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Other Articles from The Villager

Tirades from the shadows: Journalists know what they are doing

Mon, 7 September 2015 21:57
by Faith Haushona-Kavamba

I imagine that if I ever walked into a KFC outlet, went behind the counter and proceeded to tell the employees how to make their signature chicken, they would lynch me. 

Okay, maybe they wouldn’t react in such a savage manner, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was banned from all KFC’s for life. I have neither right, nor authority nor the expertise to attempt to tell a trained professional how to do a job that I know nothing about. 

As wounding as it may be to my ego, I try to humble myself when it comes to dealing with people in a line of work that I have no experience in. 

It is under this background that I find it hard to understand why some people feel that they have the right to tell me how to do my job. 

I am often approached by sources who feel the need to tell me how to write my stories merely because they are mentioned in the story or they are the main subject of the story. 

They tell you what to lead with, what to include and what to omit in the story and some go as far as asking you to make them sound more eloquent than they actually are. 

After that they demand that you send them a draft of your article before it goes to print so that they can approve it. This pisses me off the most because polishing their jargon comes with the job. 

I do not go into the recording studio with a musician and tell them how to sing, although that might be a good idea because it would save us from all the horrible music we are subjected to. 

I do not go onto the set of a movie and direct the actors, nor do I go to dancing studios to try and teach people there how to dance, so why do they think they can come to my office and tell me how to do my job? 

Contrary to what you may think, not every Tom, Dick and Harry can be brought in from the streets to do what we do. They can try, but believe me they would quit within a matter of time. 

We are actually trained professionals, who go to school, graduate with honour’s degrees in our fields and spend gruesome years being tortured by our seniors to become the best journalists we can. 

So excuse me, if I do not take too kindly to you telling me what to do just because you are being blinded by your five seconds of fame. 

Half of these people don’t even know how to string together words to create a sentence worthy of being in a news article, yet they think they have the authority to tell me how to do my job. 

I can’t promise that I will keep my nose out of your business, because it is my job, journalists after all are considered watchdogs. However that does not give you the right to stick your nose in my work. 

I’ve been doing this for longer than I care to admit, I pretty sure I know what I am doing, so stay in your lane and I will stay in mine.