Monday, June 22, 2009

New Media Supported Printing

Ali Balunywa in Kampala, Uganda

Samuel Kyagulanyi is the New Vision Production and operations manager. He studied statistics at the university and has a post graduate qualification in project planning and management.

Samuel assured me that the responsibility of printing all the New Vision’s publications lies squarely on his shoulders. This also includes external works from other companies and individuals. He is also responsible for machinery, materials and manpower.

Newspaper production

A web offset machine called “Goss” is the major press used in printing the newspapers. From the editorial, the dummy is transmitted via the intranet to the pre press for plates to be made. The Computer to Machine (CTP) machine burns images onto the plates, which are sent to the Goss for printing. The Goss prints and folds the newspaper and conveys it to the inserting room where it is bundled and parceled for the market.

The new factory that is being built will house a top of the range printing press. It will be able to print 64 pages at once in color, 40,000 copies per hour. It will have an insertion machine appended. 

Presently, the New Vision prints dailies from Southern Sudan like “Southern Eye” and “Yumbe”.  Umuseso, Umwezi and Umurugizi publications from Rwanda are also printed from the New Vision. 

New Media

All communication at the New Vision is via intranet including transmitting copies for printing. Regional offices upcountry also sends their printing material via email. After layout, they PDF the documents and email them to production. Uganda’s weekly observer and Business Week newspapers are also printed at the New Vision using similar means of transmission.

The computer is used to plan all jobs and schedules are printed out for the job allocation. The computer is an integral part of the production process. All the machinery is automated therefore uses inbuilt computers to control the process including quality.

In the unlikely event that the machine breaks down, communication is by email or mobile phone. Actually at the New Vision, it is a crime to switch the company mobile phone. Responsible officers where given Blackberry mobile phones to ensure their availability on telephone and email at all times. Calling within the network is free of charge; therefore there is no excuse for one not to fulfill his duties.









Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Vision’s Digital Revolution

Ali Balunywa in Kampala, Uganda

Robert Kabushenga is the Chief Executive Officer of the New Vision Group of Companies. The New Vision Group is the biggest multimedia house in Uganda. It publishes 8 newspapers and 5 magazines. It owns 3 FM radio stations and a television network. ( 

I spoke to Robert in his offices at the New Vision headquarters in industrial area in Kampala at the end of May 2009. The appointment was made towards the end of my research on the impact of the digital culture on the print media in Uganda 

Robert was very passionate while speaking about the new media. He actually congratulated me on my choice of research. According to him, the media’s operational aspect of content generation is to share information, acquire physical networks and have the ability to store data. With this, the possibility of real time access to what is happening elsewhere is possible 

To Robert, the New Media has helped the New Vision to leap frog literally from manual to digital technologies in a short time. The technology revolution has closed the digital gap in the last 10 years. The new vision’s digital use is now at the same level as Europe or America. The speed might not be the same in terms of infrastructure, but the tools are similar. He gave an example of owning cars everywhere, but the West has good roads, yet the south has poor ones 

In terms of efficiency and convenience of operations, the new media has gone a long way in ameliorating working conditions at the New Vision, according to Robert. Regarding hardware, he talked of how the computers and mobile phones had eased communications especially in this part of the world.

He added that the development of the digital camera had made sharing, transmitting and taking photographs easy. Before, the photo developing and printing process was constrained by use of films and long time taken to get the end product, which had to be scanned and fed into the newspaper layout process. 

The new Media has also made it possible for the media houses to be truly multimedia. There is so much content generated, but most of it goes unused because there is not enough space to use it all. With new media, the capacity to absorb all content is increased many times over. 

Robert added that the new media has had a liberating impact on the media in Uganda and has also freed innovation. Business has for example shifted from being only a newspaper to a multimedia house, which includes online and hand held devices for delivering content. 

To facilitate this shift, the price of the computer has come down nearly one-third the cost of a typewriter. This has had a big impact on gathering, processing and producing news content. For journalism it has also had a positive impact on the financial side of investing in the media.  This is manifested in the way, the New Vision shares were oversubscribed when they floated them on the local bourse.

Meetings dominate Robert’s typical day. This is the culture of the New Vision and in this part of the world. Decision-making is consensual. All management must own a decision in order to effectively execute their duties. To Robert, the best way to coordinate different facets of group professionals to get the best content outcome is through meetings. 

