Artists and journalists share one thing in common. They are both different types of journalists. The only difference is ideal journalists are meant to disseminate the truth as it is (when they report) whilst artists usually use lies to tell the truth (well or even fallacies).
From time to time both sides need each other to grow. Journalists do not owe artistes of any type (filmers, painters, musicians… etc) any favorable reviews. As afore-mentioned they are meant in the ideal world to write objective truths which we classify as reports. From time time they also have leverage to share their subjective perspectives as reviews or Opinion Editorials.
As a person who doubles as both a hobbyist journalist and artist I felt I should talk about the invisible war on the arts industry in Zimbabwe. Hopefully my involvement on both sides gives a fair level of objectivity.
To Pre-Epmt The Article
This article will be in defense of artistes for the most part though I respect both groups. To be fair I as a blogger have also from time to time defended journalists that were being attacked by entitled artistes including myself, Maynard Manyowa, Leroy Dzenga, Spekktrumn and Plot Mhako.
They know this.
Again to pre-empt… this article is inspired by an article by seasoned journalist Tafadzwa Zimoyo however this is not an attack on him neither are any examples based on him. I had a very civil comment based conversation with him early in the week whose fruits I would not like to ruin.
It was even on his birthday.
I pre-empt thses things because I hate speculation. If you are a journalist don’t click the back button, I am not speaking as one of you today but these are things artists (or anyone you have power to write about) wish you knew too.
The Conflict With Subjectivity & Freedom of Expression
Everybody with an opinion (which is everybody) loves to say the cliché remark, “Everyone entitled their opinion.” They love this statement because when they say it they see it as applying to them alone. They see it as empowering what they think.
However the same statement “Everyone is entitled their own opinion” simultaneously means the people you express your opinion to or about are equally then entitled an opinion about that opinion in itself.
So the statement does not at all mean that your opinions are uncontestable and this applies even if you are a journalist.
So a journalist has every right to say Ammara Brown’s –Svoto is athe worst effort on the planet (not that anyone said so) but Ammara brown by the same rights the journalist used to air that view has the right to say the article in which it was said was not balanced. As a reader at least. She also has the right to make public that take on the article. Well that’s her opinion too.
Ins’t “Everyone is entitled their opinion”.
Without that anyone can just force feed the populous their personal perspectives uncontested because they have access to a bigger platform nwhere they can influence mass perceptions through suggestive thinking.
Everyone Now Has Platform
Some are big, small, trusted or doubted but in 2018 everyone now has a platform. It has its disadvantages were cyber bullying occurs or fake news is disseminated, but it can also be argued that both phenomenon sort of existed and still exist in traditional media.
The only difference is long ago it was an establishment that could give you fake news or character assassinate (bully) someone etc…
Despite those big disadvantages the advantages that come with Social Media are several but I will talk about the opportunity to talk back or debunk a story.Hopefully in the most civil manner possible and with mutual respect.
That ability to challenge a perspective is one some journalists were not used to. In the 90’s the papers could say what they want about Peter Ndlovu and if a rival paper didn’t give him a chance to defend himself that was it. That was gospel truth to readers.
I remember Nas in dawn of the millennium having to go to Power 105 because Hot 97 seemed biased toward Jay Z. Nowadays anyone big or small has his platform to give his or her defense.
Then the public judges.
My Personal Suggestion On Life
Play so that you can play again tomorrow.
This is wisdom of the ages I picked up growing up. If you are in a soccer match you cannot go around playing aggressively in a messy way because you can beat up and have brothers that can beat up. Sure you can win that way but as time and karma prevail less and less people will be interested in playing with you.
Soccer rules are actually made on that basis.
That’s a metaphor of life.
You may own a platform that can slander anyone, any organization or group you want at anytime (whether as a private blogger or an employee in a big news agency) but you don’t control everyone. In 2018 you do not have a monopoly on the narrative.
If the world was made such that anyone can do anything to anyone because they have the power it would soon become inhabitable even for the person who thought they had that power.
So Mayweather could go and slap Elon Musk for fun and Elon would withdraw Mayweathers whole account for fun too.
The lesson here is…
Artists and Journalists should co-exist and whilst there may never be any true 50/50 balance on influence a visible effort of mutual respect will work in both interests.
No One Is Infallible
This is a bit redundant but the whole article has evidently been unfair to journalists and gate keepers. However in their defense as earlier highlighted. Journalists are not there to PR the work of artists, they are there to report what they see.
How about if all they see is negative? Is there no positive? (Answer that in your mind)
Well they are allowed to entirely focus on that negative by law but as mentioned in the previous point, “Play so that you can play again tomorrow.”
Everyone is a journalist too these days without going through the degree. If you are going to build a career on pointing fingers, flaws and misgivings make sure you are cool with other entities doing the same. Live like Jesus of Nazareth.
If I as a blogger am going to make a list of artists who fell off, it means I must not cry one day if someone also investigates and makes a list of people a girlfriend or wife of mine has slept with.
So whilst journalists are clearly not there to do PR work for artistes it does not follow that they are there to tear down artists (or anyone) either as a career goal.
What I hope to see more of… (This is just me)
What I hope to see more of is mutual respect in the media toward each other’s craft without trying undermine one another over clout , over likes, over the title of biggest savage and even unsettled scores.
My good friend Ree Mwase calls it “The Matyr Complex” (crucify me I don’t care).
Such has no place in building one another and I will always come guns blazing at it until my last day on earth (no one knows when that is). It could be today . As long as I am energetic, blood pumping through my veins I will continue to defend the rights of media personalities.
That is to say artists and journalists included. I will stand for the fans too for the greater good.