Analysis: JUDITH KONAYUMA
THE walls of Zambia Daily Mail, like any other building, shield the activities of the workers it houses, women inclusive.
However, behind these walls are some of the women who have given themselves to the work they have been called to, in their different positions.
From the lower echelons to the higher strata, one will find them on their daily grind, doing what they have come to know best.
These are women like any other. Some of them have served the company in various capacities, having weaved their way down from reporter or what is commonly known as ‘mtola nkani’.
Whether she is a reporter or an editor, she understands her contribution to the paper fully well. She sources news and treats it as a commodity that people will buy the following day.
Newspapers have long realised the importance of running their institutions for profit, and any reporter, women inclusive, who is looking for news has this in mind.
She wants to get a story that will shake the world. Whether the story comes from a rural or an urban area, it starts from getting a good (or juicy) one that will make headlines, not just for the profit of the newspaper, but a story that is worth a story.
These are the women who have given their time to collecting the news, writing the stories and packing them in such a way that they will convince a reader to buy our newspaper.
Now, this may sound so, but it is not an easy task. It is the reporter’s task to pick the news in the information they have. This is why we say a reporter should have nose for news or else she will disseminate information that is already in the public domain.
This is the task that reporters like Catherine Mumba, Priscilla Mwila, Nancy Siame, Nkombo Kachemba, Caroline Kalombe, Mwila Ntambi, Monica Kayombo and Nkole Mulambia carry out on a daily basis in the newsroom, the nerve centre of the newspaper.
Others like Nancy Mwape, Kalonde Nyati, Esther Mseteka, Tryness Tembo, Kelly Njombo and Nomsa Nkana have this routine on the business desk.
On the features desk, we have Nkole Nkole and Violet Mengo who delve deeper into issues to bring the reader up to speed.
Our dependable women on the sports desk are Diana Chipepo and Cecilia Zulu who for most of the time work with our creative female photographer Angela Ntentabunga.
On the Sunday Mail desk, meet the chief reporter Yande Syampeyo, who works with Christine Chisha, Doreen Nawa and Kapala Chisunka. And one will find them on a Saturday, working like any normal day, even late into the evening.
Do not ask these women when they have their lunch. Oftentimes, it is a luxury and they are ready to forego their meals.
Time is of essence in the journalism field. A reporter’s heart pants to beat the deadline so that the newspaper gets onto the market in good time.
Away from the public eye are those who work on the subeditor’s desk, where they edit content and design the newspaper to attract the reader on the market. Remember, the newspaper is our commodity for sale.
The women who work alongside the men on this desk are Shupe Sakala, who deputises the chief sub-editor. She works with Margaret Chisanga, Mumba Mwansa and Zangose Chambwa.
Their work will end when the newspaper pages are all done and have left their desk to the next destination. On many occasions these subeditors have been engulfed by midnight while at their desks.
From a distance are the supervisors for some of the desks which are presided over by women.
On the news desk there is Angela Nduba, who is second in command to the news editor. Her job is not different from that of the news editor in any way. Her chief task is to come up with stories that will ‘sell’ the newspaper.
One will find Emelda Mwitwa on the features desk. She is behind the reporters who delve deep into issues. She sees that their work meets the newspaper standard and it is able to make our product, the newspaper, competitive on the market.
The Zambia Daily Mail gives a glimpse into the business world through its editor, Cynthia Mwale, who handles news on the copper price, the money markets, and the financial and the agriculture sectors as well.
On the Sunday Mail, the author, Judith Konayuma, is on hand with her reporters. She works on the weekly newspaper with her charges to look for stories that would otherwise not be found by reporters who report for the daily newspaper.
Emelda Musonda is based on the editorials desk. She writes the newspaper’s comment and gives analyses of some issues that plague our society.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, we give credit to Doris Kasote, who anchors the gender desk. She is key on gender issues because we believe that women should not only be seen, but they should also be heard. It does not matter whether they are in the rural or urban areas. They should be given a voice to be heard.
We also believe that both rural and urban women’s lives should be transformed so they contribute better to development. No one should be left behind. Happy International Women’s Day to you all.
The author is Sunday Mail editor.
Analysis: JUDITH KONAYUMA