As I agreed with my professor I would be doing my placement with a newspaper company called Monitor in Uganda, today was my first day…
First of all before starting my placement I met the chief editor called Mr.Allex in the morning around 8.20am, he took me to the department where photojournalists and other staff members were having a meeting…so basically I was going see how the journalism department works, it all started with a meeting in the morning in around 8.30am, after confirming every one was around, a team started by talking about who will cover the news and going on a leader selects a photojournalist and a staff of member for help, well,coming to the end of the meeting the leader asks the team if there are any questions or any suggestions before starting the job, and finally the selects a member of staff to leave for the job..there was nothing much to do as it was my first day, I was asked to look around the company and watch how it works….although I didn’t do much but good enough i made friends and hope to learn from them as they get some thing from me..
I will be writing some thing short on what happened today,
As usual it all started from a meeting which started at 8.30 am and ended around 9 am if am not wrong, we were given complimentary newspapers from the company and were asked to open it page by page(previous day’s newspaper). Going through the newspaper, one of the monitor newspaper leader had found out the team had missed the most important part in an article which was basically about the local people here, the leader had said we had cut the most important part and should not be repeated again,well that was one main point in the meeting of today..coming to the second point, the leader had asked us to share out news or even previous news stories, the point here was not to repeat news from previous papers and then the leader asked us to tell us on going news and what stories would be interesting today, we also discussed on what and not to write in the newspaper,but for today’s main news was about the crime in Kampala and the head count of students in the local schools all over Uganda…now that was part of the meeting….
I was assigned by my leader to work with a reporter, and my job was to act like a photojournalist, I was asked to take photographs while the reporter writes notes, before I forget, we were told to go to 2 schools to get news about the head count of students, so basically we were looking for news on how many students are still in the school and the percentage of students leaving the school, we also planned to look at the problems on why the students leave schools, we were asked to go to a school called Shimoni college which was basically out of the city, and the second school was Kololo SS which was found in the city, reaching Shimoni college we found out the head count team was not around so that was negative, so leaving the college we arrived at Kololo SS where we found the head count doing there job, we had a talk with the member of staff and questioned them about there students, I took photographs of the head count team while they counted the students. It was an enjoyable day and learnt how teams work together….
So as usual, the day started with a meeting at 8.30am, in today’s meeting the leader had asked the team to review the previous newspaper, going through the newspaper we found out in the local news section, there was a mistake, the names of the people written in the news were wrong but I think later on it was sorted out, in the meeting the leader and other staff members talked about consultation, we all agreed on asking the leaders before printing the news and selling the newspaper out.
On day 2 I had worked with a reported previously and I had taken photographs for the newspaper, so today the photo editor liked my photograph and got it printed in the newspaper. My leader wanted me to take photographs in action, photographs which tried to show a meaning and on the same side photographs connecting the news.
It was a Friday, so just like the other days I woke up at 7am, brushed my teeth, changed my clothes and had my breakfast as fast as I could, I rushed to the car and asked the driver to drop me at Monitor thinking that I would miss the meeting at 8.30am. Reaching the office, I found almost no one there, reaching 8.30 I asked one of the staff members about the meetings and they told me they are no meetings on Fridays. Being honest I felt bad, but then I thought of doing some thing.
I had planed of doing a personal project, to do that, I looked at a previous newspaper and thought of getting some ideas from there, coming to the health section, I found out an article about blood pressure and its causes. I was interested in it and thought of continuing the story, as there was no ways shown of controlling it in the newspaper, I thought of writing some thing little on how to control blood pressure. I had talked to the chief editor about the project and asked for permission, where as getting some tips on how I should go through. I was told to get an interview from a doctor and a pharmacist. It was okey to use any other means to get the research,so that’s how I finished my day..
Yes I also worked on Saterday’s, I really loved the job I was doing and therefore asked the person in charge to allow me on saterday’s also although there was nothing special on saterday’s, it was all about getting used too to the system and how it worked and of course loving the job. One thing I understud was the media department wouldn’t work with out team work and good communication with the local people or where ever one went.
One thing I had learnt that day from the photo editor was, I should take photographs of the subject when in action especially when talking or when the subject uses his/her hands to express some thing. I was told to take as many as photographs possible, the point was to select one connecting to the news. I was also told, I should take photographs of the subject which do not connect the news just for example if I say, just imagine there is a press conference and the minister is talking, then we find out one of the reporter had fainted due to luck of water in the body or what ever the case may be, so that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t shoot the reporter because he or she isn’t part of the news. The second thing I learnt was not to give gap between the minor and major subject, angles and possition selection was a must, as the newspaper had no much space so cropping was a must also,extra spaces should be cut out.
that’s all I had for the day, so basically I had a chat with the photo editor.
