3rd Degree win journalism award by falling for local con
In more news of our friend Danie Krugel: it seems that Vodacom, in their infinite wisdom, have awarded etv’s show 3rd Degree the Journalist of the Year Award 2007 (region: Bloemfontein, category: TV Feature), for their piece on Danie Krugel. And no, this would not be an investigative journalism piece where they show him as the fraud he is; rather, it’s the piece where, ala Carte Blanche, they fall for his nonsense hook, line and sinker.
From the press release:
The judges wrote: “For the almost eerie investigative feature on a home-made invention which has helped trace criminals and victims in a crime-ravaged land, and which may soon become part of the official police armoury.”
From etv’s site (it’s all flash junk so i had to copy it out by hand – all typos are entirely theirs):
Its time to celebrate: 3rd Degree producers, Charlene and Eddie Stanley, and Megan Small and Laurell Boyers, have taken the hotly contested television awards in both Gauteng and Bloemfontein at the prestige Vodacom Journalist of the year awards hosted last week.
This week 3rd Degree takes a re-look at one of the award winning pieces. It’s an invention that uses DNA samples and satellite technology to trace people. If they get a piece of skin, nail clippings, blood or just a few strands of hair, they can find you — wherever you are. That’s the claim.
Their invention has been slammed by scientists and critical policemen — calling it ludicrous, untested and wishful thinking. Yet the inventors have many accumulated success stories over the past two years that seem difficult to explain.
If true, this invention has the potential to revolutionize crime fighting. But in the wrong hands, it can wreak havoc. We put it to the test. We also follow a real life crime situation, and see how effective it is as a crime fighting tool. When four girls go missing, we find one of their hairbrushes and try to track them down. With some amazing results.
This is the standard of journalism today? To win an award, all you have to do is fall for a con artist, even while admitting that all the experts you should be listening to as a journalist are telling you he’s full of crap? Here I thought that the standard of journalism displayed by 3rd Degree and Carte Blanche regarding this story was a journalistic anomoly specific to science reporting, but it seems it’s actually considered to be the goal, a shining example of journalistic excellence!
By the way, I notice that back in the 3rd Degree story, and also in the first Carte Blanche story, Danie had a partner/co-inventor, Leon Rossouw, has not been mentioned at all in the Carte Blanche follow-up, nor in any subsequent interview or article. I wonder what happened? It sounds like there’s a man that someone may want to interview… but that would probably be considered poor journalism.
(tip o’ the cheap hairpiece to Con-Tester for this one)