundation Programme
- Tutor, Centre for Language Learning, Faculty of Humanities and Education
2004: Lycée Condorcet Lens, France – English Language Instructor (Upper-secondary Level)
2002: NorthGate College – Teacher, GCE Advanced Level (General Paper)
ACHIEVEMENTS & SERVICE
2011: Managed Trinidad Express Newspapers’ news desk, demonstrating ability to work at speed within the news cycle, while exacting high standards in written and visual presentation. Daily responsibilities included:
- Collaboratively brainstorming innovative projects and fresh angles for news assignments
- Commissioning, editing, proofing and fact checking news stories
- Tracking crime, court, Parliament, politics, general and regional news
- Interpreting public opinion on interesting and important issues on social media
- Engaging with readers and developing new audience engagement strategies
2012 – 2015: Appointed by T&T Guardian Editor in Chief to sit on a team of Television, Radio and Print divisional heads tasked to oversee the transition from traditional media workflows to digital-first processes, optimised for multimedia convergence. Championed the transition process within Print Division to an integrated, converged, networked, learning, agile editorial environment.
Ushered the T&T Guardian newsroom editorial process into the Internet Age, demonstrating clear ability to broker strategic partnerships among disparate divisional and departmental heads across the Group. Earned a reputation for going beyond the call of duty in working with all ranks of the organisation to ensure that the transition was strategically approached.
Conducted cost-benefit analysis of newsroom editorial process and proposed cost-saving technology-driven interventions, including procurement of a single Content Management Solution to integrate Web content production with Print publication.
Worked closely with Group Marketing to generate routine, seasonal, cross-promotional and one-off campaigns to build brand identity, increase engagement, drive website traffic, convert sales and encourage user-generated content. Routinely interpreted website and social media analytics to extract meaningful insights for editorial, marketing and technical teams.
Shared knowledge and expertise with Human Resources in order to contribute to the recruitment, onboarding, training and performance evaluation process for incoming New Media staff.
Led a technical team responsible for:
- Updating T&T Guardian and CNC3 websites, including real-time news updates
- Verification & publication of breaking news via social media and mobile apps (iOS & Android)
- Enhancing customer satisfaction by responding to online complaints and queries
- Daily moderation of online user comments and Internet polls
2013: Began serving as a Director of the Global Communications & Technology Sector of Congress WBN, a Caribbean-based international charity with operations in more than 100 nations.
Pioneered computational reporting in the Trinidad and Tobago media with the launch of Bullet Points, an open-source data journalism tool maintained in partnership with Guardian Media Limited. From December 2012 to September 2014, Bullet Points compiled a database tracking intentional homicides, including police-involved fatal shootings, across Trinidad and Tobago. Throughout the 2014 Chikungunya outbreak, Bullet Points geovisualised the spread of the disease, using epidimiological data from CDC, PAHO and CARPHA. Bullet Points also partnered with data scientists to map the effects of electoral boundary changes on parliamentary election results.
2014: Took on several public speaking engagements and media appearances in order to promote the use of open data and the integration of data journalism into mainstream media Caribbean newsrooms. Lobbied for the retraining of print and broadcast media professionals for digital-first content creation. Endorsed the liberation of public data as a means of encouraging greater accountability and transparency from public institutions.
Designed and implemented a streamlined project communications workflow for the World Bank-funded Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP), integrating digital (Web and mobile) campaigns with mainstream (print and broadcast) media planning. Collaborated with Caribbean Telecommunications Union representatives and government officials from three participating project countries (Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) to develop a single, coherent message matrix that encouraged Caribbean governments to collaboratively deploy technology-enabled solutions to national development issues.
2015 – 2017: Established a personal brand as a Caribbean-based Development Journalist covering technology-related issues including Internet governance, telecommunications regulations, infrastructure development, cybersecurity frameworks, technological innovation and digital entrepreneurship. Began regularly receiving invitations to attend international meetings coordinated by LACNIC, ARIN, ICANN, CaribNOG and the Internet Society.
EDUCATION & AWARDS
Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi
- Postgraduate Diploma in Development Journalism for Non-Aligned Countries (2011)
- Awarded an Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation full-time study grant
The University of the West Indies, St Augustine
- MA, Human Communication Studies (2012)
- BA (First-class), Linguistics and French (2003)
- Best Theoretical Linguistics Student (2002); Most Outstanding Full-Time Student (2001); English for Academic Purposes (2001); Academic Writing (2001); French Embassy Prize (2001)
Queen’s Royal College, Port of Spain
- GCE Advanced Level (1997)
- Queen’s Royal College Best Overall Academic Performance Award
- CXC Ordinary Level (1995)
- National Prize for Overall Academic Excellence