THE country’s leading daily paper, NewsDay, has been adjudged the most balanced and credible newspaper according to a survey by the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ).
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
The survey, which monitored 10 national news outlets (including public and privately-owned newspapers and radio stations) over a two-month period between August 1 and September 30, 2012, rated NewsDay the best because of its balanced coverage of political and governance issues.
NewsDay was followed by its sister publications The Standard and Zimbabwe Independent that were rated second and third respectively.
The three newspapers fall under the Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) stable.
AMH chief executive officer Raphael Khumalo said the survey merely confirmed what the group had always believed about NewsDay.
“I attribute that to our guiding principles that we set up and the process we did in terms of our recruitment and obviously we attribute it to our audience that read the paper,” he said.
“It’s our engagement with our readers and our advertisers that transformed us to be where we are.”
According to MMPZ, the study involved monitoring and analysing the content and credibility of all stories published on the front pages of the newspapers and those billed as top stories in the broadcasting media.
The MMPZ took the top three stories in the main news bulletins of each of the radio stations monitored and the top four stories broadcast on ZTV’s main evening news bulletins. The report by MMPZ shows that out of the 86 stories in NewsDay during the said period, 75 were credible. Only 11 did not give the paper an 87% mark. NewsDay was followed by The Standard with 15 out of 18 stories carried being credible.
“The report – a first of its kind was according to the MMPZ – undertaken as part of the organisation’s endeavour to promote and celebrate high standards of journalism in the country,” reads the report presented in Harare on Tuesday.
“On aggregate, professional performance, the most credible media outlet during the two-month period, as reflected in its treatment of top reports, was NewsDay with a credibility percentage of 87%.”
In second place was The Standard, at 83%, followed by Zimbabwe Independent and SW Radio Africa with an 80% credibility rating each, while Studio 7 (71%) came fifth,” reads the MMPZ report.
“In sixth place were ZTV and the Chronicle, each with 56% credibility ratings. The Herald scored a 54% credibility mark and was positioned eighth, the Daily News (51%) was number nine and last was the Sunday Mail with a credibility percentage of 38,” the report reads.
MMPZ said that issues that dominated coverage during the period under review included haggling in the constitution-making process, devolution and homosexuality, implications of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s love affairs and Sadc’s mediation in Zimbabwe, among others.