Monday, 09 November 2009

Good or bad for publications to pay for a 'lead' story

Is it not strange – if not ridiculous, sometimes, I think – just how far some journalists/publications would go in as far as getting their ‘lead’ story, even if it means paying for it?

Or maybe that’s just how things work in the media industry or is it just how far one, as a journo, would have to go and doing everything in one’s power to get all the relevant facts – even though one can never be entirely sure or accurate about such ‘relevant facts’?

For what exactly? Proving your worth to the powers that be, maybe?

Robbie Klay admitted to being paid R10 000 by Huisgenoot/You magazine for revealing that fellow singer Jurie Els allegedly molested him as a child, The Times newspaper reported today.

Klay at first insisted money had not been his motive for revealing Els's name. It was only after extensive questioning by Els's advocate Danie Dorfling that he finally admitted receiving R10, 000 from Huisgenoot/You magazine”.

Klay, according to the report, alleged to have been ‘repeatedly indecently assaulted and sodomised’ by Els ‘from the age of about 11-and-a-half until he turned 17 or 18.’

You magazine is not new to paying for an ‘exclusive’ interviews.

Earlier, after ‘The Caster Semenya saga’, the magazine was reported to have paid for an exclusive interview with the athlete. This after she[Caster Semenya] was reported to have been ‘gender tested’ by Athletic South Africa whose boss – Leonard Chuene, now suspended for his bad handling of the case together with the board – denied, but emerged later that in fact Chuene lied to the South Africa about knowing about the issue.

I do not buy Klay’s suggestion that he ‘was "pressured" into doing the interview.’

If in fact, he was forced into telling the publications or whoeverelse he told, as he calims, why did he see the need to do the interview under such duress in the first place?

Klay said, according to the newspaper: "It thought it [Els's name] would stay with me and not come out. [Later] I felt I had to be honest to my fans and to my daughter should something like that ever happen to her. I wanted to be honest".

"Yes, the money was used for our joint expenses. I don't see it as selling the story because I said no to the money from the beginning. I didn't want everyone to think I sold my story for money" Klay is reported to have said.

Just how journalistically ethical and acceptable and accepted; and under what circumstances and conditions and with what exceptions should publications (or their journalists) pay for 'lead' stories, whether controversial or not and if such 'leading' stories are worth reporting or not and the consequences thereof?

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