Saturday, March 2, 2019


Dear Noseweek Readers,

          As Noseweek magazine might tell you this is “News you’re not supposed to know”.
          What’s more it’s so hot I can assure you it will never appear in Martin’s publication, which he founded 25 years ago as South Africa’s only investigative magazine.
          As a former Sunday Times investigative journalist, turned self employed Private Eye, I have had a hard hitting blog for nearly 10 years to keep me off the streets in my retirement. From time to time I gave Martin some of the exposés that have appeared in it. He used them, sometimes crediting only my Dearjon-letter blog, while on other occasions my name was mentioned as well. An article I wrote specifically for Noseweek had my byline on it.
          Knowing full well that I was a pensioner he never once suggested paying me and nor did he ever offer to give me a free copy of the Noseweek edition in which my contributions appeared.         
          It was one way traffic. My blog is not a money making exercise. On the other hand Noseweek must be, otherwise it would not have survived for so long. Bad habits die hard. I just write for fun.
          As recently as a few weeks ago Martin phoned me to ask if he could use the story I broke in 2016 about the Cape Town doctor who ripped off his elderly, terminally ill patients. I agreed and even passed on two pictures I got for my post headed Caring doctor who cashed cheques for his elderly patients.
          The Health cheques for GP report in the February 2019 edition of Martin’s monthly magazine took up two pages with a large section of my post used almost word for word in most of it. I must concede it did credit me and my blog as the originator of this scoop.
          In January this year I published a book entitled Dearjon Exposed. It contains what I believe are some of the best posts from my blog. As Noseweek features in several of the posts as well as in the blurb on the back of the cover I thought I would get Martin to give the book a plug.
          Although his magazine is never much more than 30 pages it does devote one page to Books.
          When I gave him a brief run down about my book on the phone he told me to bring it to him. After driving a considerable distance from my home I handed it to him in his Cape Town office. Impatiently he said he was too busy to discuss it then and that I should phone him in a day or two. “Then we’ll talk,” he added.
          “Then we’ll talk” became his mantra for several weeks after that as he was always too busy to discuss my book. He kept putting me off, but at no stage did he have the courage to say anything like, “That’s not the kind of book we would write about in my magazine.”
          He kept me on the hook like a fisherman enjoying the torment.
          It ended on a Monday or Tuesday I think it was. He was initially not available when I phoned in the morning so I sent him an email. In it I asked when we were going to have this “talk” about whether or not he was going to give my book a plug. I referred to the unpaid writing I had done for Noseweek and complained that he was often not available when I phoned, but he never phoned me back when I left messages.
          Later that day I did get hold of him on the phone. He sounded angry and again told me to phone him on another day when “We’ll talk.” After I told him I had sent him an email he said he would have a look at it. In all my dealings with him he has seldom, if ever, replied to any of my emails.
          I never heard from him again.

          This tale had quite a few similarities to the way Lynne Johns, the news editor of the Cape Times behaved when I gave this Dr van Rooyen exclusive of mine to her paper in 2016. It was used as a front page lead without any reference to me or my blog.
          Johns and other members of that paper’s staff lied to me repeated. Much like Welz did over my book they kept leading me on by repeatedly undertaking to credit me as the originator of this story. Many lies later neither my name nor my blog had been mentioned anywhere in the Cape Times.
          Having taken on dubious business leaders and crooks of all kinds over the years you would have thought that Martin’s ethics would be of a higher calibre than to play this dishonest game of pretend.  He created the illusion that he was considering promoting my book when, as it turned out, this was never, ever his intention.
          My guess is that he probably didn’t even open it.
          Well Martin a.k.a *Ebenezer this is my side of that “talk” that you actually lied about because, in spite of numerous undertakings, it never took place. There’s one consolation: I certainly won’t be out of pocket if my exposés don’t ever appear in Noseweek again.
          Jon, a disgusted contributor, who has learnt a valuable lesson. No doubt this was “News you are not supposed to know,” but you sure know it now.
*Ebeneza Scrooge was made famous by Charles Dickens in his 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. His last name has become synonymous in the English language with a person who is very tight fisted with their money.

P.S. It is very short sighted of the news media and editors like Martin Welz to treat people like me the way he did. In this tech age everybody is a reporter on social media and on blogs that are all over the place, so this makes it harder than ever for the likes of Noseweek to get exclusive scoops. He should therefore nurture anybody who is prepared to pass on good tips or in my case actually write the entire story with an investigative background. Ironically he was prepared to sacrifice a relationship that goes back years because he would not promote a book that actually includes quite a few puffs for his own magazine - Noseweek.   
See also: Rip-off doctor and Newspaper's lies    

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