Just like the other normal days, we had our meeting at 8.30am, we always discussed on what to do next and also looked at the previous paper mostly, today we were re-discussing the news written in a previous newspaper, the news about the parliament and it was a must to follow it as it was the bigs news today, the news was about the party positions here in Uganda. Coming next, the chief editor had asked the reporters for the latest news and updates from the parliament. A journalist had reported that universities in Uganda, sponsored by microsoft were having a software competition and for that I was assigned by the leader to cover the event.(I was told to take close-ups and distance shots)
I left with a reporter at 10 O clock in the morning and reached the place around 10.40am, the event was taking place in one of the biggest university’s in Uganda named as Makerere University. Am not sure, but around 8 universities were taking part in the competition Each university had a team of 4 students atleast and the rest were supporters, and ofcourse having a name for the group not forgetting the software name as well. The teams were judged by four senier professors and were giving there personal views on the software as each presentation got finished. The winner was going be announced at the end of the competition The winning team would get a chance to go to Russia and compete with the other nations.
It was a good experience of taking photographs with the other photojournalist and on the other side, I got a chance to meet the students who participated in the compition.
Just like the other days, I had a meeting with the other stuff members at 8.30 in the morning, we did that from Monday to Thursday every week. We also normally went through the previous newspaper published, why we did was to see the mistakes we had done and not to repeat them again. While going through the newspaper, one of the member’s in the monitor publications had reported to the chief editor that there was repetition of news in the paper so we were asked to avoid it. Once again we were asked to find the mistakes in the newspaper, and then later on we compared our newspaper with the other leading newspapers, there was a high competition between the newspaper companies in Uganda so we tried our best to do well.
A reporter from another town had called one the journalist here and told him, students there were not registered in the local schools owned by the government and requsted the leader to research and write about it again in the newspaper, I wanted to go to the site and see the reaction of the students but it was not safe enough. Finally the leader had asked the reporters on what was new for today’s newspaper. As there was nothing much to do, I had planned to do something on health to teach the community some thing, but I had to plan for it.
Today almost no one came to the office, anyways there was nothing much as the monitor team had done every thing before time. I thought of helping the people in and on the other side I always loved it in the office, it was good atmosphere although it was a bit different from where I was studying but that didn’t make a big difference to me. And yes they were no meetings on fridays and saterdays so I had got the chance to come a bit late.
As I said on my previous post, I wanted to do some thing on the health section and planned on what I could do to bring awareness to the community. Staying in Uganda for 21 years I had an idea, drinking alcohol actually let me say over drinking was a weakness for the locals especially when it came to the weekends. I wanted to help the locals by reducing the amount of alcohol so I thought of talking to a person who had a bad experience and who was addicted to alcohol. I wanted to ask what were the disadvantages of drinking alcohol. Actually our driver in Uganda was one example.
So the day started with a meeting at 8.30 in the morning as usual, like other days we reviewed the newspaper, going through the paper I suggested we should take better photographs in terms of technical skills and also photos which communicates with the news written, the photo desk agreed with me. After reviewing our own newspaper we usually looked at other newspaper and yes we did that also, we looked at other newspapers to confirm if we had written every thing and making sure we didn’t miss any major news. Later on in the meeting, the leader had asked the journalists what news they had for today, after sharing the news with the team, the chief editor planned to choose the news to write in the newspaper(which was useful). Ending the meeting, the chief editor had asked the team, one by one on what they were doing for the day, and in case a member had nothing to do was given an assignment.
I was only sent to safe sites to cover the news, most of the days our reporters had to cover theft and murder which was dangerous and on the other side needed experience. What I learnt was with out team work, the media department would not work at all. I noticed there was a strong communication between the members and also the people around the community.
It was a Friday and on Fridays we didn’t have meetings at 8.30 am, so that meant every one came a bit late to the office yes except the chief editor and the leaders.(i don’t know why) The chief editor, Mr.Alex appreciated my hard work and keeping in time so gave me a day off, that meant I had no other work other than doing my personal projects which I loved.
As I said before, I wanted to do some thing for the community and bring awareness to the people in the society, I had asked my driver, who was addicted to alcohol, if I could ask him some questions and what he could advice the young people. The question I had asked him was how he started drinking, before I say some thing else let me tell you his name first he is called Mr. Monday( because he was born on a monday) we call him Muzze(Muzze means Old man with respect) so yes coming to the question, he had said he starting drinking because of his father, he had seen his father drinking local beer since childhood and also tried it one day when his father left the house, Muzze had said “my father used go out to look at the farm, and I used to taste the local beer” it started with sips and ended up taking big glasses of beer. I had asked him if he could avoid beer, Muzze told me he was so much addicted to beer that if he did not drink, his body would shiver and feel weak, I didn’t go that deep but asked his the last question, I said to Muzze, “Muzze what do say to young people?” so Muzze replied with an answer “I say, they should not follow there elders who drink, they should avoid it”. I didn’t want to ask him alot of question so it was a small chat, getting some information from Muzze I left the place.
