Johnny Masilela

At the coalface of the breaking story


Johnny Masilela   l   Views: 80

Last weekend was a time when your favourite newspaper became part of the story in many ways.

The BEAT team, working closely with our sister publication, Die Pos/The Post, had to have a finger on the pulse, gathering information during, and in the aftermath of the fire at Bela-Bela SuperSpar.

The sensitivity of working on such an unfolding story cannot be underestimated.

With this in mind, we deliberately gave the reporters working on the breaking story a free role, to report back on whatever they came across.

But then as editors we tend to sift through such information with the proverbial tooth comb.

From time to time you ask yourself, as the editor, are we sure we can publish this and/or that detail.

Often such sensitivities do come across as frustrating to reporters, as one has to stamp the foot down and declare; no, we can’t publish this or that.

In the event of the fire at Bela-Bela SuperSpar, co-owner Carel Coetzee was rather helpful, in that he visited our offices, to sensitize us about matters ranging from the forensic to the question of jobs.

Informed by the deep concerns especially in the township, we chose to go with the headline “Superspar jobs safe”.

Dare we boast that The BEAT front page picture, as the saying goes, told the jobs story in a thousand words, with stunned Bela-Bela SuperSpar workers gasping at the fire rising from the rooftop of the imposing building.

We chose to go for the picture of the stunned workers on the front page, and published three more pictures on page two, such as the one of a firefighter gasping from a spray of water bursting from a fire hydrant.  

No wonder The BEAT website continued to draw ever-growing views from readers across the spectrum.

As much as we avoided sensationalism in terms of our main headline, the issue of jobs is on its own a topical matter.

Surprisingly, the most popular story on the sports pages was the one headlined “Ghanaian manager for Diesel ‘n Dust”, written by TK Mashaba.

Our best bet was Mzamane Ringane’s “Limpopo village boy on FIFA shortlist”, based on Baroka FC goal-minder, Oscarine Masuluke, being named among the best 10 goal-scorers for the international football governing body’s annual contest.     

We hope the full content of the story on page two provided accurate information, through Bela-Bela SuperSpar co-owner, Carel Coetzee, with regards to the future of workers.

With this in mind, we offer to assist the SuperSpar leadership in terms of a platform to share information with workers and shoppers going forward.

As for The BEAT team working on the story, namely TK Mashaba and Justin Steyn, we are oh so proud of you guys.

In the end we had to chop and change things so as to report accurately on a hypersensitive matter.

We hope to follow up on the unfolding story should any other information reach us, in terms of forensic and other investigations.

Write to The Editor on beateditor@gmail.com or PO Box 16 Bela-Bela 0480 

2 years ago       05 October 2017