Competition is rife among the different sections of the group. The finance, editorial, marketing and broadcasting sections have all to be well coordinated to produce their products without clashing. 

Robert like all other senior staff is on call 24/7. He starts his day quite early and finishes late. By 8.00am he is in office, at 12.30 goes home to have lunch with the family and returns by 2.00pm. He leaves office art around 8.00pm. 

The administrative work of the New Vision is accomplished using new media. Foe example, all company records are now in soft form. Minutes in meetings are typed on a laptop as the meeting is proceeding and are circulated immediately after the meeting. Even those who fail to attend the meeting are instantly updated on what transpired. 

More information is shared in advance to ease decision-making and to make contributions to meetings more informative. New Media has made the processing and distribution of information in advance much easier. Even if people are unavailable physically, they continue being involved in decision-making. 

All the group’s financial transactions are now made online. With or without bank signatories’ physical presence payments can be made despite the inaptness of the bandwidth. Still however, the New Vision has the largest bandwidth in Uganda. And hopefully, this national problem will be sorted out before the end of the year with the completion of the undersea cables. 

Mobile money technology has also made payments much easier. People in the rural areas who wish to advertise or distributors remitting money to the New Vision can use mobile money to pay the New Vision. Advertisers too can send their adverts by mobile telephone texts or SMS. 

New Vision can also make payment to its contributors, writers and correspondents in the rural areas using the same system. Mobile money is a money transfer service being operated by the two biggest mobile telephone companies, MTN and Zain. 

In spite of New Vision being the leader in ICT use in the media industry, it was with great regret that face book; twitter and you tube were disconnected. They used to slow up the whole system and make the journalists lazy to do their work and instead waste time on those social networking sites. 

In the spirit of embracing the new media, all senior staff at the New Vision was provided with a company Blackberry telephone handset. Middle level management staff is also furnished with a company telephone and credit. All these people are supposed to be in touch 24 /7. Breaking news can be coordinated as it is happening by telephone or email.

The New Vision is investing in new technologies to remain the leading innovative media in Uganda. The online newspaper edition is currently being revamped. All editorial staff will be encouraged to blog once the website is refurbished. All the regional papers will have a presence online in the local dialects.

In conclusion, the New Vision wishes to do it the Rupert Murdoch way of having a strong presence on every media platform in Uganda. No wonder Robert and Rupert rhyme!














Monday, June 15, 2009

East Africa, Connected

                                                                    Contractors lay the TEAMS fiber optic cable from 
                                                                                      the ship Niwa at Mombasa 


Publication date: Sunday, 14th June, 2009



By Reuben Olita in Mombasa


THE East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) cable has been launched at Mombasa by Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki. Speaking at the function also attended by Uganda’s information and communication technology (ICT) minister, Aggrey Awori, Kibaki said, the landing of the fibre-optic undersea cable at Mombasa was one of the landmark projects in Kenya’s and regional development efforts. 

“Some have compared it to the completion of the Kenya-Uganda railway more than a century ago,” he said noting that today’s economies were largely driven by the Internet and other ICT connections. He pointed out that the project was a public-private partnership between his government and the private sector, geared towards connecting Kenya and the region with the rest of the world and harnessing the power of ICTs. 

Kibaki expressed confidence that solutions to the economic crisis would be found using ICT, adding that the future downturns would be easier to foresee, contain and overcome. 

He directed the information and communication ministry to come up with programmes for training of the youth in ICTs to catch up with the first world in digital telecommunication technologies. 

Kibaki also directed all ministries to adopt ICTs in their plans in order to realise the benefits of technology. 

After the installation of the marine fibre optic cable, Kibaki disclosed the next step would be the construction of land- based infrastructure, to make ICT the main pillar of the Kenya Vision 2030, the country’s national economic blueprint. He emphasised that the East African Marine Systems project also marked a crucial turning point in national and regional efforts to bridge the digital divide with the developed world. He said the project would empower East Africans to become digital citizens, adding that it re-defines modernity and efficiency and was a big step in the delivery of quality service in the ICT sector. 