As I said before, I also worked on Saterdays, it was interesting sitting in the office, I felt professional and looked like I was fulfilling my dream, my dream of being a photojournalist. Well on saterday, the daily monitor team didn’t have much to do as we all did the work before, all the members wanted to enjoy the weekend and so they did not want to work on the weekends. The printing team would arrange the papers and send them to other towns using the monitor mini bus. On saterday, I liked looking at the news we have printed and also planned on what to do after the weekend. Being a photojournalist, it was a must to know on whats happening outside. Having information about the place we were staying was a must. We all knew the people around from the transport people to the people in the parliament. What was not good was the police and the other security forces. They hated the press for some reason, which I don’t know.
So it was a Monday the weekend was over, that meant we had a meeting like always, 8.30am sharp the chief editor and the leader were in the office calling the members. Reviewing the previous newspaper was a must, the reason why we reviewed the previous newspaper was to find out mistakes and try not to repeat them (although they were mistakes almost every day, maybe because the organisation was too big or just because of the system). The leader had issues with some of the stuff working in the office, some of the members were not in time, not once but always so in that case we were asked to come a bit early just because we had to review the newspaper and that personally. Well, this week we had alot of news to write about the parliament and other political parties. Our in charge asked one of the reporter’s who was assigned to look at political issues and Parliament updates for what was going on. Political news was a must in the newspaper, because, most of the Ugandans were interested in political news and wanted to know whats happening in the country.
Well, that day we looked at new stories(news) and continued reworking on old stories, this was because the locals wanted new updates from the same story printed days ago giving an example of a crime scene, if I say police arresting robbers,what happened next??. We photojournalists didnt have much to do although the coming days were busy, so the incharge had given little bit of work who had no work to do, I had sat down with my friend Yusuf(photo editor) and looked how he went through the pictures, he had told me, when we print a photograph in the newspaper, we are not supposed to edit it, maybe just abit of cropping if needed. He had said, the photograph should be natural and not tempered.
Just like the other days, meeting at 8.30am. The previous day, had the leader talked to the members of the Daily Monitor to come in time, today every one was in time and therefore the leader was happy and smiling. After greeting each other in the meeting, the first thing we did was the newspaper review so yes we did that, going through the newspaper I had noticed an article which was repeated and was already printed some time back, I dont think it was useful to print the article again as it wasn’t a major story so I complained to the leader and the chief-editor. I was happy that they had agreed with me. A reporter had complained that there was a wrong caption for a different news in the newspaper, I heard from the members, this could cause problems to the company. We all agreed on reading the news and captions twice before printing the news in the paper. From this lesson I learnt we should read some thing twice and understand it before showing it outside.
Day 13’s meeting was a funny one to me, still going through the newspaper we found out page 7 had the same news from page 3, I almost laughed, but the environment in the office was not good so I controlled my self, later on in the meeting I had said, mistakes happen and we learn from our own mistakes, my leader agreed with me and that’s what I loved most. I think this happened because of poor communication. Next, the photo-editor had cropped a picture I think more than needed so the members were complaining, they didnt like it because the photograph was not connecting to the news in the paper. In Uganda, photographs did a major role in the newspaper, this because most of the Ugandans did not read the news and just looked at the sub-titles and pictures.
That day,it was a long meeting, I remember my legs were tired and I wanted to sit down, we looked at other newspapers, just in-case we missed any news and yes we did!. A reporter had missed news from the parliament, so that was a loss not only to the people who followed our paper but also to the company. In that case, I suggested we should print the missing news in today’s paper, and yes we did print the news. The chief editor had noticed our team was not doing well with the crime news, why, I dont know. The team had missed news about a murder done, a child was killed by an old man deep in the village. The leader had learnt a photojournalist to cover the news and get the updates of the crime. So that was our meeting that day..
Around 1pm I was assigned with another reporter to cover up a press conference in Kampala, the D.P(Democratic Party) an opposition party had a press conference with the media. My job was to take photographs. I talked to Yusuf, the photo editor on how I should work, Yusuf had said I should take it easy, take close-up shots of the subject and especially taking shots of the subject when in action, Yusuf told me, subject in action explains the best in the newspaper. That day, I had faced problems with my lighting, it was dark, so I used the flashlight but that brought up reflection from the background, anyways I still managed to do some thing, I changed my shutterspeed and timed the subject when in action, some times things dont go as you want it to be.
