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.



2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Wendal,

    I totally disagree with your opinion that in the NFL, NBA and NHL, teams have no incentive to recruit top talent. They actually do. Otherwise, why would the drafts be such a big deal. They are big, because the best talent is there for the taking. In the just concluded NBA lottery (held yesterday 05/18), the worst team – New Jersey was hoping its favorable odds would land them the number 1 pick – it didnt. They ended up with the 3rd pick, and Washington, with lesser odds got the # 1 pick. The biggest prize is John Wall, the most sought after talent coming out of collegiate basketball this year to declare for the draft.

    Talent on your team, draws in the crowds, which translates to more money. Talent on your team also attracts higher television ratings, so the network television stations want to screen your games – which again translates to money for the team.

    In the NFL for example, which is the most popular league in America, if your team cannot sell out its home games – likely because they are bad, likely because they dont have talent – then the NFL blacks out your games. Stations cant screen your games, and your team loses out.

    So you cant get by with mediocre players. Any team would want a Tom Brady and not a JaMarcus Russell. The difference is one is a winner another a loser, one draws in the crowds, one turns them away, one brings his team wealth, another doesnt.

    Talent is the reason why the New York Yankees keep spending what other teams consider ridiculous sums of money to take the best players from other teams to their own. They keep winning, they keep getting popular, they keep getting wealthier. Sports fans want winners.

    But back to the major point of the post, if likewise, Ugandan papers had quality editors, quality writers, (I’m equating this to talent on an NFL, NBA or NHL team) and just overall quality material, then most likely readership would go up.

    Leave your paper to poor quality writing, editing, content, just overall poor talent on board, and consequently readers are turned off. There is no reason to be loyal to a poor quality paper is there !!!

  2. Princess,

    I would like to present a new argument–have you considered that Ugandan newspapers write for their majority readers? The writers at these newspapers, some of them at least, are brilliant but what good is brilliant stuff if your audience will have no patience for it? So they write what the people (majority) want to read. I am not condoning what happens, merely pointing out that there are two parties to blame here.

    Second, personal columns are nothing to be sneered at. In this world of share, share, share (hello Twitter, Facebook), people are interested in getting to know about other people’s lives, and how other people manage to deal with seemingly everyday problems. People want to share both personal details of their own lives and in other people’s lives. Sharing sells (newspapers, ads) etc.The “share” trend is not going anywhere anytime soon.

    Finally, very often we decry the state of Uganda’s literary scene (People don’t write enough! People don’t read enough!) Well, newspapers are very often the trial ground for budding new writers (fiction and otherwise). Until we can find another form of media that will give these writers just as a big a platform to express themselves, I think it would be very unfair of us to begrudge them a chance to find their “voice.”

    Yes, our newspapers could do with better investigative reporting, editing, writing, content etc., but there are other factors to be considered also. It is a little childish to pick one side of an argument and point fingers of blame at the opposing side, without really offering a solution.

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