“I am confident the people in our region, especially the youth, will be the first to rush to take advantage of the high connectivity Internet that will be offered by the project,” Kibaki said. 

He said the TEAMS project would boost learning, work and other fields. “Readily accessible bandwidth will not only lower telecommunications costs, but also provide new opportunities in all sectors and translate the country’s concept of a ‘working nation’ into a much stronger economy.” 

The cable that has taken 18 months to reach the Kenyan coast by sea from the Middle East is expected to improve ICTs and inter-connectivity in Africa. 

“Until now, the eastern Africa coast was the longest coastline in the world without a fibre-optic cable connection to the rest of the world,” the president explained.

This article can be found on-line at: 


© Copyright 2000-2009 The New Vision. All rights reserved.

Knowledge Sharing at I-Network

Ali Balunywa in Kampala, Uganda 

I-Network Uganda is a national network of individuals and organizations that acts as a platform for sharing knowledge and information on applying ICTs for equitable national development as well as influencing and supporting ICT policy development and implementation in Uganda. The Netherlands-based International Institute for Communication and development (IICD) supports the organization.

I talked with Rachel Kadama who holds a Masters in Business Management degree is the knowledge sharing activities manager. She joined the organization in 2006. 

The knowledge-sharing plan has 6 core activities viz:

  •     Publishing a newsletter
  •     Maintaining a website
  •     Holding seminars
  •     Maintaining a mailing list
  •     Preparing and distributing short publications
  •     Video making and uploading 

The above mentioned core activities were relevant to my research.

The Newsletter 

The secretariat generates story ideas that are given to the editor to pursue. The editor of the newsletter is outsourced and is not part of the staff of I-Network. Freelance journalists can also be commissioned to write stories. The organization also encourages projects that are supported by I-Network to send in stories about their projects.

Project stories examples include; 

  •        How mothers use internet cafes
  •        Or how the health change project’s resource centre is used in combination with the internet     facility 

A team of journalists and I-Network workers write the stories in the newsletter. Before a newsletter is published, the staff at I-Network decides on the theme of the particular issue. Readers interact with writers through email. The feedback is always published in the following issue. 

Readers of the newsletter include; the ICT sector, development workers and most projects incorporating ICT. The newsletter stories are shared mainly the development areas. A modest 4,000 copies are published and distributed free of charge. It is funded through IICD.

Stories come in via email and follow the editorial process. The I-Network staff edits the stories to maintain the integrity of the organization. The layout of the magazine is outsourced and indesign software is used. 

The ready pages are PDF-ed and sent to the printers by email or on a flash disk. The printers are also outsourced.

New Media was welcomed with a sigh of relief. From typing, emailing, flash disks and PDFs to Googling for background and facts and sourcing stories. An online subscriber base is also a new media tool used for communication circulation 

A blog will be established on their website to enable people to comment and discuss issues. The Wikipedia is also frequently used for reference. The mobile phone and digital camera are very useful tools during the gathering, sorting, publishing and distributing of the newsletter.

The newsletter website is a Joomla - open source content management system.  The organization updates the website themselves every week especially with ICT news in Uganda. It is also used as a platform for other ICT based organizations to advertise themselves and upcoming events. The website carries a resource centre for documents, activities, presentations, discussions and National Information Technology Authority (NITA). All these are made available foe people and can be downloaded or commented upon. So the main purpose of the website is to be a resource.

I-Network also publishes short publications. These are focused on promoting certain projects for example; Internet connectivity, guide for rural ICT in Uganda and Cordaid/IICD health project. The come by way of hard copy and also via email to subscribers. Short publications guide the people to understand things like the Internet. 

Lastly, I-Network has started shooting videos to complement the short publications. They intend to shoot a video every quarter.








Thursday, June 11, 2009

Learning to use the new media

Ali Balunywa in Mbale, Uganda

Freshly graduated with a diploma in journalism and mass communication, Watala Jean Paul joined the New Vision as a reporter early this year 2009. His use of the new media is limited to typing in stories, emailing and mobile telephone use.  He can now also operate a digital camera by taking photos, downloading them and emailing them to the head office.

