Mickey Malta

Notes from the zone where 'normal' things don't happen very often

Posts Tagged ‘Journalism

Idiots turn ordinary people into stars

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An ordinary person who achieved a cult status thanks to an idiot

Does the name Muntadar al-Zaidi ring a bell to you? Probably not. However, I’m sure that you are well aware of his stunt. He’s the guy who threw his shoes at George W Bush in Iraq.

Now we have our local version of al-Zaidi. The only problem is that he or she is anonymous. Someone created a Facebook fan page called The guy that spray painted Pedobear onto the Pope billboards, and as I write, this person has already garnered 559 fans.

This person is our own Muntadar al-Zaidi. It’s a pity that s/he did not sign his graffiti like Banksy does. He or she used the Banksy’s stencil technique, but should have been more proud of one’s work by signing it.

Written by mickeymalta

11/04/2010 at 21:27

Do the right thing

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Here’s some information that may be useful for our journalists. Will anyone have the balls to ask Ratzinger to comment about this next month while he graces us with his presence?

Apart from being a religious leader, the Pope is also the Head of the Vatican State. If a similar incident had to happen under the leadership of any of his counterparts in the democratic world, she or he would have had the decency to resign – most probably even before the news would have been made public. The irony is that the Catholic Church claims to support democracy but on the other hand its leader acted in the same way Mugabe, Castro, Gaddafi and other dictators would have behaved. Well, maybe not exactly the same way as these dictators would have almost certainly ordered the killing of the people involved and buried the news. However the fact remains that despite all the ranting against corruption, homosexuality and prostitution, someone very close to him was embroiled in such scandals.

I wonder whether he had his infallibility thinking hat on when he took the decision to act as though nothing ever happened.

Written by mickeymalta

08/03/2010 at 01:05

MaltaBeano

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Maltatoday and Beano share the same logo colours. Is my first read on Sunday turning into a comic now? Is Dennis the Menace the role model for MaltaToday?

Maltatoday and Beano share the same logo colours. Is my first read on Sunday turning into a comic now? Is Dennis the Menace the role model for MaltaToday?

I have been a regular MaltaToday customer and reader since its first issue, and I must say that I’m disappointed to see this paper going through a very bad phase – content wise – that is. It is being ‘managed emotionally’, and it REALLY shows.

MaltaToday is steadly turning into that kind of sensationalist newspaper that takes a kick out of negative events. Lately it has been flaunting the bad economic situation, and it seems to be preaching doom. There is only a certain degree of negativism that can be presented to the readers. If one goes over this limit, the product beomes boring. Alfred Sant is a typical example of negativity and the result that ensues.

Last Sunday’s story is a case in point, where David Darmanin’s report about Jason Micallef and Toni Abela’s ‘invitation issue’ made the front page, and then it turned out that the story missed some important ‘fine details’ that would have made this story far more irrelevant.

Yesterday’s edition lambasted Jason Micallef for not informing the newspaper last week that he had spoken to a clerk at the ‘House of Representatives’. The newspaper is right to be livid at Micallef’s omission of information. However, basic rules in investigative journalism dictate that whoever is investigating a story should speak to all parties concerned and listen to their version of events.

If the journalist covering this story did his homework properly, he would have found out which office was responsible for issuing these invitations, and would have asked for a comment accordingly. It is not rocket science; just textbook behaviour. Worse still, his editor and news editor failed to point this out. Had they done so, the newspaper would have been saved from the embarrassment of running a front page story based on information that will later result in being incomplete.

My impression is that there was such an adrenaline rush in the newsroom at the prospect of embarrassing Dr George Abela on his very first minutes (MaltaToday has been recently insisting on highlighting Dr Abela’s past ‘mishaps’), that the excitement prevented the people involved from thinking clearly. A whole and thorough investigation should have followed this issue, yet for some reason, it didn’t. This hasty behaviour doesn’t give a good image to the newspaper. A definite no no for a newspaper that tries to find fault in every single person, issue, and event. This, in itself, is good and journalism should not be about regurgitating politicians’ statements.

I’m sorry to say that mistakes like these cost the newspaper its credibility.

On a different issue, the paper’s Managing Editor seems to have chosen to embarrass two of his contributors. He’s been doing this for some time now. I must admit that I read Saviour Balzan’s column regularly as I find some of his insights, how shall I put it . . . . . “interesting”?

I have nothing personal against this guy. In fact, I never met him and I never spoke to him. However, I think that a person who preaches about ethics; constantly criticises people for their actions; and criticises all other newspapers and media houses for the products they offer must be extra careful and think a 1,000 times before taking any form of action.

For some weeks now, he has been running The one-minute resto crit. To start off with, this piece is a gazillion light years away from Ken Blanchard’s The One Minute Manager series as Blanchard gives concise and sound advice about the issue that the particular book deals with. Balzan’s contribution is only made up of a poor generic description of the restaurant’s main product, the address, and average price per person. If this is critique, then the Yellow Pages must be an encyclopaedia for restaurant critics.

However, the issue here is not Balzan’s review skills. The real issue is that his behaviour is obnoxious, demeaning and condescending towards MaltaToday’s own restaurant critic. The very same newspaper engaged a long time established restaurant critic whose website boasts of thousands of visitors every day. On Daphne’s blog, there were people who claimed that they actually buy the paper just for Mona’s Meals. Yet, Balzan’s decision to do his own ‘reviews’ conveys the message that he is not satisfied with his contributor’s work.

And if this is not enough, he is now taking the habit of lambasting another contributor – Vince Farrugia. To clarify, I agree with Balzan’s comments on Farrugia, and I think that the PN’s move to approach Farrugia is poor indeed. However, I don’t think that there’s any other newspaper in the world that officially picks on its own contributors and, above all, awards them the sarcastic Man of the Week spot!

These things should be dealt with professionally and internally. If he thinks that Farrugia is a twat, then he shouldn’t have him on the contributors’ list. It’s like a restaurant owner telling patrons not to accept food delivered by a particular server.

This is even worse than having one of MaltaToday’s journalists publishing an article against Balzan on the same paper; as this is a top-down issue. Staff don’t choose their bosses, but the opposite is true. So if Balzan isn’t amused by Farrugia’s behaviour, he should deal with the issue professionally by discussing it and agreeing on a desired outcome.

I am very disappointed at this kind of behaviour, and I truly hope that MaltaToday will walk its talk.

Written by mickeymalta

13/04/2009 at 13:07

Posted in Blog Main Page, Media

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