Tantrum of the day
One of the annoying sides of being a journalist is having Bob and his uncle and his brother and his second cousins and their neighbours knocking on your virtual door with some story they think the world should absolutely know. Sometimes you are presented with absolute gems of stories yet sometimes, well, you are told about visions of Mary and Jesus and Joseph in packs of cornflakes, cats with five legs that can do the Cha Cha and other useless crap.
You also have people who present you with a potentially interesting story and who come with all sorts of allegations but refuse to tell you a) who they are b) where they got their information. Instead of coming clean, they remain hidden behind a virtual wall called Twitter or Facebook.
Yesterday was a classic example. In the afternoon, I was contacted by a Twitterer / Tweeter / Twat / Twit by the name of @Dewaninews. He had read one of my stories for I-net Bridge on the Dewani murder saga.
In short: In November this year a honeymooning couple – Anni and Shrien Dewani – got hijacked in Gugulethu. Hubby and driver are pushed out of car, wife is taken with, shot three times and killed. What seemed to be a ‘conventional’ gang murder South African style could possibly turn into something totally different – if the allegations and rumours are true of course. The fact that Shrien has been arrested in connection to the murder does not make him guilty just yet. Because we live in a democracy and a civilized state, and no longer in the middle ages. And in civilized states you are innocent until proven otherwise.
Anyway, back to my Twatter @Dewaninews, who spammed me with tweets for about an hour or two and ignored various requests for an email address. As a journalist it is my task to check not only my facts but also sources. The source claims he / she sent me a telephone number – which again proved to be BS. My replies have been erased because I have blocked him in the meantime.
A few tweets:
@dewaninews- Shrien #Dewani is not to be trusted. I’ve known him since 1990. DM me for more info.
@dewaninews – I went to school with him + live near his family. He’s been involved in petty crime b4 + his dad always bails him out.
@dewaninews – he’s obsessed with the film ‘Scarface’ + often boasted he could have people “whacked” (murdered). But most of all – he is gay.
@dewaninews – his family, especially his Dad, put huge pressure on him to marry. Shrien is homosexual though
@dewaninews – true that petty crime does not nec mean murder. He has a history of getting away with crime tho. He felt above the law true that petty crime does not nec mean murder. He has a history of getting away with crime tho. He felt above the law true that petty crime does not nec mean murder. He has a history of getting away with crime tho. He felt above the law
@dewaninews – actually it does if you are gay and forced to marry a woman when you’re not attracted to women. This’ll all be in Daily Mail
@dewaninews – Daily Mail piece will be out online later today. Reason Shrien’s last engagement broke down is coz he is gay and she found out
@dewaninews – it may sound trivial to you but Anni threatened to ‘out’ Shrien as gay to her family and his #Dewani – he killed her instead
@dewaninews – you may as well just wait and copy the Daily Mail piece. South African press been doing that a lot. UK first with news!
@dewaninews – I’m very fond of your work actually
@dewaninews – I’ve already told you who I am. I’m a Bristolian who has known Shrien and fam for years
@dewaninews – I’m not sure you have enough clout for me to proceed. I’m only interested in big-name newspapers
@dewaninews – let’s meet for s*x Miri
And so the “conversation” goes.
Look @Dewaninews, buddy, whether you have your facts right or not – journalists who take their job seriously will never ever ever write something like: “Shrien Dewani is gay and therefore he killed his wife”, said a tweeter who claims to have gone to school with Mr Dewani’s but who refuses to disclose his or her identity.
We.Won’t.Do.Anything.With.It.If.We.Don’t.Know.Who.You.Are. We won’t, no matter how good your story might sound. Well, I won’t do anything with it. Period and case closed.
Why? Because you could be anyone, from a 13-year old school girl with braces, his former fiancée, my next door neighbour, and a random bored housewife to an ex-mate who for what ever reason wants to get even.
So come clean @dewaninews. If you are as real as you say you are, you send me that email I asked you for. If not: leave me the hell alone and get a life. Thanks.