‘A Thankless World’

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By Petronella Sibeene Agony is when you try your best with almost nothing to serve the masses and at the end of the day you are made to feel you are doing it for what I would call “a thankless world”. Without beating about the bush, I mean our journalism profession that many out there call noble and admire so much is quite interesting and at times very frustrating! Before I lose you, let me tell you about some of the best things about our job. You get to meet interesting people, not just celebrities but also the “unknown” people with a compelling story to tell. You are informed on issues; you make a difference as you bring intelligence, curiosity, persistence and integrity to the community. It makes you a creative person and it gives you the opportunity to travel to places. Every newsroom has different characters and if one was to hide a camera in one corner, one would produce the best blockbuster comedy ever. Talk of guys like Freddy Philander, Aughetto Greig, Surihe Gaomas, Confidence Musariri, Ushona Hiskia and Bro Jata Kazondo. It is a field where the phrase “Curiosity kills the cat” is applied over and over. Yes, it is an interesting field. I am prompted to say this because of the following: My colleague and I two weeks ago found ourselves at President Mogae’s opening of the Omaere/Ghanzi power station in Gobabis. To fulfil our mission, we had to work on the story as fast as we could for the event ended way past deadline. The story was compiled in no time but we had to find an internet cafÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© to send it to the newsroom. If only things could always work our way – the server at the only Internet cafÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© in that town was down, we tried a hotel only to be told it no longer offers such a service and because it was almost 17h00, we panicked. But I did not realize my colleague was so desperate to the extent of approaching a funeral parlour (just opposite the hotel) to ask for internet services! Before he could even ask, I dragged him out after pointing in the direction where caskets were displayed and only then did it ring a bell that the place dealt with the dead. Such is the intensity. Journalism, it is a field of fun but as they say, every coin has two sides. The field has its “desperate times”, when you think of the deadlines, when the editors “shout” for stories and on the other hand your sources do not seem to understand … yes you pity those in this field. Yesterday was a public holiday, but today a newspaper is on your desk, which means someone did not have time for the holiday…. Needless to say, we always appreciate it when companies or businesses invite us to cover events. However, there are times when we have to endure ill treatment from the public. Without digging deeper, many a time when we attend these organized events, especially those hosted at hotels, we are not provided with seats, have to wait for the “invited” guests to sit and then squeeze ourselves in a crunched corner. Some organizers even have the guts to mention they never organized seats for reporters but why do you invite “guests” you are not prepared to welcome? Making a follow up with CEOs’ offices is always the worst job a journalist has to do. The truth is, it is not all organized events that give us front-page materials. Whether we cover your event or not, without struggling, there will be news the following day. I am sure you have seen at some events how reporters are pushed in all directions and yet the very people who are pushing want to see the best pictures in newspapers – how do we capture the best picture if we have to take photographs on one leg? Some people have even complained not necessarily about the quality of the picture but the “subject” itself. I am made to believe that a camera does not lie. May we create an enabling environment for everybody. Give journalists space and the story goes on…. Eewa!