The adage: The pen is mightier than the sword was coined with in mind the media profession and what it is able to accomplish
Traditionally, the role of media in society has been to educate, inform and entertain.
In governance parlance, the media profession is often referred to as the Fourth Estate, befittingly coming hard on the heels the main three branches of the State, namely the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature.
The Fourth Estate, mostly referred to as ‘the press’, is the guardian of truth and has a special duty as such when compared to ‘bloggers’ or an online journal.
With regards to training, in Zimbabwe journalists should at undergo a year of intensive tertiary education before they are considered qualified for practice.
Normally, this should include four or six years of secondary education with arts, particularly Literature in English, as the major focus.
Ultimately, therefore, journalism requires not only intellect but also the ability to connect the dots, including the discernment of patterns, ability to aggregate and summarise them into statements of cause and effect.
At this juncture, it may be necessary to understand media and its concerns with issues of surveillance.
Surveillance journalism involves the close monitoring of the other branches of the State, purportedly to improve governance and accountability.
But it is not only those in the corridors of power who journalists constantly monitor, but others who also wield power.
More often, this role has resulted in destructive conflicts, at worst even resulting in loss of lives.
Journalists worldwide have at times faced death or threats of physical harm emanating from how articles are presented.
We do not undermine the role of citizen journalism, but there is need of training in regards packaging of the stories and ethics guiding them.
There has been a massive proliferation of individuals acting as quasi-journalists, masquerading as members of the Fourth Estate.
The world has gone digital, so has the dissemination of information, but ethics remain an integral part in the practise of journalism.