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Petre Williams

Petre is a senior reporter for the Jamaica Observer newspaper.

She has covered business, children, crime, education and health, but recently decided to focus on environment and development issues. She is also the founder and coordinator of the newspaper’s environmental education section, called Our Habitat, and writes a column called Earth Smart. She holds a bachelor degree in Sociology with a minor in Criminology from the University of the West Indies and a master degree in Sociology (Development).

How did you become a journalist?

This may sound a tad cheesy but I don't know that I decided to become a journalist – I believe journalism chose me. From an early age, I knew I wanted to write – the question was 'write what?' At the time, I thought novels. It turned out I was to write news. The more appropriate question in my case then seems to be why I have chosen to stick with it all these years. The answer? My interest is in getting people to see the implications – good or bad – of their behaviour and then to help promote change where the behaviour is negative or reinforce it where it is positive. Journalism offers me a platform from which to do that, and that is why I have stuck with it. The change may not be immediate, but it occurs.

Why did you decide to focus your work on development issues?

Since I live in a developing country, it would be irresponsible of me not to focus on such issues. After all, they have implications for my quality of life and that of other Jamaicans. What’s more, I ask myself: 'If not I – an educated Jamaican and professional journalist – then who?'

What is the role of journalism for development?

The function of journalism is to be knowledgeable about issues that are in the public's interest, to ensure that we understand them and then to inform the public about them so they can act on the basis of good information.

Journalism by Petre Williams

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