Moving on… and moving in

September 20, 2010

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MUKONO, UGANDA   One of the joys of coordinating this newspaper has been watching people move on.

Standard interns, who are the top graduates of UCU’s Mass Communication program, have found meaningful work at highly respected national organisations thanks to the unique training they’ve received here.

Uganda’s leading news companies in particular comment that this university is offering something worthwhile and noble with this publication. Yes, in creating The Standard, UCU’s administration showed some wonderful foresight.

For 78 continuous issues, Standard Supervisor Wanyama Wangah has been a key in all of this, this blessing to this community. A magician with design technology, he has, in fact, largely been the fuel that has kept The Standard running smoothly.

So I feel no joy in informing you that Wanyama himself is now moving on, back to his former home of 12 years, The New Vision. He now returns as an editor. Not surprisingly, The New Vision is very pleased.

Wanyama has been a consummate professional: a newsroom coach and director par excellence. Coaching UCU’s Zain Challenge team for several years, he’s certainly a wealth of knowledge. And he’s been, in my observation, a gentleman. I will miss the many interesting conversations that we’ve had on a host of issues.

“I’m convinced that I can still benefit from him,” said John Semakula, a former Standard intern who is now a full-time reporter at The New Vision. “He had the skills for the job. I doubt if the university can find anyone to replace him.”

“When I went to The New Vision, I did not find it difficult to be a junior sub-editor. I was doing the very things that he (Wanyama) taught me,” said another Standard graduate, Frank Obonyo, now a program coordinator for Compassion International, Uganda.

“He was at the top of his game,” said graduate Brian Semujju, now studying a Master’s in Journalism at Makerere University. “We had a lot to learn from him and he had a lot to offer. He’s the king of design.”

Of course, this change affects all of UCU, a community now accustomed to a free flow of information from a well-produced paper. In this sense, UCU has been spoiled with something that no other Ugandan university has, this ongoing journal of our triumphs and trials, this printed record of who we are and how our lives are lived out.

And yet, this is not only about endings. It’s also about fresh beginnings. The torch of newsroom leadership now falls into the hands of another experienced communicator, Aggrey Duncan Mugisha, who, as of the next issue, becomes The Standard’s supervisor.

Mugisha brings with him strong experience in public relations with World Vision, Uganda. He will now lead The Standard’s various production details: from story gathering to page design, mentorship of interns to technical printing details, and, naturally, the unforeseens of any newsroom.

Mugisha’s transition to the news side of life will have its uniqueness. Public relations and newspaper production are two different animals. But administration sees Mugisha’s flexibility, especially as it plans for Mass Communication’s long-term needs.

And so Mugisha deserves – and will get – the full support of this newsroom and its many contributors during this change. This, after all, is a team game. The Standard is too important to too many people for anyone to offer anything less than their best.

To Wanyama Wangah, then, we give a heartfelt “Thank you.” And to Aggrey Mugisha, we offer a warm “Welcome aboard.”

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September 20, 2010 • Posted in ,
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