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Wednesday, 27 January 2010


In days gone by, researching for a news item used to be a laborious process. But in the current information age, any required data can be as close as a Google search away.

And yet some journalist appear not to be keen on this immensely useful resource at their disposal or is it just pure laziness?

A youthful BBC TV sports anchor went through the usual paces, when introducing the story of British tennis ace Andy Murray's historic exploits at the Australian Open.

From her script, she read that Murray had stormed into the quarter-finals and added that the last time a Briton achieved that feat, was 25-years ago.

But after winding up the sports segment, the more elderly-looking main news anchor asked her if she knew the result of that tennis match involving a Briton in 1985.

She was clueless. And she looked even more ridiculous by arguing she was too young then to remember. All it would have taken was for her to do a little research before going on air, instead of just reading her lines as if they were an end in themselves.

This according to an article in the Guardian online, should perhaps be one of the reasons why female anchors should not be viewed as unsuitable as they get older, but should also be viwed as getting more authoritative like their male counterparts.

Facts should keep pace with the news 

Nevertheless, care should be taken to ensure that the research being undertaken yields correct and updated data, to avoid making other errors of interpretation.

This is what happened to an NTV Kenya reporter, in a background piece below, on the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash in the Mediterranean Sea. At some point, Ethiopian Airlines used to be regarded as Africa's largest but not any more.

NTV Kenya's report on Ethiopian Airlines

According to details posted on the Star Alliance website, South African Airlines, with a fleet of  55 planes handles nearly 7 million passengers annually and gets revenues in excess of US$ 3.5 billion.

Reuters report states that Ethiopian Airlines only handled 2.8 million passengers in 2009 and it's known to have at least 35 aircraft, with a revenue base of about US$ 1 billion.

If you get the facts in a story wrong, you might never get another chance to win back your credibility.

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