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Media companies must engage veteran editor Jabu Matsebula as consultant, train journalists on online journalism.

Saturday, 3rd September, 2022

Veteran editor Jabu Matsebula was once engaged as a media consultant by this Swaziland News to train our journalists on online reporting and the protection of sources.

I can confirm that editor and media consultant Jabu Matsebula contributed to the quality of reporting of this publication, he trained our journalists on how to write a story for an online publication including the expectations of an online audience, the training was by funded by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa(OSISA).

Now, with the emergence of online publications, it is important for media companies to organize resources and engage veteran journalists like Jabu Matsebula to train journalists.

Even veteran journalists within the Times and Observer must swallow their pride and participate in the training because online reporting is far different from what we have been doing in the print media and we must capacitate ourselves to produce quality stories.

Donors organized various trainings for me in South Africa where I was taught how to establish and run an online publication, we then engaged media consultant Jabu Matsebula who trained us on how to write online articles.

I have noted the emergence of online platforms, the Times and Observer are now active online and their main problem is that any online media expert can see that they normally copy what the Swaziland News is doing and try to play around those lines. 

My advice to media companies is that they must prepare a budget, hire media consultants who will train their journalists on how to write articles for an online publication.

This includes the manner in which you identify and verify a breaking news story, reporting on a developing story and how to write, analyze evidence for an investigative story.

On Saturday morning, I held a meeting with other South African journalists discussing how to approach stories about the Kingdom eSwatini as the Southern African Development Community(SADC) is now seized with the eSwatini political crisis.

It is important for eSwatini journalists to understand how to approach stories that involve SADC, how to collaborate with other international journalists and how to write an article that meets international standards.

The problem we have in this country is that we have journalists who still believe that their reporting of 1998 is still relevant, they are always fighting internationally recognized journalists instead of seeking help to understand online reporting so that their stories could attract consumers and meet international standards.

We once had a serious disagreement with media consultant Jabu Matsebula, the Secretary General of the Eswatini Editors Forum(EEF), but after receiving funding from OSISA, I engaged him to train our journalists because I knew he is and remains, a very knowledgeable person on media issues.

As a result, our publication benefitted from the skills transfer and or training provided by the veteran editor.

It should be noted that some journalists even copy my writings and phrases like “pro-democracy MPs”, on the other hand, they claim to be more experienced and don’t want to learn from others.

Learning from others remains the secret to success and we must not confuse learning with copying and or plagiarism.

The truth is, I am always happy when seeing other journalists using my phrases when writing articles because that means I am influencing the media but it is important to advise them to swallow their pride and learn formally.

Writing is a skill, other phrases come through creative writing, therefore, if you like Jabu Matsebula’s style of writing you must approach him to train you.

Again, if you like Zwemart’s style of writing, swallow your pride and learn, otherwise you will use creative writing phrases wrongly and confuse the public because you don\'t own the skill, you copied someone writings without knowing the context.

I am therefore advising media companies and journalists in eSwatini to put aside their pride and engage local media consultants to train journalists.

We have an interest in seeing more online publications to promote media pluralism and diversity but consumers must enjoy quality and well researched news.

 Media companies must engage veteran editor Jabu Matsebula as consultant, train journalists on online journalism.
Media Consultant Jabu Matsebula.