Sunday, May 1, 2016


Dear Newspaper Readers,
          A month ago almost to the day the new Editor of the Johannesburg based Sunday Times Bongani Siqoko told us in a whole page apology that the story in question had “given us an opportunity to take a closer look at our news-gathering and production.”
          “We have found serious gaps,” he confessed and he promised that efforts would be made to close these.
April 3 2016
          He appeared to be only referring the Sunday Times’ investigative and news gathering shortcomings as these were the areas involved in the so called “SARS (South African Revue Service) Rogue Unit” expose` that prompted this massive about-face.
          This was published after the Press Ombudsman (that’s my better half) had ruled that the reporting had been “inaccurate, misleading and unfair.” (sunday times needs a truth drug).
          But I would have thought that what happened in these areas would have made him take a closer look at the paper in its entirety especially as it had carried an apology of one form or another almost every week since he took over as Editor at the beginning of this year(sunday times aiming for junk status).
          This might have avoided today’s Sports section clanger that announced, once again, that nobody seems to read the whole of the Sunday Times before it is allowed on the streets.
          On Page 17 of today’s edition the report of the Lions vs Hurricanes rugby match by Sbu Mjikeliso, which was the second most prominent story on the page, was headlined: Lions given a real whipping by the Canes.
1 May 2016 Page 17
          Then three pages later on the back page (The main Sports page) the lead headline proclaimed: LIONS GIVEN A REAL WHIPPING.
          And there the echo of Mjikeliso’s story was WORD FOR WORD.
1 May 2016 and in the middle of the page
at the bottom it said: "More Super Rugby
Action: Page 17"
          It’s a long time since I last worked on a newspaper and I know they are going through tough times, but do they still have a Sports Editor and general sub-editors?
If that is the case where were they when such an obvious echo was allowed to fall through the pages in spectacular colour as well – at that well known journo’s club, THE PUB perhaps?
          Last year the paper’s main front page lead echoed in a similar fashion onto the front page of the business section or Business Times as it is called.
          Siqoko can’t be blamed for that as the Editor then was Phylicia Oppelt, who got moved “upstairs” as the saying goes.
          You have to ask if changing editors has helped. Could there be something wrong with the management at Times Media the owners of the Sunday Times.
          Jon, The Poor Man’s Press Ombudsman.
P.S. Just as well he’s too poor to buy more than one paper, you might be thinking.

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