How The Standard taught me about journalism basics

Oyako during the interview (Photo by Elizabeth Amongin)

BY STAFF WRITER

It is a common practice for many people to despise humble beginnings (first place of work) after gaining more income and popularity. Many do not want to be recognised as former employees of particular institutions or companies due to various reasons.

But for journalist Arthur Oyako, despising one’s humble beginnings has never crossed his mind. Oyako was first employed at The Standard for two years. While at The Standard, he worked as a photographer, editor, writer among others. At this time, the newspaper was only three years old.

Road to journalism

Parents and role models tend to influence the decisions that many young people make. However for Oyako, pursuing journalism was a free will choice. He admired the passion that journalists had, especially at the time when the media was rising and gaining ground.

“I wanted to be in the ranks of people who knew a lot of things, especially due to the fact that I believed they read and know a lot,” he states.

The excitement of fulfilment is usually inevitable especially after hard work. In 2005 when his first article was published, he was excited.

“When my first article was published, it was a milestone for me: it was an achievement.”

Oyako said that working on that article was as a result  of a class assignment. At that time many of his classmates were writing for various media houses, but he was looking  forward to applying for a job at The Standard.

After  the  university paper was successfully launched in 2007, graduates were given a chance to apply and the suitable candidates would work for a period of two years.

Luckily enough, this current sub-editor at The New Vision was among the chosen four candidates to work at that particular time.

“I never went around looking for jobs since. In fact, I immediately got a job as a sub-editor at The New Vision after working with The Standard,” he says.

Working at The Standard

When Oyako graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication at Uganda Christian University, he applied for a job at the university newspaper and he was granted the job.

“My first job after graduating was working at The Standard. It laid a strong foundation for my career. By the time I left, I had the basics to excel in the journalism field,” Oyako said.

Oyako and four others were in the second group which ensured that the newspaper was published bi-weekly. He is quick to say that the newspaper has managed to service the public both within the  university and the  outside.

When asked whether the newspaper has kept the degree of professionalism and quality work, he says that it is the only newspaper that has a unique success story.

“Many university papers collapse every year due to various reasons. It can either be about the content or issues related to funding.

Although The Standard may not be the only university newspaper in Uganda, it is the only one with a success story. Other institutions of higher learning like Kampala International University (KIU) have been able to emulate what The Standard has done by starting a newspaper,” he added.

He added that various media houses like The New Vision and Daily Monitor are keen to take on former Standard writers.

“When the media houses learn that UCU runs a newspaper whose objective is to train responsible journalists, they were happy that they did have to put a lot of effort into training interns for them to acquire the basic skills required,” he says.

Challenges

Oyako said that just like any other working environment, challenges are always inevitable and they usually help in shaping one’s thinking.

“In society, journalism is one has to deal with and bear a lot of criticism. Regardless of the fact that the community was excited about the existence of a newspaper in the university, the journalists had to understand that some people may not appreciate their efforts.”

“Whenever   a ‘controversial’ story was written, there are certain offices that had a lot of runarounds but we were used to that and it did not deter us from professionalism,” he says.

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