When BBC journalist, Jonah Fisher gathered his microphone from the table of a ranting Julius Malema, he was little concerned about being thrown out of the ANC Youth Leader’s media briefing. He already had his headline.
He knew too that he would be part of the story. A story which would be covered by many others. Only question is: did he compile his headline before or after Malema gave it to him? Whichever, it was an outstanding piece of “provocative reporting”.
Previously confined to Springer type shows, provocative reporting is encroaching more and more into traditional and up to now more sober media, including print. Of course it only works if the subjects can be provoked. The tragedy is that South Africa has too many buffoons in authority and news making positions whose emotional intelligence makes them vulnerable to the technique.