Gerard Best is an experienced Communications Specialist managing 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: World Bank's Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program - Communications Specialist
2010: The University of the West Indies, St Augustine – Executive 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 - Online 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 & Education
2004: Lycée Condorcet Lens, France - English Language Instructor (upper-secondary level)
2002: NorthGate College – Teacher, General Paper (upper secondary level)
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 fresh angles for human interest pieces
- Commissioning, proofreading and fact checking news stories
- Tracking crime, court, politics, general and regional news
- Interpreting public opinion via in-person polls and social media
- Developing 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 in Trinidad and Tobago.
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 strategy for the CARCIP project, integrating digital (Web and mobile) campaigns with mainstream (print and broadcast) media planning. Collaborated with CTU 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.
Continue to provide communications support for regional Internet Development meetings, including:
• Internet Week Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana – Oct 2017
• Caribbean Internet Peering Forum 3, Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten – Jul 2017
• Belize National Cyber Security Symposium, Belize City, Belize – Apr 2017
• LACNIC On The Move Guatemala, Guatemala City, Guatemala – Mar 2017
• Internet Week Sint Maarten, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten – Oct 2016
• LACNIC On The Move Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, DR– Aug 2016
• Caribbean Internet Peering Forum 2, Willemstad, Curacao – Jun 2016
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.
Regularly attend, support and take part in Internet Development meetings across the Americas, coordinated by the Latin America and Caribbean Internet Registry (LACNIC), the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Society, the Caribbean Telecommunications Union and the Caribbean Network Operators Group, including:
- ICANN 61, San Juan, Puerto Rico – Mar 2018
- ARIN 40, San José, California – Oct 2017
- LACNIC 25, Havana, Cuba – May 2016
- CaribNOG 10, Belize City, Belize – Nov 2015
- ARIN On The Road Dominica – Jun 2015
- LACNIC 23, Lima, Perú – May 2015
- Caribbean Internet Peering Forum, Willemstad, Curacao – Apr 2015
- CaribNOG 8, Willemstad, Curacao – Sep 2014
- South School on Internet Governance, Port of Spain, Trinidad - April 2014
- Caribbean Internet Governance Forum, Willemstad, Curacao - Dec 2013
- CaribNOG 3 - June 11-15, 2012, Trinidad and Tobago
EDUCATION & AWARDS
Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi
- Postgraduate Diploma in Development Journalism for Non-Aligned Countries (2011)
- Received professional grant from Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme for four months of full-time study at Indian Institute of Mass Communications, New Delhi
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