NAIROBI – The Nation Media Group’s top editors arecurrently holed up in a c****s meeting to address the impact of the false NTV breaking news item about Njenga Karume’s d***h posted on the station’s twitter and facebook pages early today, irritating readers and breaking the hearts of friends and family members of the former cabinet minister.

Sources at Nation Centre say the group editorial director Joseph Odindo has called an e*******y editorial meeting of senior editors, both from the newspaper section and TV, as readers’ anger continues to mount and the family agonises over false news that former cabinet minister Njenga Karume is d**d when, in fact, they are hoping against hope for his recovery from a critical illness.

“Things are not looking pretty here,” said a journalist at Nation, who asked not to be named because someone would “k**l” him. “The guy (Odindo) is furious. F**e seems to be coming down from up. It looks someone will pay for it.”

NMG is known for its conservative approach to news, and a degree of level-headed reporting that strives to verify facts before publishing and the NTV gaffe is a big taint to this image. This comes barely a week after the media house banned its journalists from using social media to break news.

This raises a genuine challenge emerging from teh internet and perhaps media houses should come up with guidelines and training on the social media for journalists before it messes up the profession.

NTV has been forced to apologise for also swallowing the rumour hook sink and line and publishing the news on it social sites pages. It says on its facebook page: “Earlier today, NTV reported on Twitter and Facebook that politician and businessman Njenga Karume had d**d. We have been reliably informed that this position is incorrect. The correct position is that he is bedridden and critically i*l. We would like to apologies to Mr. Karume, his family, friends, associates and our audience for the incorrect information.”

Elsewhere, Standard Group – in it’s typical fashion of “don’t get it right, get it written” and in the competitive spirit of scooping its rivals – took its boldness to the graveyard by announcing early today on its facebook page that former cabinet minister Njenga Karume is d**d without confirmation.

The thread – snappy and assertive (“Business man Njenga Karume is d**d”) – was quickly picked by social media and spread like fast only for it to turn out to be false. The daughter of Mr Karume, former Kiambaa MP and GEMA patron, Ms Lucy, says the business tycoon is still alive and kicking.

The media house quickly expunged the thread from its page but that has not stopped a barrage of criticism from angry readers, who have expressed dismay at how a media house of Standard’s calibre can publish such sensitive information as the d***h of a prominent person without verifying the truth.

“It’s unforgivable journalism that a leading media house can claim that a top politician is d**d without corroborating the facts…Shame! Shame!” says Temesi Mukani on facebook. The Njenga Karume, who is critically i*l, and his family are certainly very t*********d by this news and Standard has an unenviable task of getting things straight to appease the gods of life and Kurume’s family as well as restore its reputation when it comes to getting facts right in some of its newspaper stories.

The company has not said anything about this bloomer. This has forced other media houses to intervene to bring out the truth about Karume. Said Caroline Mutoko of Radio Africa Group: Caroline Mutoko: “Contrary to the rumors that seem to have originated from a section of the media – HON. NJENGA KARUME is NOT D**D. Spoke to his daughter who’s livid at the insensitive rumours.”

REBECCA KERUBO & KSH3M

Only recently, Standard was forced to withdraw a story online claiming that Rebecca Kerubo, the security guard at the centre of a g*n spat with suspended deputy chief justice Nancy Barasa, was demanding Ksh3 million to drop the case.

The story appears to have been based on rumours that were being peddled by supporters of Ms Barasa. It is bad journalism when journalists run to town with a sensational story that causes panic and t****a when a few minutes of seeking clarification would do the trick.

What happened to getting the other side of the story?

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