Goodbye journalism, my first love

Centenary and Bavakule. These were my history and literature teachers respectively in secondary school. This was at the mighty Kigezi High School. There was something strange about the two. In Senior 3, you had to pick one. History or literature. Not both. The lessons took place at the same time. In other words, they would “clash.” This was one terrible rule. I thought. How could the two be separated? So I attempted something that had never been done. I decided to take both subjects. I would skip history in the one week, and then attend literature classes in the next week. I got caught. I remember standing in front of both teachers.

“You have got to choose one of us. You can’t have both of us,” Bavakule said.

I picked Centenary.

Still, I would pick books from the literature class and read on my own. I remember when the literature class acted “The Trials of Brother Jero.” I was so jealous. I had the opportunity with the school newspaper though – The Mirror. I wrote the sports section. I even wrote an article; “Why Crespo is no replacement for Ronaldo at Inter Milan.” New Vision never published it. Or they did.

That was in 2002. The same year I was voted, by a landslide as the Junior Information and Entertainment Prefect. I would read the news every Friday. Organize the annual dance fest. More importantly, every evening, I would turn on CNN and let the pupils watch the American invasion of Iraq. Of course, not forgetting the Premier League weekends.

This is why journalism is considered my first love. Now I am leaving it.

My first time in a newsroom was at a radio station in 2008. Vision Radio in Mbarara. I was the all-round reporter. I never got paid for four months. I was an intern. Then, I was a BA Mass Communications student at Uganda Christian University, Mukono. I never enjoyed the general news beat. So in 2009, I walked into a newsroom – East African Business Week – with my friend Ahabwe Albert and we got offered jobs. Paid interns. This is where my financial journalism was born. I have not looked by since. I have grown. Matured. My editors then; Edris Kisambira and Assad Mugenyi (at the CEO Magazine) can testify.

It has been a journey of about 9 years in the newsroom. Growth from smaller publications to a dream job at the Daily Monitor. For me, this has been a long, sometimes, tiring journey. Interestingly, twice I was turned down by the Daily Monitor. For some, getting into the big media houses – New Vision, Daily Monitor, and NTV – was easy. It was so straight forward. I had to go round and round. Work hard. Work smart. Accept to be milked without being fed.

So I am moving on. To another place. To work with another dream team. TBWA Uganda. On 1st August 2017.

I believe, there are so many young people out there that can move journalism to the next level. As long as they don’t get carried away.

I would have loved to stay but decisions are made for a reason. We all have reasons for making that step in life. Unless we jump, we’ll never know how high it will be. I will miss the newsroom. There is a lot of unfinished business. I dreamt of changing the world. I am not sure I did. I have tried. My realities were changing too. I had to change.

The dream team at TBWA Uganda recently took on the MTN Uganda account from Metropolitan Republic. That is where I will be. On the backend.

My byline will be gone. Many will be disappointed but I hope you will understand my decision – not that I have convinced you.

I will remain relevant on this rusty blog (mumakeith.com). On a lighter note, I leave journalism with no winner’s medal.

On a lighter note, I leave journalism with no winner’s medal.

 

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