As usual meeting at 8.30 am, and then reviewing the previous newspaper, now that’s where the problems always came from, the front pages photograph was not suitable for the news, most of the members didn’t like it. Front page photograph was a must and should be suitable for the news, we also kept the major news on the front page with a large sized photograph which brought interest to the people. Well, it was the first time happening so we didn’t argue alot. Next, we looked at others newspapers such as newvision, bukede and so on. Going through the other papers just in case we had missed any news, but thanks God all was well. The leader had asked the journalists to find out the latest news and lastly the leader had asked the members to have a plan before coming to the meetings, so that we could not waste time on planning and do other things instead in time.
Later on that day I was assigned by my leader to cover an event in Makerere University, I was briefed by the leader on what to do, my role was to take photographs and especially taking photographs of the subject while talking to the media. The Israeli ambassador was coming to meet the University members and also looking at the system. The main reason he was coming for was to see the system before the Israeli ambassador agreed on collaborating with leading Israeli universities and Ugandan Universities. The ambassador had moved all around the department for example the science department, business department and so on, he had chats with the members of the department and mostly questioned them on how the system was.
I woke up in the morning to attend the meeting at 8.30am, As a team we reviewed our newspaper, our reason for reviewing the paper was find mistakes as I said before. Yes there were mistakes in the newspaper. Today, we had written an article about malaria and how to control it, the photograph in the newspaper was not suitable for the news. I had suggested we should have used a photograph of a mosquito net or some thing relating. The leader had asked the photojournalist to take photographs of ladies also, our team noticed most of our photographs were male. Going to the next step, we looked at other newspapers after, just to look for news we missed. The leader had asked members to plan for today and also asked for latest news so that we could use them in the newspaper for the next day. Recently we had issues on what to write, so we planned to show the news to the chief editor before printing the news. That was not a big issue but selecting the news was the big thing.
After the meeting I was sitting in the office not expecting any assignments today but Mr.Yusuf my photo-editor came running with a reporter told me I had to rush to a event and the cover the event. The photo editor told me the photographs would be for the kids section and I had to go to a school, I got some one to drop me at the school,City Parents. The event was about the last day of school, kids were screaming and shouting, running up and down. My plan was to take as many photographs as I could. The reporter I went with had t-shirts for the kids. They were competitions and some other things to do for the kids.
So it was a Friday, that meant no meeting in the morning and a bit of more sleep, as the team did most of the work on Thursday’s, we relaxed on Friday and Saturday although there was some work done. On Friday’s, I did my personal projects if not kept on asking questions to the Daily Monitor team, questions about the work they do and how they go through…I found out from the members in team that it was a whole process, this Friday we just enjoyed talking to each other due to less work.
My seventeenth day was a Saturday, we had no meetings on Saturdays and every one came with a relaxed mood although they were people who were on leave. Saturday was not a busy day just like Friday, so on Saturdays I talked to the seiner members and looked at there monitor screens wondering what they were doing. Different team members had different jobs to do, some of the team mates were selfish and I wondered why would they not teach others and showing the others on the right path. Anyways things worked out. I was not assigned every day from the team leader, we had our own days, I mostly worked on Tuesdays which was a good day for me, I really enjoyed what I did.
It was a Monday,so that means I had a meeting at 8.30am just like the other days,(some times hated it) it was raining and the members of the team did not reach in time, making the situation worse, the members reached after an hour and that was bad for me because I was sick maybe because of the weather change, and yes, the factory was working with paper, new paper was in and the printing team was on it, the whole area was smelling and most of us got flue. That day I was sent home by the leader, I was sad, I wanted to see how the printing team works but the situation there was not good. Anyways I was not assigned and how could a sick person work??.
so being a public day, I think it was labour day, I was in the office as usual, no one was around so waited for a bit. It was not a busy day so I lef the place and went to the pharmacy, I was asked to take photographs of medicines, the pharmacist wanted photographs of medicines because he wanted to send photographs to some company and also uploading them on the internet. I spent the whole day there taking photographs, I had attached two A4 white paper together, yes that was my background, and then started shooting. I was given a drink and yes after I enjoyed some local food. Well not a bad day..
It was my last day, I wish it wasn’t, like the other days we had a meeting at8.30am. We viewed the previous paper like we did before. That was the time when we got trouble, there was a wrong title given of a different person and that of a person from the government,instead saying Soldier they had said Police. Well it was ok and didn’t become a big issue, next we reviewed the other newspapers, and yes we did miss news, there was a police case for drinking and driving which would be a big case and a big story in the paper. We planned for the day and then the leader asked the journalist in charge of crime, crimes were at a higher rate by then. The leader asked the reporters about the educational news and that’s how I ended my day by handing in my press card and was promised a job in the Daily Monitor by the chief editor after I was done with my degree. Met every one and left the office, although I used to come back in the office but not for work, I had got used too to the system and liked it although I wanted the system to be changed and more organized especially the transport system was very poor.