NTV Anchor Frederick Muitiriri  Recounts Breaking News Blunder on Air

An image of empty NTV studios taken in October 2017
NTV studios at Twin Towers along Kimathi Street in a photo dated October 2017.

NTV's Fredrick Muitiriri recalled a slip of the tongue that necessitated the CEO of the media house and other officials to come to work at 5 am.

Muitiriri had received saddening news about a grisly road accident at 1 am involving his close ally and colleague. 

"Our driver informed me that a very close friend of mine, a colleague, had been involved in an accident and had died on the spot! I was in shock,” the anchor stated on Wednesday, September 14.

As a journalist, he was mandated to report on the matter but mistakenly mentioned the name of the victim on live air.

Former Switch TV News Anchor Fredrick Muitiriri
Former Switch TV News Anchor Fredrick Muitiriri.

Notably, the family was yet to be informed of the unfortunate event and plans were underway to inform them the following day.

"I went on air, I gave the story of my friend who had just died in a grisly road accident. Unfortunately, in my confusion, I mentioned his name on air, the biggest mistake of my life," he stated.

Unknowingly to the journalist, the son of the victim was among the millions of viewers who heard the heartbreaking news and thereafter rushed to inform the mother who was caught off guard.

"The situation escalated quite fast which saw the CEO, several other heads of departments including my head of radio come to the office at 5 am," he added.

The family was inconsolable after they received the tragic news in such an unorthodox manner

"My gracious boss had already apologised profusely to the family. Also, the CEO issued a written apology," Muitiriri recalled.

Interestingly, after some inquiries, his superiors understood that the mistake was necessitated by the shock and utter confusion he was in. 

"My boss, in his unusual self, was not mad at me. He understood it was an innocent grieving moment that was truly mishandled," the journalist remarked.

An NTSA official marshalls traffic at a past accident scene
An NTSA official marshalls traffic at a past accident scene

Journalists are trained to remain calm when reporting breaking news. Among the criteria followed includes understanding the story, and whether it has been vetted or confirmed. 

They also ought to consider the harm caused by reporting names of victims of injury or death before loved ones have been properly notified. 

Medical experts also advise journalists handling stories that affect their mental health to undergo counselling and therapy. 

You can always reach out for help when experiencing any mental health issues. Call Kenya Red Cross toll-free hotline, 1199 for support.

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