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    Herman Lategan

    Anna Majavu in The Media Online: “I too am guilty of once taking Ferial Haffajee off the Samwu press list for two weeks! She was then an associate editor at the Financial Mail and her publication had run a profile on the Samwu general secretary where they superimposed a viking’s hat onto his head. It was childish and when she asked to be put back on, I did so.”

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    Llewellyn Kriel

    As Jacques Rousseau points out in The Daily Maverick, there is a vast difference between blacklisting someone and simply taking them off your distribution list. The first is an active role in preventing a journalist from doing her job and the second is simply not facilitating or making life easier for her .

    That the DA is wrong either way is beyond question. Any such action is intended to subvert the completely free dissemination of information. The DA owes the public an apology.

    As we did many times many years ago at the Chamber of Mines, an inaccurate or false media report would be followed up directly with a correction and a private consultation with the reporter in question to determine where the problem arose. Only if need forced it did we escalate the matter. If editorial viewpoint was at issue, we requested – and were invariably granted – right of reply. And that was that. Both personal and organisational relationships were maintained.

    My 36 years both as reporter, journalist, editor and academic on the one hand and manager, director and teacher of media liaison and corporate affairs have taught me there a good eggs on both sides. The professional practitioner of either craft seeks out the good and tries to avoid the bad. No reporter (as distinct from commentator or columnist) injects their personal biases and opinions into a story. That Anna Majavu has a reputation for doing just this is common knowledge and colours the credibility of all her reports and those of her employer – in this case, Sowetan. As a former senior revise sub-editor and acting night editor at that paper, I am intimately aware of just how hard we had to fight to ensure the highest possible levels of objectivity (given that pure objectivity is a fiction) and professionalism. That we frequently ran into the “Immovable Object” of entrenched political biases and personal agendas is proof of our failure. One such “object” has recently left Sowetan. Nuff sed.

    It is a little concerning too that Glenda has chosen to take so superficial a perspective on a fundamental issue. We look forward to better in the future.

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    Re: “No reporter (as distinct from commentator or columnist) injects their personal biases and opinions into a story.” Would that this were still true. I can count on one hand, with fingers left over, the number of journalists here (and other countries) who do not colour their articles with reams of “opinion”. This is going to get worse with so called “citizen journalism”. Perhaps Majavu needs to be a blogger rather than a reporter?

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