Between a Page One Story and the Children Involved

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Should a local national daily have gone to town with a story involving a CEO’s personal life?

As an editor and journalist, I have always stayed clear of writing about people’s personal lives, especially those which included children, no matter how juicy it was.

As a journalist, we strive for exclusives and were often pressured by our editors to do so.

This drove many journalists to scrape the barrel and produce as many exclusives as possible.

Juicy stories always sell and sometimes, we do not take into account the implications it would have on those involved and the future of their children.

Recently, a national daily ran a front page report about a former telco CEO and certain allegations about his divorce, children etc.

It was an exclusive as claimed by the daily and I guess it was probably well read and many were wondering who this person was.

Of course, it soon became public knowledge who he was and news spread like wildfire.

Today, the person concerned replied to the report and had also said he would pursue legal action against the daily concerned.

Well, that is between them and their lawyers, but the point here remains – the implications of this on their small kids.

As a newsman, my primary concern would always be the children.

I am not saying the daily was wrong to have released the story. After all, they did try to get the person concerned for comment before releasing the piece.

However, personally, I am of the opinion that the editors should have refrained from printing it as this could well have serious implications on the innocent children.

In this era where the print media is fighting for survival, it is understandable how journos are fighting for good stories.

However, there has to be a fine line between a popular read and the kind of impact it would have on the innocent ones.

Society can be really cruel and painful and sadly the little kids are the ones who will have to face this now.

Did the daily do the right thing by front-paging the story or did it just shoot itself in the foot?