URN News Digest Vol 19: When Learning is Such an Illusion

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This week saw a fair inflow of somewhat good pitches and efforts here and there trying to get the other story. But one thing that struck me most, and for me what has been the greatest lessons of my time as an editor, is that we the reporters, the informers, the watchdogs of society and gatekeepers can really decide to cloud ourselves in a world of illusions.

Learning for some of us has become such an illusion. We dont really take time to learn from our mistakes and buy a coat of determination to get better.

Two things; Last week, my post focused on the misuse and abuse of the word “ill fated”. but guess what? i was left totally aghast when a story was thrown right into my face with the same words well positioned to escape my naughty eye.

I counted up to five “ill fated vehicle” statements. What i day i thought to myself. When i return to class, i will have absolutely no reason to scold students who fail to pick a lesson because in my circle of colleagues ” Learning is such an illusion”!

Two; There is a standard way of writing Cues, or introducing clips in our stories, but i am shocked that to-date my dear reporters opt to manufacture all sorts of ellipsis styles and strokes . Forexample there is one who gives me this day in day out; Cue in//…… Cue out//……

Another manufacture gives me this; Cue in…………………………………blah, bla, blah,  Cue out………….. blah blah blah.

The third manufacture; Cue in: b, b, b……………….., Cue out: ………………………b, b, b.

Again “Learning is such an illusion,” . In a world where things are changing so fast we cant really afford to act sloppy. I feel so disturbed when in addition to the 3Cs of editing, i am pushed to the edge to edit the Cues. Again the mind boggling question is; ” why s learning such an illusion?

This takes me to another question; who sets our News Agenda?

This question popped up early in the week when i put to halt a plan by one of my reporters to travel and cover the International Women’s day. Mr x had a grand plan to cover the womens day where the President of Uganda was going to be the guest of honor.

” If this is the agenda, please contact a man called “Forget” for further advice, i said in a matter of fact.

“I am not going for a merry making”, he replied

” My reporters only go for merrymaking on Christmas day, ” i replied

And i guess the tone of the e-mail conversation could have spiralled out of control. But for an editor, it is this constant nagging question; ” what excites me about my news day?”

If someone asked me today, “do you enjoy your work”, i am not sure whether i will give the same answer i could have given perhaps five years ago. why? simply because we as reporters can no longer juggle through the news solitaire to resolve the stories hidden in the web of life, communities, societies and the nation at large.

The news Solitaire is simply; my story, their story, our story. And as i tried to explore why the web seems complicated, another question poped out. “What is journalism without passion?” What is journalism, minus the willingness to learn from our mistakes and move forward each day with a new lesson to file an award winning story?

I simply cant give an answer right now…

Quote of the week: “Dont just go for the story; stay with the story, conceive it,  watch it being born, carry it to term, touch, smell and capture its infancy, nurture its growth and allow it to thrive and win an award,” By; Machrine Birungi

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