Columnists Features

Celebrating Zambia Daily Mail women

KONAYUMA

Analysis: JUDITH KONAYUMA
I WANT to remember the women I work with, the women who toil behind the scenes to add their contribution of the final product – the Zambia Daily Mail newspaper.
These are not the women one sees every so often but their role in making the paper what the readers see, when they open it in the morning, is invaluable.
These are the kind of women one cannot even know what they do and yet their experience in their field is vast and it is cherished by those who gave them their responsibilities.
Their bosses have confidence in them because they know what they are able to achieve for the company.
Meet them on the streets, they look like any other ordinary woman. They are full of laughter and of course, they can show their displeasure when a situation calls for that expression.
These are women who have families. They shoulder a number of responsibilities away from their offices. They are wives, mothers, guardians and they have a whole string of friends.
In their offices, they are in charge of units or sections, made up of reporters or otherwise, who they work with, as a smaller team of the whole company.
Today we celebrate the international Women’s Day under the theme Pledge for Parity’. We are convinced Zambia Daily Mail is moving in that direction under Managing Director Nebat Mbewe.
At the helm of the women is the Legal Counsel Tafuna Mumba-Phiri. In line with her title, Mrs Phiri is responsible for providing board secretarial services and she sees to legal matters in relation to the company. Her legal advice extends to employees and covers stories as well.
Among the editors are Mrs Panic Chilufya. She is in charge of the Gender page and gender issues. Her desk is the pivot of gender issues at the Zambia Daily Mail.
Mrs Chilufya runs a column Children’s Corner. She ventures into children’s issues because that is part of the package for her page. This is the point at which readers can catch a glimpse of her.
The Sunday Mail is the Zambia Daily Mail’s weekly publication. Behind this paper is Mrs Emelda Musonda, the editor, who works with Ms Doris Kasote, her deputy.
The two women share the responsibility of organising content and editing stories submitted to their by their reporters. They begin their work on Tuesday after taking Sunday and Monday off and they run through to Saturday.
Since they alternate on Saturdays, the one who is working on that day is responsible for writing the comment, the newspaper’s opinion.
Off to the news section where Mrs Emelda Mwitwa deputises the news editor, Jerry Munthali. This is one of the busiest sections of the Editorial department headed by deputy managing director Mr Chapadongo Lungu.
On any given day, Mrs Mwitwa edits some of the news stories. In this section, time is more than precious. Any single moment spent away from the desk counts. She has to edit her stories, allocate them pages and see to it that they leave her desk on schedule.
Sometimes she sits in for her news editor and tackles her work with the skill of a trained journalist.
On the business desk is the all women outfit headed by Mrs Cynthia Mwale. These women churn out a range of stories from their various sources in the business and finance sectors. When it is time to work, their newsroom is only be marked with the sound of the keyboard.
This author heads the Editorials desk which handles analyses and the comment. While some analyses are originated by contributors, the section sometimes produces its own analyses.
Writing the comment is an everyday task. The author and other editors scan the day’s stories and arrive at one they can comment. After brainstorming, the task is left to the author, who sometimes alternates with Mr Benedict Tembo.
In some cases, there is no time to brainstorm and the author will make a decision and settle for one story to anchor the comment on.
Among the sub-editors are a number of women like Shupe Sakala who is deputy chief sub. Her desk designs the pages. These women here ‘play around’ with text and to make sure stories fit the given space.
The Zambia Union of Journalists Secretary-general Angela Chishimba springs from the Zambia Daily Mail. Doreen Nawa is in charge of the ZUJ Zambia Daily Mail branch.
Angela Ntentabunga is one of the few female photojournalists in the media. Her pictures are highly prized and can pass for those prized posters one sees at a motor rally competition.
Technical women like Naomi Phiri and Manako Simbelele handle their tasks skillfully. Because of the nature of their work, it is common for night time to find them in their offices.
There are many other women in the various departments who do their part on a daily basis. I pay tribute to them and urge them to work harder. Together, we are part of the Zambia Daily Mail team. Happy International Women’s Day.

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