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03.09.2021 Opinion

Celebrity journalists, Twitter anchors, slay queens and kings

By Murtala Mohammed
Celebrity journalists, Twitter anchors, slay queens and kings
LISTEN SEP 3, 2021

Ethics no longer matter in journalism today. It's about trends and traffic. There is no news. The story is about the reporter in question. Not even the media house matters. The medium has become the fulcrum or the center of the news itself. Instead of reporting the news, they put themselves in the stories and they’re now being discussed. So a Citi FM or a Joy fm reporter could trend more than the news and the media house he/she represents.

Another intriguing thing I’ve observed about these media men is their posture of know it all. I am not talking about a media man who has been invited as a guest on a show, I am talking about a media personality hosting a program and trying so hard to outshine his guest on the topic of the day. I find that quite interesting. A typical example is a media man who is also a lawyer. He brings two lawyers to discuss an issue regarding the law. At the end of the day, he becomes a tutor, a guest and an anchor at the same time. He speaks more than all His guests put together. Is this the method of probing in Journalism? Are you the guest or the host? If you know all the information needed on the show why invite others?

The other thing is how these Journalists can twist all other issues to fall directly into their comfort zone. If the journalist is an Engineer, he will narrow every issue to an engineering problem and beat you to it. So on one particular program that I know in Ghana, if the topic of sanitation is brought on board, for instance, 90% of the discussion will be based on the law on sanitation. Aaaba!

Have you also thought about Journalists who think flowery language or lofty words is a substitute for depth and wit. They can go on and on spewing ‘tobacco words’ on a SIMPLE matter and make no point at all at the end of the day. Let me paraphrase Macbeth to make this point so succinctly: "Their words gust forth from their mouth like a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

Nowadays investigative journalists are video editors. They go fishing for non-existent news. They pick raw video footage of people and go back to their closets, edit them like a movie for propaganda effect. They publish and expect no scrutiny from the people because they claim they’re the watchmen. It’s their duty to present false impressions about politicians and other government officials. How is that Journalism? I am not saying investigative Journalism does not exist or is unethical; the methods matter. Do a painstaking job like Anas Aremeyaw Anas before you air them.

Ambush or Mercenary journalism is another phenomenon lately. A media Practitioner/House gets information about a Ministry regarding a contract or a shady deal. They go and schedule an interview with the Minister in charge on a different subject and in the process of the interview, surprise the Minister with a question. Whether the Minister answers or declines the question, a story is followed up just after the interview with all the information they have in stock. Before the Ministry comes with a comprehensive answer, the damage has already been done!. The government official in question lives with that stigma for the rest of his or her life.

Blog reporting or blogging is recently in vogue. This type of reporting is mostly on celebs, sportsmen and women. It thrives on gossips and rumours. Due to online reporting, our journalists have fused that method in their reportage. They give you blitz or snippets of the unfolding news on their personal social media handles. If the information they’re gathering turns out to be false or opposite of their initial posts, they ignore it and move on to another negative story. An example of this is when a Kete Krachie Journalist twittered the death of Kaaka was linked to 'fix the country'. The people of Kete Karachi went on rampage and two died. The JOURNALIST has not yet apologized. Yet these people are regarded as ‘the conscience of our society?'. ‘You Dey Joke!’ in Kofi Kinaata’s voice.

I cannot cap this write up without mentioning this group of journalists I called ‘ranting & raving journalists’. This method is simply shouting on top of your voice behind a microphone, threatening fire, lightning and brimstone to the powers that be. At the end of the day, the voice of these journalists, we know in hindsight don’t kill a fly.

It started with ‘Alhaji and Alhaji’ on radio Gold. Bobbie Ansah of Asempa FM fame promulgated it. Wofa KWAKYE of boiling point fame took it to a different level. Currently, the chief ranting officers are Mogabe Mase, Captain smart and Kervin Taylor.

Directly opposite to these fellas are the guys from the Peace FM newsroom. Exaggeration is their claim to fame. They can elaborate on a small issue to make it bigger than what it is. Albeit I believe it must be checked, these groups pose no problem to the country because I believe they rather bring laughter out of the citizenry in the midst of our hardship. Well, I can speak for myself. It makes me laugh my heart out. Big up yourself Odi AHINKAN, OHENENANA KWAME AMO and Kwabena Marfo.

There’s one looming danger in the media circles, and that is the emergence of media house owners on their own platforms. OMG! That is something we need to watch. This bigotry will soon get out of hand. This has nothing to do with journalism per say but the medium is very relevant to the topic I’m discussing. This is an opportunity for these rich politicians to blow their own horns. To hoodwink Presidents and government officials to do their bidding due to their so called influence. At some point, they tell us their libidinal strength on radio and TV. They are allowed to say or use words, phrases that are not befitting of radio or TV and go scot-free. They’re so powerful that people dare not sue them.

Finally, the observation for which I decided to pen this down. Celebrity Journalists or makeup newscasters and presenters on television nowadays. This really worries me. For these group, their makeup and costume is more important than the content on their show. They appear as artistes and movie STARS on a red carpet. The pomp and pageantry, the glitz and glamour and mannerism onset is seductively telling. So much so that, they read text messages of the public admiration of their beauty. They pose for the cameras every blessed day for a picture. This picture is then posted on the individual’s social media handles as well as the media she represents. These pictures attract more likes than the news they churn out. It’s all about the trends and traffic. And please don’t come and school me about the importance of costume and makeup on television set. I was trained a Playwright.

My concern is not to denigrate this Nobel profession. Never! Indeed my idols in Ghana are mostly Journalists. But you must also look at yourselves in the mirror sometimes. You have (a) high standards to keep in our society. You cannot derail this country in the name of traffic and trends. The journalist must be very careful and responsible. The moral high ground is a slippery path and must be climbed with modesty. You cannot REMOVE the stick in somebody’s eye when your eye is stark with a log. Accept genuine criticism so we can listen to you with clear conscience.

Bottom line ‘CHECK YOURSELVES’🤔

#Ataayamusings

Murtala Mohammed

(PPP's FMR. GEN. SEC)

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