Understanding the reader
Looking at the figures, I am puzzled as to what exactly people would like to read on a daily basis. My confusion arises from the fact that some people have been complaining that too much focus has been given to the late Bhekinkosi ‘Scarface’ Masina who was gunned down by the police after being on the run for about seven months.
A number of people have previously raised similar concerns saying they do not understand why so much time and space is wasted on people like Frankie.
When you look at the figures, the ‘Scarface’ issue was read over 2 000 times and received 21 comments on the Times of Swaziland website. The article on the teachers protest actions was read 800 times and only four people had something to say about it.
These technological things fascinate Mkhulu, phela all these figures are found there. All one has to do is click, click and information appears.
You see phela you have to understand that the Code of Ethics for the media dictates that the media must serve the public’s interest. Now this makes it interesting because it means the media must also serve the interest of those who are interested in labo Frankie and ‘Scarface’, even though some say they have had enough already.
Yah, this is what human rights and freedom of expression is all about.
I loved this comment from Umtu-kulu, saying "Mkhulu, as people we are different so asiye ndzawonye kuhle kwemanti and you will fail if you try very hard to please everyone." Cha, utekayona impela but in as much as I understand and appreciate this argument, there must always be a majority agreement.
Mkhulu has no time to be trying to please people, count me out batukulu. When I put pen to paper, I know exactly what I want to share and get across, I always express my opinion. And it is for that reason that my article then seems to be one-sided. I cannot write and leave to the reader to decide what is right or wrong.
As columnists, I believe we should always express ourselves freely and write what we believe and not what others think. We columnists are leaders and at times we influence what people think or we create debate on a certain topic.
That is why at times during meetings emiphakatsini you find people quoting Mkhulu in their arguments. Oops Mkhulu likes going astray but you shouldn’t be worried because at my age, the mind often wonders.
In the past few months, I have been trying to follow and understand what kind of stories people are interested in reading and my research concluded that people want odd but true stories. This was after seeing the responses to the article about how a woman allegedly raped a 14-year-old boy.
What made me reach this conclusion, as you may be wondering while reading the well written article, was that it was read over 1 000 times. Again it was only click click and the figures appeared, i technology IT ngempela. I should mention that the article was carried in this publication, Swazi News.
My perception somewhat changed this week and it does happen at my age, things turn out not to be what I thought they were, eish kuguga. This week according to my take the biggest stories were teachers’ strike and ‘Scarface’s death. Cha Mkhulu akasho kutsi impela he thought one would read the teachers’ story than ‘Scarface’s saga. But guess what, I was wrong.
People still want to read about ‘Scarface’. We have to read about him because we want to know how he died. Now that is the reader’s interest, you got it.
Someone will say come-on Mkhulu we read that story titled Scarface’ Shot Four Times’ because we feel the police are taking the law unto themselves and the newspapers have to expose that.
Okay let me break the silence here before I debate this issue further. The ‘Scarface’ story titled ‘Scarface’ Shot Four Times’ was read by almost 2 000 readers online on the Times’ website while the story titled ‘Teachers’ strike halted’ was read 800 times. The ‘Scarface’ story had 21 comments while the teachers had only four comments.
To set the record straight I had expected the teachers’ story to have a bigger readership but I was wrong, our readers are unpredictable like the weather. I am told if you are predictable you are bound to bore people. I read an article by Times Entertainment Editor Ntombi Mhlongo that Generations was becoming too predictable thus it was boring, but she says now that it’s becoming unpredictable she is loving it.
I had initially planned to write about the teachers’ strike but then it seems readers are not interested in that story. They are waiting for developments on ‘Scarface’s story.
When David Simelane was captured, a majority of the public wanted to skin him alive. Even now some people are saying he is wasting the taxpayer’s money while enjoying a lavish life in custody. Had ‘Scarface’ not been killed, then what makes you think he was not going to get the same kind of treatment that David Simelane gets?
According the readers’ comments online, 60 per cent of the readers are of the view the police were wrong to kill ‘Scarface’.
I wonder why there is so much debate about this in the first place. We should be discussing national issues of teachers and our comedians (parliamentarians). You know if I was an international commentator like Trevor Noah I was going to make fun of this story. It’s funny that teachers want 4.5 per cent salary increments while government wants to cut salaries by 10 per cent.
Okay let’s be realistic and debate the issue of government versus teachers, who is playing hard to get between the two?
Truth be told, we are what we are because of teachers not doctors, journalists, lecturers, lawyers. And they deserve to get the increment although this could also cause a revolution among other government employees. But let’s face the facts teachers deserve better than what they get at the moment especially primary teachers.
How do you expect them to survive when the inflation rate is high, we are talking about the VAT, water and electricity bills and the ever increasing fuel prices. With all this, government still wants to cut salaries?
May I ask this question dear reader what do you want to read about? Someone told me that she loved reading Sparks and Mkhulu, another said he is a fan of ‘Need I say More’, ‘Just Thinking’ and the ‘Editor Says’. While another told me he was a huge fan of Umgijimi and Qalakaliboli. Others told me they love stories about parliamentarians and world news, while others prefer to only read entertainment news, sports and letters to the editor.
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