The New Vision newspaper is a member of the New Vision Group of companies and it is the biggest multimedia house in Uganda. It publishes 8 newspapers and 5 magazines. It owns 3 FM radio stations and a television network. (

Jean Paul is always at the office by 7.30 am. First thing he does is to look into the diary to check on what assignments are undone or which invitations he should attend. By 10.00am, he must have a story idea to work on. The Mbale New Vision bureau has 3 reporters.

Every reporter must come up with a minimum of 2 stories per day. Sometimes they receive assignments from the head office or from the bureau chief. However, it is also common to initiate stories by oneself.

Jean Paul is still exploring other new media. He is yet to use the search engine tool, doesn’t know how to blog nor how to chat! He has no idea what social networking sites are. He however is a young man eager to learn new things and it will not take him long to become computer savvy.






Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Regional Chief of 24 Districts

                                              David Mafabi

Ali Balunywa in Mbale, Uganda 

Having studied and attained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication, David Mafabi was recruited to the Monitor in 2002 as a correspondent. The Monitor is one of Uganda’s leading daily newspapers. It was in founded by a group of journalists 1992. Currently, it is owned by East Africa’s biggest media house, The Nation Group of Companies that publishes the biggest circulating newspaper in East Africa. It also owns radios and televisions in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

David is now the Bureau Chief of Mbale, which oversees 24 districts zoned into Bugishu, Sebei, Tororo, Teso, Karamoja and Bugwere. All these areas are in Eastern Uganda.

David is at the office by 7.30 am. The first thing he does is to chair the daily meeting with reporters and correspondents. The objective of the meeting is to share tips, exchange ideas and assign duties. During the meetings, a docket comprising of issues to be written about is developed. At 9.00 am it is sent to the news editor in Kampala.

The correspondents are then sent out to chase after what is in the docket. All stories are expected to be in by 12.00 noon, which is the deadline for regional pages unless there is an issue of national importance or breaking news that can be sent later.

David writes at least 2 stories daily, 2 features and one opinion per week. Sometimes he also attends conferences, workshops and other PR related events, which provide tips for stories. Human-interest stories like undressing and whipping a woman who is found committing adultery in Karamoja region yet a man is allowed to have as many wives as he wishes always attract national prominence. 

David, an award winner in investigative journalism does not blog nor have any interest in social networking sites. However, he uses the computer to type in stories, edit them and email them to the editors in Kampala. He also uses his Gmail for chatting and interviewing news sources. Almost all the time, he uses search engines to beef up his stories.

There is a digital camera at the office, which makes taking and uploading photos easy. David’s mobile phone is another ICT that he uses all the time for communication, briefing and debriefing, interviewing sources, clarification and getting tips. Sometimes sources beep him and he calls back to receive tips and stories.

Freelancing for Monitor Upcountry

Ali Balunywa in Mbale, Uganda

Mbale city is in the Eastern part of Uganda bordering Kenya. It is the administrative headquarters of the Eastern region. In its glory days, it used to be the cleanest city in East Africa.

It is here that I found Mudangha Kolyangha freelancing for the Monitor newspaper. The Monitor is Uganda’s other second daily newspaper. It is an independent daily founded by a group of journalists. Currently, it is owned by East Africa’s biggest media house, The Nation Group of Companies that publishes the biggest circulating newspaper in East Africa. It also owns radios and televisions in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

Mudangha has a diploma in journalism and he joined the monitor in 2001. He freelances in the districts of Pallisa, Budaka and Butaleja. These districts neighbor Mbale district. They are under the jurisdiction of the Mbale bureau chief.

Freelancers have their areas gazetted to avoid clashing in their search for stories. Whenever there is an event in his area, the bureau chief calls him to assign him the duty to cover such an event.

However, he also follows up stories on his own initiative everyday. After getting his story/stories, he proceeds to the office to type them out after which he hands them to the bureau chief for editing. Sometimes he sends the stories direct to the Monitor in Kampala. Should the bureau chief or news editor in Kampala need some clarification, they call or send an email. 

Mudangha’s use of new ICT is limited to the computer, digital camera and mobile phone.  The computer is used for typing stories, emailing and cross checking facts using Google. The digital camera is used for taking photos which can be instantly sent to the newsroom. Lastly he uses the mobile phone for communicating, making appointments, interviews, receiving assignments and reporting.

