Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

With Odongo Odoyo

Today the World Press Day is being celebrated globally. It requires all players to celebrate milestones in journalism. Every profession has its ups and downs but journalism all over the world has more risk than the rest. It needs journalists to stand together in trying and happy moments. During our time of getting in the media industry, that is in the early 80s. The newsroom code of behavior was almost similar worldwide.  A senior reporter was there to mentor the incoming junior. The news editor’s decision on any article was the law of the newsroom. We were glued on manual typewriters with plain papers to type your stories. It became prestige to own portable typewriter and those of us the lot who had them could write their stories anywhere as long as one had plain papers which had to be in copies. At least three copies, one for the news editor who then pass it to chief sub editor after editing and one for the file the other one on standby should the editor in chief ask for a copy. Life was dark photographers had to go through the darkroom to process their photos of the day which were in rolls of film and mostly black and white. The darkroom was out of bound for unauthorized person. The process was tedious and taxing. The rule of the game was no reporter could leave the newsroom before being cleared by the news editor who must confirmed that his or her articles met the threshold of the media house. It was not a walk in a walk out. We could not talk of telephone journalism because the telephone being used by then were manual which was to be booked through the operator and sometime could take the whole day without getting the result. The paper had to go through the paste room where layout was done before being okayed by the chief sub editor for printing who had to ensure proof reading was done and completed according to the required English standard.When technology changed those who were in the analogue world took time to adapt to the changes, but still they were very first to learn and find accommodation among the young vibrant journalists with new technology. The only problem the new changes seem to have created laziness if not so, then there are so many telephone journalism. And downloading experts who gets news while sitting on the desk. They do not have time for nosing and searching for fresh news. This trend has created duplication of articles where some are just given new nose or intro to run as fresh while in actual sense they are stale and copycat styled. The beauty of the yesteryear journalism is eroding at a very alarming and high speed that need to be looked into in order to maintain the standard and be on the forefront of providing fresh and current information, education and entertainment to the readership and listeners globally.Media industry must change to meet the current worldwide standard but it has to do so within its own scope or what the public would wish to have. Let celebrate the day while also considering how to tackle the many positive and negative challenges facing the industry.

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