Monday, 10 April 2017

Charles Mungoshi's ‘Death’ Story Shames ZBC Online

It is a classic ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ faux pas by the national broadcaster.

Some overzealous online ‘editor decided it was prudent to follow the statement ‘don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story’ and ran on to post a statement that legendary author and poet Charles Mungoshi had died yesterday. 

Owing to ill health, he may not be kicking, but the maverick writer is definitely ALIVE.

Charles Lovemore Mungoshi is under the weather and is scheduled to undergo an operation to ease complications after a series of medical procedures.
Charles Mungoshi's ‘Death’ Story Shames ZBC Online
Charles suffered a stroke which brought the onset of ill health including a coma for a whole month as well as accumulation of fluids in his brain for which he needs a procedure to drain the fluids; a procedure he is scheduled to undergo around Easter.

But while the grapevine, famed for spreading unsubstantiated rumour went in to overdrive, the need for a scoop saw ZBC announce the death of Mungoshi, with a solemn promise to follow that up with more ‘details’.

Suffice to say those ‘details’ never came.
The 'Apology'.
This was a blatant low as the announcement which was also on twitter and the website had to be retracted but not before possibly thousands had viewed it and several other people had commented on the error.

The telephone, invented ages ago by Alexander Graham Bell and patented by the American in 1876, could have been a useful implement to help the news team verify the sensitive news before the sprinted to publish the juicy story ahead of the competition.

“Pathetic’ said Kudakwashe Guwakuwa. “Rushing to publish the so called breaking news without proper verification. How can a whole newsroom rely on rumours?” wondered veteran journo Umari Stambuli.

“This is disgusting,” fumed Francis Rwodzi. “Spreading fake death news is quite a new low,” observed Ranga Mberi. Add to the pondering VokalDaPoet who wondered “How do you report on the strength of a rumour?”

The Mungoshi family was obviously not impressed. And trouble is certainly on the way for the errant journo who trail-blazed and ‘broke’ the story.
The Living Dead...A screenshot of the ZBC Twitter page announcing Charles Mungoshi's 'Death'.
However, ZBC issued a retraction soon as they discovered their boob of epic proportions.

With the advent of new media, many organisations have taken to employing clueless people to run social media minus journalistic experience and know-how which has birthed the growing death of facts and journalistic ethics in the social media sphere. this has seen growing tension between the 'new-school and the old school media proponents. Middle ground is perhaps where the answers to perfection lie.
Editor’s Note: The opinions in this article are the author's, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of Inform Communications.
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