Other new media were still new to him. He had no idea what social networking sites, blogs, Skype etc were. This was not strange as it is quite common with most upcountry reporters, correspondents and freelancers.



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

“The Internet is the Most Important Media Tool”, Cissy

Ali Balunywa in Gulu, Uganda

The Monitor office unlike the New Vision’s in Gulu has several female reporters and correspondents. Cissy Makumbi is one of them. She joined the Monitor in 2007 as a correspondent. The Monitor is Uganda’s other second daily newspaper. It is an independent daily founded by a group of journalists. Currently, it is owned by East Africa’s biggest media house, The Nation Group of Companies that publishes the biggest circulating newspaper in East Africa. It also owns radios and televisions in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

For Cissy, a typical day depends on what is happening in the region. However, she is always at the office by 8.00am to attend the editorial meeting. Thereafter she goes to the field in search of news, following up tips or to conduct interviews.

After getting her stories, she goes back to the office and discusses them with her boss before typing them. The discussion involves establishing what angle the story should take. The computers are not networked, so Cissy uses a flash disk to pass the typed story to her colleagues and bureau chief, before sending it to the Monitor in Kampala.

To Cissy, the Internet is the most important new media for journalists. She uses it for communication via email, yahoo and messenger. She also uses it to access news from other sources and to beef up her stories with the Google search engine. She does not blog, nor belong to any social networking sites, but she relaxes with the Solitaire computer game.

The other tool Cissy uses most is the mobile telephone. Her phone has a camera, recorder, radio video and texting in addition to making and receiving calls. She is a proud user of all the functions of her telephone.

Basic ICT tools for the Media

Ali Balunywa in Gulu, Uganda

Justin Muboka works in the Monitor’s Gulu Bureau. The Monitor is Uganda’s other second daily newspaper. It is an independent daily founded by a group of journalists. Currently, it is owned by East Africa’s biggest media house, The Nation Group of Companies that publishes the biggest circulating newspaper in East Africa. It also owns radios and televisions in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

Justin holds a diploma in education. She joined the Monitor in 2008 and she holds the post of news reporter.

Every morning, Justin gets to office by 8.00am to get to office in time for the editorial meeting chaired by the bureau chief. During the meeting they discuss how to improve on the paper. They also exchange news tips and receive assignments.

After the meeting, Justin goes to the field in search of news. After gathering the news she returns to the office to type the stories. She passes the typed stories to her colleagues and bureau chief using a flash disk. If the story is fine, the bureau chief sends it to the Monitor in Kampala.

Justin’s use of the new media is limited to the computer, Internet and mobile phone. She does not blog or belong to any social networking site. She uses the intern for research, email, Gmail and news; She uses her mobile phone for communication, texting, receiving assignments and reporting.


New Media, a Blessing for Upcountry Journalists

Ali Balunywa in Gulu, Uganda

The New Vision regional office in Gulu is located in the very heart of Gulu town in Northern Uganda, The New Vision newspaper is a member of the New Vision Group of companies and it is the biggest multimedia house in Uganda. It publishes 8 newspapers and 5 magazines. It owns 3 FM radio stations and a television network. (

Chris Ocowun is the bureau chief of the New Vision in Gulu. He holds a diploma in journalism and mass communication. His typical day starts with an overview of the previous day, what was done or not done. He also looks at how stories can be improved or built on.

Every Tuesday, he chairs the editorial meeting between 8.00 am and 9.00am. They share news tips and ideas and assign duties to every one.

Every day Chris sends his staff out to the field in search of news or to follow up on stories. Every reporter is computer literate. Each types out his/her story on the computer and emails it to the editor. Deadlines for stories are 10.00am though breaking news stories can be sent much later. 

In the Gulu office newsroom, reporters share stories with each other before sending them to the editor to ensure that the grammar is right and facts are in order. The Gulu office has 6 reporters.

Chris observed that the new media is a blessing for upcountry journalists. It all starts with the computer, which is used for typing stories, editing them and forwarding them via email to the editor. It is also used to spell check and for obtaining background information.

Chris also uses Yahoo messenger for conducting interviews, collecting data and clarifying on some information. He however does not belong to any social networking sites, nor does he blog.

The office has a digital camera, which is used to take photos that are attached to stories. The photos are uploaded on the computers, cleaned up and instantly sent to Kampala.

