×

Warning

JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 205
JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 16757
How media can pick grain from chaff in Nantaba saga How media can pick grain from chaff in Nantaba saga How media can pick grain from chaff in Nantaba saga

How media can pick grain from chaff in Nantaba saga

Perhaps one of the most dizzying news items this week was the alleged “failed assassination” of State Minister of ICT Aidah Nantaba on Kayunga Road, and the subsequent shooting dead of the suspected” would-be-assassin, Ronald Ssebulime, in macabre circumstances that have left the country with more questions and few answers. An extremely sad affair it has turned out to be!

The story that was broken on social media on Sunday afternoon, picked up by mainstream media with splashes online, in print and broadcast, has changed so many times that neither the journalists (citizen and professional), nor the public (readers and viewers) are sure of what indeed happened beyond the fact that a man is dead, his four children are now orphaned, and no one knows (or is telling) the truth.

Covering crime incidents such as this is one of the most challenging assignments for journalists. This is mainly because the incident usually has happened long before any journalist could get to the scene. This is very much unlike an unfolding events such as a parade or press conference where cameras and notebooks are in place before it kicks off.

Yet the public expects credible information and in it its absence, the rumour-mill rules the day and the truth gets away.
In these circumstances, therefore, sources and eye-witnesses is all that there is to help journalists reconstruct the incident and satisfy the public’s insatiable need for information. Unfortunately in between sources and witnesses lies information, disinformation, misinformation, distortion, untruths, exaggerations and all – sometimes deliberate and many times inherent human nature.

So what should journalists do to get the story out fast with minimal distortions? Well, it is back to the basics of journalism! The News Manual: A Professional Resource for Journalists and the Media that is available online has some useful tips that, if followed, could take away much of the dizziness in the unfolding stories on the “attempted assassination” of the minister. I will note down a few.
One, that if it is a small story like theft of household items, then a single source at the police or the voice of the victim will give you a close an account to what indeed happened. However if it is a big and complicated story like a failed assassination of a minister, then journalists must make use of multiple sources and there is no substitute for making a physical presence at the scene of crime because therein are witnesses with invaluable information. 

Two, visiting the scene of crime will help a journalist visualise what happened, even when it is narrated to him/her and thus help them to reconstruct everything for their audiences. “It is much easier to understand a description of how [the cyclists hit a hump, fell off the bike and ran through the corridor behind the shops] when you can see the [hump and the corridor]”.
Three, a story such as this will be evolving and in the first few hours one can hardly put finger to fact. It is therefore important at this point to be alive to “facts” that are reliable and those that are not. Name of place is likely reliable. So is date. Dress code (mask or unmasked, yellow or green shirt) is unreliable and is safer left out till fully confirmed, if it is important. As for time of incident, it is safer to give a general time span.

Four, “although police reports are usually quite accurate, they are seldom entirely reliable, so you may have to cross-check some of what they say. It is a useful practice”. And herein perhaps lies the biggest source of confusion in the Minister Nantaba “assassination saga”. Many if not all the initial reports were built on the police version of the event and the testimony of a third party – a Member of Parliament who is related to the minister. Journalists swallowed this “hook and sinker”, in the end reporting a gun battle that never was, and a culprit who may as well be the victim!

While some of the above may not be done within the limited time when the tip comes to the newsroom, there is time thereafter to cover lost ground and clear the initial distortions. Thankfully, the broadcast media stepped up to do the journalism that has brought light to this sad incident. They sought out the witnesses quickly.

Source: The Daily Monitor

About Author

Related items

  • Macron under fire for skipping Rwandan genocide commemorations

    When a smattering of leaders gather this weekend in Kigali to mark the 25th anniversary of Rwanda's genocide there will be one conspicuous absence: French President Emmanuel Macron.
    Several African leaders and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel are expected at events commemorating the 1994 massacre of an estimated 800,000 Rwandans, mostly minority Tutsis slayed in a dark chapter of Africa's post-colonial history.

    Macron too was invited, a move which had been hailed as sign of a fresh start in relations after two decades of turmoil over Rwanda's claims that France was complicit in the genocide.
    Forty-one-year-old Macron has presented himself as the face of a new generation of French politician unburdened by the country's murky past in Africa.
    But he turned down the invitation from President Paul Kagame, disappointing those hoping for a grand gesture of reconciliation on the French side.
    "He did not have the courage to see the process through," Francois Gaulme, researcher at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) told AFP.

    The Survie NGO members shows banners reading "1994 Genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda, French complicity, denial, lies and impunity, until when ?" and "Hubert Vedrine, expert in dissimulating Genocide complicity" in front of the office of former French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine in Paris on April 4, 2019 as the NGO releases "Lies and silences of France in Rwanda" report. 


     

    Source: The Daily Monitor

  • Kadaga’s four-minute phone call excites family, residents
     

    Kampala. A four-minute phone call from ailing Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, to her mother Eva Kagoya Kadaga, has calmed the family and thrown some troubled Kamuli District residents into a frenzy.
    The call came through on Tuesday as people gathered for routine prayers at Ms Kadaga’s ancestral home in Mbulamuti Village, Mbulamuti Sub-county in Kamuli District.
    Ms Kagoya, who was beckoned that she had a call from her daughter, was forced to answer while the phone was on loudspeaker because of noise from Ms Kadaga’s voters.

