May 2010
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Day May 19, 2010

IPC Leaders should go and meet with editorial boards over Media Blackout

Dear UAH,

The opposition candidates should go and meet with editorial boards to talk about their programs. I hope Newspapers editors will invite the party candidates to meet with the editorial board without any handlers.

I am actually surprised this has not happened yet. In the West candidates are the ones who initiate such editorial meetings because they get to talk at length about their agenda and also get an editorial comment in the Newspaper.

I have a feeling that some of the journalists covering the candidates may not be telling readers the truth because some cover up for them so that they get invited to the endless press conferences where nothing substantive is ever said. No journalist wants to offend the big party men.

I really hope the New Vision and Monitor Editorial boards will take up the opportunity to meet with the party candidates and grill them about their programs and promises. That should happen soon because it may help Ugandans understand what the candidates stand for. Nobody knows what the candidates stand for other than defeating YKM come 2011.

How credible are their manifestos-where are they?  Do their programs add up? Do they make sense etc?  Let the editorial boards help the country out. Here is a real chance to meet the candidates without their handlers-no media handlers or lawyers-but just the candidates.

You and others in the broadcasting media should also grill them. The 2011 election is an important election for the country and Ugandan voters deserve to know what those seeking to lead them stand for.  The media could start with President Museveni and follow up with the opposition candidates. Let me suggest that to avoid accusations of favoritism, there should be a blind draw/lottery pick to decide the order in which the opposition candidates will meet with the editorial boards.

They can meet with New Vision, Monitor, Sunrise, Bukedde, Rupiny, Orumuri, and Etop editorial boards since these reach key voting blocks.  Talk to your media contacts and persuade them to take up this important cause.


Why is Newvision doing better than other papers in Uganda?

Dear readers,

Newvision(NV) and other Uganda newspapers have mediocre editors and that is why few Ugandans  waste their hard earned mbesha to buy such crap?  The editors have allowed personal narratives to fill up page after page and somehwo expect Ugandans to buy such papers. I challenge you to pick up the Daily or Sunday Nation and see if you will find any personal narratives along the lines of “letter to my mother” or columns where columnists write about their families, side dishes etc.

I have a feeling that while some of the journalists work hard and care about their stories, some of their collegaues spend most of their time in Wandegeya and Ntinda chewing away before filing such nonsense.The problem lies squarely with the editors in Uganda who get bullied to let in such nonsense.  It goes without saying that the caliber of any publsihed item depends on the good judgement of the editors.

I give Mr.Katerega Ahmed, Mr Kato joshua, Mr Lugya, Mr . Tony Owana  and Mr Weraga some credit for at least writing something in UAH. The rest are free riders who log in, lift stories, publish without giving credity to UAH. That kind of laziness is not good for the media in Uganda.I keep praying that on day Ugandan papers will get the type of editors who ran the Nation group. I have not read any personal columns in that paper.  If you do not believe me go and read their Sunday Nation, and see the caliber r of columns in there. Actually lazy and mediocre editors are doing more ham to the press in Uganda than anything else.  The problem is internal. Yap, self inflicted wounds by a bunch of mediocre types overwhelmed by duty.

I recognize the potential of the media in Uganda. It’s true that the New Vision is getting bigger and bigger and for some unexplained reasons continues to out compete the Monitor.  How can a Government Newspaper out compete the Monitor? What happened? The Monitor is supposed to be miles ahead of the New Vision now that it belongs to the Nation Group which knows how to run papers in East Africa.

I have wrestled with this question for some time.  When did the New Vision begin to outpace the Monitor? How has the New Vision been successful where other government paper-hey your New Vision journalists do not out to blow your own trumpet okay- such as Kenya Times in Kenya failed? There is no way Kenya Times would outpace the Nation or even the Standard.  I have some ideas but I will leave it to the folks who are residual claimants to figure it out.

The press in Uganda is minting tons of money. Just imagine if it could pull up their socks and make the papers appealing to broader audience? They are successful inspite of certain major weakness. What does that tell you about the potential out there in Uganda?  It is huge and in my view has not been fully exploited.  Red Pepper is minting money too. The FM radio stations, The Observer, Independent are all minting big money.

As I noted sometimes back, the market for journalists in Uganda is apparently so hot that well, average journalists are commanding big bucks. Good for them. I still believe that there must be a market for a quality paper like the Daily Nation in Uganda. Yes, there is no such paper in Uganda today.

The press/media in Ugandan should be careful not to fall victim to the NFL, NBA and NHL mentality. In the NFL, NBA and NHL, where there is no relegation, teams have no incentive to recruit top talent because the teams can -actually do sell out-still sell out irrespective of the mediocre talent on the field. Why go out to recruit Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant or Sidney Crosby when you can get by with mediocre players and still make tons of money? The Press and the readership in Uganda and yes advertisers too should demand better quality.I hope the media folks out there do not take it personally because I want them to offer better quality papers to Ugandan readers too. Nothing personal folks.

I do not know about the outgoing editor’s efforts in Newvision. It may just be luck. Apparently if you believe what Mr. Ahmed Kateregga says, most editors at the New Vision groups are opposition supporters! They are there because they are talented journalists. I am actually surprised at the New Vision’s success and of course Bukkedde inspite of pictures of naked women which has s diminished lately, but has been replaced by women giving out their numbers and inviting men to call them while lamenting the mistreatment from their former men.

I wish Bukedde could clean out but that is what sells papers among certain categories of men. The problem with The Monitor has partly to do with the revolving door policy of moving editors. They change editors too much and too soon. They should let the editors do their job and that should include the power to fire known ISO goons.

Actually that is what the Daily Nation did to one of their senior journalists Mr. Kwendo Opanga in the early 90s. He was found out to have sneaked into State House Nairobi or Mr. Moi’s home near Kibera on several occasions to eat ugali and sukumawaki with Moi. This was coined after Mr. Martin Shikuku who was a senior FORD ASILI members met Mr. Moi and claimed that he went to eat ugali and sukumawaki at State House Nairobi. The disclosure dented his reputation for good.

The senior management of the Daily Nation sent Mr. Kwendo Opanga him packing. He moved to the Standard where he rose through the ranks, but is now again back at the Nation writing a column for them.  He repented.


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