I have always been very passionate and ambitious, but I think what stands out about me is my creativity. I am always trying to do things from a new perspective.” This from Sarah Peter, who of course best knows what moves Sarah Peter. Recently featured on the International Journalists Network (IJNet), she says she felt humbled that an international organization had chosen to profile her. “I also feel honoured and proud.”
Asked to retrace her steps to her current position, she said: “I love journalism. It offers so many opportunities. One day we may be covering the budget, the next a fire, or a crime scene. It is not the kind of job desk lovers would enjoy.”
Then there are the countless opportunities to meet individuals from all different walks of life, all in their own way interesting people one probably would not have met but for the job as a journalist.
Of course she continues to appreciate the impact of good journalism: “A lot of times people complain about us. And once in a while their complaints are justified. Some of us can be sloppy, even incompetent and unwilling to put in the hours to learn our craft.”
She recalled a famous author who wrote that “journalists have the power to make the President of the United States blink, either with a question or with a camera going off at the most importune moment.
“Journalists, the good ones, have the ability to make people think in directions they might not have on their own considered,” says Peter. “What they think can result in changes social and political. We make governments accountable; at any rate more accountable than they wish to be sometimes.”
Sarah Peter has worked in print journalism, TV and radio. Currently at DBS, she says: “One of the highlights of my career was the opportunity to be a United Nations Fellow. For that I had to compete with international nominees, a frightening prospect. I recall this fire igniting within me and a voice in my head saying: ‘Sarah you are actually going to make the impossible happen’.”
Peter also obtained a scholarship to study journalism at Cardiff University in Wales, attaining a degree in International Journalism. She was the first Saint Lucian to receive an Inter American Press Association Scholarship in 2013, through which she pursued International Affairs.
Between 2009 and 2010, Peter was the first person from the OECS to attain the Speak Easy Media Grant given in honour of CNN anchor Andria Hall. More recently she got the chance to cover the CMMP Conference of Delegates in Paris.
“I like being an example for others. In the same way that people such as Lisa Joseph and Pete Ninval were models for me.”
She is especially proud of Off Limits which she created for TV. “I remember going to television stations trying to convince them to assist me. I even offered to pay them to feature my work but it was never good enough. I finally decided to go it alone.”
She said: “What was really important was the impact of Off Limits. I remember doing a story about the rape of a 7-year-old by a 50-year-old man. It appeared on a Sunday on HTS. The next day that’s what everyone talking about. They called the radio station to share their own disturbing stories of rape and sexual molestation. Discovering I could do something like that was a wonderful feeling. It felt great being able to help people via my work.”
Speaking of the state of local journalism: “Journalists are not necessarily recognized for their contributions to our society. Take Rick Wayne; he is someone I admire and I think a lot of journalists look up to him. He has the testicular fortitude to stand up for what he believes, whether powerful politicians or their tunnel-visioned supporters. He asks the pertinent questions that so many of our colleagues don’t dare ask.
“We as journalists should offer more support of each other; there is too much bashing of one another. We should meet to discuss the big stories and yes, to comment on each other’s work. That would serve journalism, and by extension the people who depend on us, to bring out the truth as we know it.”
Sarah Peter believes in setting goals and standards but, for now, is not setting in stone any plans for the future. For the moment she is intent on living life and enjoying it to the fullest. Busy as she is, she wants to make time to enjoy the life of a twenty-something woman. A professional in her media career, Peter knows how to strike a balance, declaring “I love to party!”