The mobile phone is also used at the office in the line of duty. It is used for gathering news, making appointments, clarifying on stories and sometimes sending stories to Kampala.



Oketch Bitek, not Okot B’tek!

Ali Balunywa in Gulu, Uganda

When Oketch Bitek told me his name, I automatically assumed that I heard Okot B’tek the famous poet and novelist. However, he explained to me that he was no relative of the poet. Oketch is a freelance journalist with the New Vision.

The New Vision newspaper is a member of the New Vision Group of companies and it is the biggest multimedia house in Uganda. It publishes 8 newspapers and 5 magazines. It owns 3 FM radio stations and a television network. (

Oketch is a university graduate. He is in possession of a Bachelor of Arts degree in education. After school he first worked with the Monitor newspaper as the Northern Bureau chief. He was also a reporter for the Central Broadcasting Services FM Radio and at the same time a researcher for international television stations.

Oketch arrives at the office every, day at 8.30 am. He asks his boss if there is any pending assignment. If not, he goes through the book to establish if there is any unaccomplished task or invitation to a function or event.

He also checks the Internet for any pending invitation or local issue. He then peruses through the local papers to see if there is any issue that they overlooked or to get tips for new stories.

After writing his articles, Oketch types them using the office computer and sends them to the bureau chief, who sends it to Kampala if found okay.

On the new media technology, Oketch confirmed that he uses the computer for Internet, email, spell checking, retouching photos and reading other newspapers. He however admitted that he does not use the search engines, chatting or social networking sites nor does he blog. 

Oketch uses the mobile phone for communication, receiving assignments, texting and reporting. He owns a laptop, which he uses to write his stories and send them to the editors or/ and bureau chief. He also listens to FM radios to get story tips.



Corresponding for New Vision

Ali Balunywa in Gulu, Uganda

Cornelius Lubangakene is a freelance journalist with the New Vision in Gulu, Northern Uganda. The New Vision newspaper is a member of the New Vision Group of companies and it is the biggest multimedia house in Uganda. It publishes 8 newspapers and 5 magazines. It owns 3 FM radio stations and a television network. (

Cornelius arrives at office every day at 8.30am. He attends a brief editorial meeting where tips are shared and assignments given. Invitations for functions are also allocated to different journalists. Cornelius then listens to the radio to get more news tips. He also goes out to the police station or the court or market in search of news.

He uses motorcycle taxis or boda boda as they are locally called. He always carries with him a notebook, camera, mobile phone and pen. After getting his stories, he returns to the office, types them on computer, downloads photos and mails it to Kampala.

He regards the computer as his main new media tool. He uses it for typing stories, spell checking, email, Google, Gmail and chatting to source stories. He however doesn’t use any social networking sites. The mobile phone is the second best tool to use in news gathering and reporting. It is used for receiving assignments, texting and interviewing sources.

Cornelius also uses the radios for sourcing news tips. 

The Mobile Phone is King of the Media

Ali Balunywa in Gulu, Uganda

Moses Akena is a freelance journalist who joined the Monitor early this year 2009. He is a graduate of Literature. The Monitor is Uganda’s other second daily newspaper. It is an independent daily founded by a group of journalists. Currently, it is owned by East Africa’s biggest media house, The Nation Group of Companies that publishes the biggest circulating newspaper in East Africa. It also owns radios and televisions in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

The first thing he does in the morning is to send stories generated the previous day to Kampala. The deadline for upcountry stories is 10.00am. So stories that are collected after that are sent the next morning unless they are breaking news stories. 

Moses goes out in the field in search of news after mailing Kampala. Later in the day, he attends an editorial meeting chaired by the bureau chief. After the meeting, Moses types his stories. There is no network at the bureau offices, so stories are transferred using flash disks. Stories get peer review and then they are sent to the bureau chief before emailing them to Kampala.

Moses being a fresh graduate makes limited use of the New Media. He does not belong to any social networking site, does not blog, does not use a digital camera nor can he edit photos. However, he use the computer for typing in stories, editing, Googling and emailing.

