Welcome to Ghana—where most people react to negative news and spread it faster and easier than positive ones.
Should the media report a news story on any celebrity having an affair, that story will spread faster than a celebrity finding the cure for AIDS. Even when celebrities embark on a charity events few media houses spread it.
Bad news spread fast primarily because we are taught in Communication Studies that if a man bites a dog it’s news – oddity right?
Few weeks ago, it was reported in mainstream media and various blogs that rising female songstress, Wendy Shay and her manager, Bullet of RuffNSmooth fame were caught having an affair by Bullet’s girlfriend.
Audios were quickly released as evidence to support this obviously juicy story.
Some argued that as Bullet’s girlfriend was recording the ordeal, the phone fell and so it was proof of some sort of altercation. We thought it was unfortunate as it were but it turned out that what we all thought as unfortunate was rather Shay and her management’s way of gaining the media attention.
We felt the egg on our faces when Wendy Shay took to Instagram to announce a banger. Her new song titled The Boy Is Mine which features Eno Barony has a little over 280,000 views on Youtube and guess what, the video opens with what we heard in the audio the blogs so joyfully circulated without cross-checking or exercising restraint.
The opening scene shows Wendy Shay rushing out of a room. She was followed by the lady who played the part of Bullet’s girlfriend. This video shows that the audio being circulated on Social Media was just a way of hyping her upcoming song and this represents a bigger problem.
Journalism is suffering from the current blog revolution. Most of our online portals and blogs are in competition to break stories even though they don’t have the resources to make verify stories or even enforce editorial standards. Worse still are fake news sites whose MO is to simply make up stories to get clicks. They tend to flood social media these days and sadly the mainstream media is joining the bandwagon of rushing to break stories they anticipate will go viral.
Ghana’s president, Akufo-Addo has complained bitterly about the standards of journalism. The fact that news houses publish unverified stories as facts and when they are proven wrong refuse to apologize or even admit they were wrong.
In the case of Wendy Shay’s video, we just laughed it off without a single media house coming out to issue a disclaimer or an apology for the obvious untruth.
We are in interesting times and journalism, even though the hope of a free world may be its undoing.