    “Mother, this is your daughter Labeka (Rebecca). The problem is that you worry a lot. But by the grace of God and your prayers, I have improved,” Ms Kadaga said in Lusoga, sending the congregation into a frenzy that lasted about 15 minutes.
    When Ms Kagoya regained her composure, she said she has been ‘extremely worried’ by exaggerated social media reports regarding her daughter’s health.

    “God is good all the time because Labeka (Rebecca) has spoken in her usual jovial mood and repeated the very words she said during the last family baptism of our grandchild in Namisambya - that I worry a lot. Shame upon those who are against my daughter, the rumourmongers and rumour seekers. The Lord has taken over,” the visibly excited Ms Kagoya said.

    The Mbulamuti Parish Priest, Rev Eria Lyakota, cautioned people against stressing the family with falsehoods, warning that whoever is doing so will be punished by the Lord.
    “When you say Mbulamuti Road is being worked on yet it is normal road maintenance to Isimba dam or that security has been beefed up at her hotel (Century) because she has been flown to Spain to extract her brain yet there was a national auditors’ workshop at the hotel, you are being used by the devil,” Rev Lyakota said.
    Ms Kadaga was last month admitted to Nakasero Hospital over fatigue-related illnesses, before being flown to Aga Khan hospital in Nairobi, Kenya.

    Her press secretary, Mr Sam Obbo, in telephone interview on Wednesday, said: “I reiterate that the Speaker is alive, recovering and will hopefully return home soon. A person in the Intensive Care Unit can’t speak.”
    “All we request is that she is accorded the privacy she needs and I also want the public to know that issues regarding her medical condition are between her, her doctors and immediate family,” he added.
    Mr Obbo also dismissed as ‘untrue’ social media reports that the Speaker was flown to a European country. “She is still in Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya,” he said.

    Prayers
    Meanwhile, Busoga consortium, which unites all leaders in Busoga for development to which Ms Kadaga is the chairperson, has organised prayers for her at Bugembe Cathedral, Jinja on Sunday.Mayuge District chairperson Umar Bongo, who doubles as the consortium vice chairperson, on Tuesday said: “We have resolved to gather all the people and friends of Busoga on Sunday April 7, to pray for Ms Kadaga.” 

    Source: Daily Monitor

  • What women want in the workplace

    With more women graduating from university, and more women pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects than ever before, we may finally be at a tipping point to start closing the gender gap in the workplace. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has unfortunately predicted that doing so will take five generations at the current pace. However, I’m optimistic. We can make progress more quickly than WEF calculates because our conversations about what needs to change are beginning to include key new elements.

    Transparency
    The most important of these is a focus on transparency. Most organisations are still far too opaque in their processes, which means all involved, not only women, are left unsure exactly what they have to do to succeed. Organisations need to be clear about what is required to progress and about the exact impact taking time out to have a family or going on flextime for whatever reason will have on careers. These should not be closed-door conversations that lead everyone to think that someone else is getting a better deal.

    Time to talk: What needs to change for women at work, a piece of research published by PwC, analysed the results of a survey of 3,627 women around the world, including women at the critical time in their careers where starting a family or taking on caring responsibilities coincides with milestones in career development. It is part of a series looking at different stages in the careers of women. Of the women in this year’s survey, 58 per cent identified the need for greater transparency from their employers to improve career development opportunities.

    Let’s start with transparency as it applies to career progression. I have mentored a lot of women and men, and it is almost always the men who are beating down my door asking me about promotions and telling me they are ready, even if they are not.
    This fits the stereotype that women believe they have to be 100 per cent competent or overqualified to advance, which is backed up by disappointing evidence that in too many cases this is indeed true. In PwC’s survey, only 17 per cent of respondents said they would put themselves forward for a promotion if they didn’t think they had all the right skills.

    Help talented women 
    The onus here has to be on the employers to help talented people, be they men or women, reach their potential. And for that to happen, everybody must be clear on the criteria for advancement. Women also need sponsors who will push them when they are ready. At PwC UK, we find that when women enter the process to become partners, for example, they succeed at a greater rate than men because they are much more prepared. The downside is that it takes them longer than men to put themselves forward.
    At one of my global banking clients, where there is a commitment to diversity from the very top, many senior leadership roles, including heads of significant geographic regions and top portfolios, are now held by women. There is, however, a dearth of women in the middle management ranks. The challenge is how to fill this gap.

    Diversity in promotion
    Ensuring greater diversity in promotion panels is a good first step that many companies are beginning to take. Behavioural research shows clearly that people gravitate to those who are most like themselves. Having all-male panels can, for example, disadvantage women applicants. People have to be aware of this type of bias.

    Skills
    When considering promotions into leadership positions, employers also often fail to recognise the kinds of skills that people need at the next level, and focus too much on the skills required of people to do the job they are in. This is particularly true when it comes to technical skills. Leadership roles are not necessarily technical in nature. Being an effective leader is not always about how well you can code, or how familiar you are with the intricacies of regulatory regimes, but rather how effectively you collaborate, build teams, and clearly articulate a vision and values. That is not to buy into more stereotypes that men are better at the hard technical stuff than women. Rather, it is simply a red flag when thinking about the next steps.     

    Source: The Daily Monitor

Login to post comments