He also constantly uses his mobile phone for receiving instructions, texting, interviewing and reporting. He thinks the mobile phone is the king of the media and the best tool that has revolutionized the media.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tales from a Monitor Bureau Chief

By Ali Balunywa in Mbarara, Uganda

Recruited in 2000, Joseph Mazige is now the Daily Monitor’s Mbarara Bureau chief. He is a graduate of Mass Communications of Makerere University. The Monitor is Uganda’s other second daily newspaper. It is an independent daily founded by a group of journalists. Currently, it is owned by East Africa’s biggest media house, The Nation Group of Companies that publishes the biggest circulating newspaper in East Africa. It also owns radios and televisions in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

Joseph arrives in office at 7.15 every morning. He first peruses the Monitor newspaper to check out which stories were run and to get story tips.  He looks at advertisements also because they provide the best story tips. He also reads other newspapers to find out which stories could have escaped them from the region and what angle other papers took.

At 8.00 am, he chairs the meeting with reporters and correspondents. He also has a one to one meeting to discuss stories run and to get news tips. He also assigns them the day’s work.

After the editorial meeting, Joseph checks his emails. If there are story tips or invitations to attend press briefings or conference, he assigns them to the reporters.

There always exists a docket for stories especially left over from the day before. Joseph looks at it and decides which stories are still relevant and sends them to Kampala.  However, he keeps the docket open for reporters to add the day’s stories.

As stories come in, Joseph reads them and advises the writers on what angles to take and what extras to include. All these stories once ready are put in the days docket. A docket is an electronic storage space.

At 8.30am, Joseph edits stories that remained in the docket the day before. By 9.00am, a docket of not less than 2 stories is sent to Kampala. Thereafter, Joseph starts editing stories as they come in. He also works the phones to engage the reporters in the field. He guides them as they gather news.

Sometimes Joseph also goes out in the field to gather news or to fulfill appointments especially from government officials. By midday, another docket is submitted to Kampala. It includes stories and photos. This is the deadline for a normal story to be sent to Kampala. Since upcountry news are always somewhere inside, the deadline for submission of articles is 12.00 noon. Only stories for pages 1,2 or 3 can be received much later. Breaking news stories can also be submitted late.

Joseph claimed that the new media is the biggest blessing that journalists have. He started with the computer which he said was used for typing stories, email, communication, editing, layout, spell check, search engines, etc. He also admitted to having a blog;, where he puts several articles that are dear to his heart. 

Joseph is also grateful to Yahoo messenger and MSN, which he uses for work for example communicating with subeditors in Kampala. Once they see each other online, then it is easier to correct any story or article.

Joseph also uses the mobile telephone for texting, communication, Internet, recording and photography. He also listens to the BBC radio and watches TV.



Environment Journalist and ICT

Ali Balunywa in Mbarara, Uganda

Uganda does not have many specialist journalists, so when I met Ebenezer T. Bifubyeka in Mbarara, Western Uganda and he told me he was an environment correspondent for the New Vision I was pleasantly surprised.

The New Vision newspaper is a member of the New Vision Group of companies and it is the biggest multimedia house in Uganda. It publishes 8 newspapers and 5 magazines. It owns 3 FM radio stations and a television network. (

Ebenezer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social sciences. He joined the New Vision in the year 2000. He is now its environment correspondent.

His typical day starts every morning by listening to radio. He tries to sieve out environment issues to provide him with tips for the day’s newsgathering. He arrives at the office at 9.00am and proceeds to read the newspapers especially the New Vision. He looks out to those stories that he can react to or use as tips for new stories.

Most of the time he assigns himself leads to follow. However, once in a while, the editor assigns him stories to follow up. His articles are always well researched and take time to complete. After completing an article he emails it to the editor in Kampala and also uploads it on his blog;

Apart from the computer and blogging, Ebenezer uses other ICTs in the course of fulfilling his journalistic duties. He uses his mobile phone for communication. He also uses the Internet’s search engines like Yahoo and Google.

He further uses the Internet’s social networking sites like Panos to share experiences and ideas with his peers. He is also a member of the online Mbarara environment journalists association 

He is additionally a frequent user of Yahoo messenger to source tips, generate ideas and exchange information 

Other new media he uses include the digital camera, spell checker, fm radio and television for tips. Lastly he subscribes to online bulletins on the environment.

Finally during his free time, Ebenezer writes novels. He has to date written 6.




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