Thursday, January 19, 2017


Dear Media Scribes,

          As people in the public eye shouldn’t you be particularly careful about watching your language when tweeting or having your say on Facebook?
          Before you put something into print shouldn’t you ask yourself if the words you are going to use will be acceptable to your employer’s image or any publication you write for?
          You might use foul language in your everyday talk among your friends, but is it wise to put this on social media unedited?
          Lauren Hess, News24’s Night Editor evidently believes in keeping editing out of her personal life.  I wonder if she was taught anything about the pitfalls of Social Media when she got her national diploma in journalism at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2006; or whether this ever came up while she was a content manager for the News24 and FinNews website, before she moved up to her Night News Editor’s job.
          For some reason, which I have not been able to fathom, women are something like 80% more likely than men to use the F… word on Social Media and Lauren did nothing to spoil the figures.
          One lady is so desperate to be noticed she has dubbed herself Trouble@LadySayFuckALot. I’m not suggesting that Lauren is in this league yet, but if she doesn’t listen to her mother who knows what might happen.

          After tweeting that her mother had just taken to Social Media Lauren let us into to her mother’s thinking with these wise words: Lauren: please mind your language! Don’t use the ‘f’ word so publicly! Your mother. 

           I couldn’t resist carry on the banter with: I couldn’t agree with your mother more. I added a link to a post I wrote in 2015 about journalists who had fouled their nests on Twitter in much the same way(Bad language journos).                                                                  You don't have to be a genius to guess what Lauren tweeted back to me. 
She ignored her mother’s advice completely with: fuck off

          I was interested to know what the policy was at News24 regarding this sort of thing so in an email I asked Adriaan Basson the Editor-in-Chief if his Group approved of its staff using this kind of language on Social Media.
          “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I will address the matter,” he replied. While he didn’t say anything more I assume this means that his firm has even stronger views on the subject than Lauren’s mother.
          And he has the power to ensure that Lauren doesn’t ignore them if she values her job.
          So it looks as though Mummy did know best Lauren, after all.
I thought it would be pointless asking Lauren for her comments before I posted this because I didn’t think another two words would add to it.
          Jon, the Poor Man’s Press Ombudsman.

P.S. The worst swear word I ever used was Damn! when I missed a nail and hit my thumb. And as I don’t have an employer to censure me I don’t have to worry about what my Mother says.

P.S.S. News24 is part of the massive South Africa based Naspers multinational internet and media organisation.

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