No More, Knysna-Plett Herald — No Comments

  1. Dear Mike,
    Thank you for your e-mail addressed to me on 5 June 2014 regarding a meeting between you and I. I have been aware of your public criticism of the Knysna Plett Herald for the past 2 years, but have chosen on the advice of our lawyers to ignore this, as most companies or individuals who have concerns with perceived biased reporting immediately contact us to discuss these matters face to face. This has never been forthcoming from you. You have rather constantly chosen to publically brand KPH as a DA voice piece and not a newspaper that provides fair commentary of all parties. (I do find some humour in this as a number of years ago we received a letter from the DA which stated that Knysna Plett Herald was being ‘bankrolled’ by the ANC, this was obviously not true and was relayed to them – through face to face meetings).
    I would like to point out that regarding the Eleanore Bouw-Spies article the only corrections to that article were the headline on the first release of the website article and the caption in the photograph of the printed publication, further to this all information was correct. The changes to the caption and headline were made well before the Ombudsman called our office as this was picked up and liaised back to Mr Stander via e-mail and has been reported in today’s (5 June 2014) edition of the Knysna Plett Herald. The press Ombudsman indicated that we had been reported for biased journalism in general and even though we deny any bias, you would have found out from the Ombudsman that they will not get involved in a publication choosing to report on political or religious matters as it is at the discretion of the publication to do so.
    All political parties are well aware that they can send press releases to our office for publication on matters that are of interest to the community. The ANC has apparently not yet chosen their candidate and we have received no other press releases. That is the only reason why nothing was in the paper about the ANC candidate or any other independent candidate for the by-election being held on 2 July 2014.
    You will however find in all towns that a lot of news comes from the Municipality which sometimes incorrectly leads individuals to view a newspaper as supporting a particular political party, while in fact the newspaper is merely reporting newsworthy issues relating to the municipality, which is controlled by a specific party. That was the reason the DA at the time alleged that KPH was ‘bankrolled’ by the ANC, while at that time the municipality was run by the ANC.
    You refer to many stories that we did not publish that you apparently ‘broke’ in Knysna, but please be aware that we will not publish a story on hearsay, we will not become a tabloid-like paper like some blogs out there that “hang individuals dirty laundry out for all to see”, we will not destroy the names of Knysna residents in this way purely for sensationalism and to possibly sell a few more papers on a weekly basis. We will report once investigations have been done and once we have correct information for print.
    I do understand that you may believe you are working for the betterment of Knysna as a whole, but why then call yourself ‘Wicked’ Mike? The Chambers dictionary defines the word wicked as ‘evil in principle or practice; sinful; ungodly; vicious; cruel; mischievous, spiteful; very bad, harmful, or offensive; roguish’. Why would any organisation including ours work with or even want to listen to someone who defines themselves in this way?
    There have been many factual mistakes in your reporting on Knysna Plett Herald. For example, in your blog “Is Knysna Plett Herald Dying” you start by saying “Last I knew of, their distribution was down to 4300 copies’ – had you done any research on this matter you would have been well informed that this figure is actually up and not down as you stated. It has been on 4300 for the past 3½ years, so you cannot state that far less people are reading it as according to the audited ABC figures this is complete untrue. You further go on to mention Caxton cutting ad rates, are you even aware that Group Editors (Pty) Ltd is not part of the Caxton Group? It is a local company. Did you do any research speaking to clients to ask them if our rates have decreased at all? So you see ‘Wicked’ Mike it is easy for anyone to sit and make up information on companies without research or without calling to get the correct factual information. Is this not exactly what you are accusing us of doing?
    I as Operation Director of Group Editors (Pty) Ltd would be more than happy to meet with you ‘Wicked’ Mike, as I do with any individual who would like to work with us or has concerns about us. I am open to criticism as long as it is constructive. I am not available to meet from Tuesday to Friday next week, but I can meet you on Monday afternoon.
    My editor Heidi and chief journalist Anoeschka will not form part of this meeting at this stage and I will choose the venue at which we meet (refer to paragraph 6), which will be a coffee shop or restaurant in Knysna that I will confirm by mail to you. I will not have the meeting place’s name or time of the meeting put on your blog or published and should you choose to publicise in any manner time and place of our meeting, the meeting will be cancelled immediately.
    I look forward to meeting you ‘Wicked’ Mike and trust that you will lay your weapons down before this meeting as all relationships I have with both the employees of Group Editors and all individuals I work with are honest relationships – but that cannot happen when someone, as you say in your blog ‘shot across our bow’ – as that ‘Wicked’ Mike is a sign of war to come.
    I will e-mail you the name and time of the meeting on Monday morning.
    Operations Director
    Group Editors

    • Nicole, that was a highly entertaining read and one i will discuss, this weekend, paragraph by paragraph, to show readers how wrong you are. Of course i can prove what i say. It was a shot across your bow only if you chose not to meet and work towards a more honest relationship. As much as the intent in your response insists i doubt you, i’m going to choose optimism instead. If productivity can be gained from a meeting with you, with subsequent honest actions by the Knysna-Plett Herald, i will be only to happy to remove you from my ‘To Do’ list which is frightfully long. Achieving resolution is far superior to continued engagement! Always! If we learn how to smile together, i will have more time to pursue other serious topics affecting Knysna. In that positive spirit, i will say ‘thank you’ for your response.

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