Cayman 27’s news anchor Mona Lisa Tatum will learn some of the tricks of the trade from the best in the business when she heads to CNN headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia later this week.
Ms Tatum has been accepted into the CNN Journalism Fellowship programme – a three week comprehensive, professional experience for working journalists.
She will get professional coaching from producers, editors and presenters at the US news channel during her time in Atlanta.
Ms Tatum – the face of Cayman 27’s news coverage – is already an avid follower of the news channel. Her favourite presenter is morning show host Robin Meade, though she is also keen to meet Anderson Cooper.
She said she watches the station’s presenters with an eye towards polishing her own broadcasts.
She said: “I love the way Robin Meade makes it seem fun and she transitions so smoothly between talking about serious issues and more lighthearted stories.”
It’s a style that Ms Tatum thinks is fitting for the local television broadcasts where one minute she could be reporting on a political scandal and the next she can be talking about a cute pet in need of a home.
She hopes to polish up on everything from hair and makeup to visual storytelling techniques during the three-week stint in the US.
The course will feature presenters from far flung locations, including Kenya, Turkey and Moldova. It will feature coffee mornings with editors and producers who will explain how CNN plans and organises its coverage.
“I am so excited to be able to spend time with other international journalists and hone my skills. I look forward to learning new ways to share with the people of the Cayman Islands what’s happening in their community and how it impacts their daily lives,” she added.
There will also be a chance for the presenters, including Ms Tatum, to have their work critiqued by the experts. Ms Tatum, a former Miss Cayman Islands, said she was interested in developing her skills to ensure she was telling the story and not just reading it.
“It will be great to see how they do things and what ideas we can take to really develop the whole show.”
Ms Tatum just completed an online course in disaster reporting training through the Commonwealth Broadcasters’ Association.
“I do appreciate all the company is doing for me. They believe I have potential and have invested in me and that makes me passionate for learning and bringing back ideas to share with the team to help them develop as well. I think we have a strong team and we all learn from each other every day.”
Ms Tatum started her television career in 2005 spending two years in the Cayman 27 newsroom as an associate producer and reporter.
After gaining marketing experience working for the National Gallery, she returned to the Cayman 27 newsroom in July of last year as a presenter and reporter.
“I am so excited to be able to spend time with other international journalists and hone my skills.” MONA LISA TATUM