Tuesday, January 2, 2018

CHICKEN OR BEEF? eNCA goes E! in a shocking 6 minute long puff piece report by a champagne sipping Riante Naidoo for United Charter Services private charter plane company.

eNCA (DStv 403) went E! in another shocking travel story, shamelessly plugging the charter jet company United Charter Services in an astounding 6 minute long puff piece by reporter Riante Naidoo.

Sipping champagne, Riante Naidoo and eNCA failed to disclose to viewers how much United Charter Services paid for the unbelievable 6 minute long coverage looking like an infomercial, or explaining why United Charter Services is getting such uncritical coverage in return for a (presumably) free ride, and why eNCA is taking such free rides like this in the first place.

In December Riante Naidoo with cameraman Bafana Yende went on a (free? paid-for?) trip to give charter flight company United Charter Services over 6 minutes of (free? paid-for?) coverage on eNCA ... complete with Instagram pictures.

eNCA struggles to properly and adequately cover Southern Africa and other Africa related news and often fails - yet allows a reporter and a cameraman, a big news room resource, to take a day to make something that looks exactly like the corporate marketing videos that companies put on their websites to promote their own products and services.

For her fawning United Charter Services piece, reporter Riante Naidoo flew with United Charter Services on a small private aircraft departing from Lanseria airport.

She showed viewers all the special treatment she is getting as an eNCA reporter as she interviews United Charter Services CEO Jonathan Wolpe, United Charter Services director David Howarth, and yes, even United Charter Services pilot Richard Smith.

Riante Naidoo also talked to United Charter Services air hostess Ursula van Straaten (Ursula also does hot towels, you know) who says at United Charter Services she doesn't ask the high-flying lux flyers if they want chicken or beef. Bless.

Hilariously Riante Naidoo then wants to make as if the story is about who is using private chartered aircraft in South Africa and Africa, but weirdly only asks United Charter Services - it is the only company that appears in the entire 6 minute, 14 seconds report.

Did United Charter Services pay for the airplay and for the eNCA story that comes across as an advertorial?

Is it sponsored or sponsored content? And did Riante Naidoo and the cameraman get a free trip or did eNCA actually pay money for the flight?

Viewers don't know because eNCA and Riante Naidoo fails to disclose any of that information and chose not to be transparent to viewers who are seeing the story.

In promoting United Charter Services, the champagne drinking Riante Naidoo comes across as a publicist and marketer for the company, instead of being and looking, and asking proper questions like an eNCA reporter.

Why is United Charter Services the only company featuring in a story about luxury charter jets - or is the story about United Charter Services?

If it is about United Charter Services, why is it, like an infomercial, selling United Charter Services' services and amenities under the guise of a "news" story?

In the infomercial-like "report", eNCA gives United Charter Services a chance to explain exactly its on-board catering and to also tell viewers who its celebrity clientele are who have so far made use of its services.

Riante Naidoo also primes viewers in her report about the cost of United Charter Services and gets Jonathan Wolpe to tell and sell viewers on the price of a trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town on the specific aircraft she is getting a ride - further promoting United Charter Services.

Did an eNCA editor or editors or eNCA managing director Mapi Mhlangu okay this trashy fluff?

Presumably at least someone else at eNCA in the upwards editorial chain saw this - yet nobody at eNCA had any problems with this promo and publicity report since it made it to eNCA viewers.

Once again eNCA is damaging the eMedia Investment's TV news channel's credibility by letting a reporter do a fluff piece without any real news value, without any disclaimers, or bothering to specify specifically who paid who what, or who is getting what, and who is getting what for free - jeopardising eNCA's journalistic integrity.

This shameless shilling damages whatever credibility Riante Naidoo has as an eNCA reporter and has a negative impact on eNCA's image as a TV news channel.

A story is worthy of coverage because it benefits the broader public at large in some way - not merely because of a gift or free travel the reporter has received or because a company is paying to get airtime in a news report - something that makes eNCA's United Charter Services story with United Charter Services as the only "source" and people being profiled, extremely problematic and worrisome.

In 2016 eNCA shocked when it allowed reporter Mbali Langa to go on a free boat cruise on the MSC Sinfonia to Mozambique for what wasn't a real news story, and with the reporter who even missed her flight and then proceeded to do a puff piece story that isn't news but a travel promo for MSC and the MSC Sinfonia.

eNCA ended up quietly pulling that story because of editorial lapses and for compromising its own editorial rules and standards.