News round the clock and how journalists keep pace

Friday August 23 2019

By Odoobo C. Bichachi

A big part of modern life revolves around receiving or sharing information for the greater part of the day. The pressures associated with modern life – whether it is business, work or studies – means many people are sleeping less and spending more time on the mobile telephone handset taking in information or sharing it.
Journalists occupy an important part in today’s information cycle, many times making a difference on the speed of information, but more importantly, ensuring that beyond timeliness, it is accurate and verifiable.
To achieve this requires elaborate planning meetings/conferences and monitoring systems. This week, I wish to give readers a peek into NMG news planning processes as laid down in the Group’s Editorial Policy Guidelines. Excerpts below:
- Editorial conferences will be routinely held to review the planned content for print, broadcasting and the online publication. The conferences will be held at appropriate times in the mornings and afternoons and will involve the assigning editors, chief subs and managing editors.
- The morning conference will be both a post-mortem session concerning the previous day’s efforts, and a comparison with the competing publications as part of efforts to monitor and improve quality, as well as a comprehensive review of the pending news docket.
- The afternoon conference will review coverage at hand and possible later developments, selecting possible lead stories for each medium, identifying content from NMG’s African correspondents, for syndication and for common usage across the regional platforms.
- The weekly publications [Saturday and Sunday Monitor] will convene in conference on Monday or Tuesday mornings to review their previous week’s performance and to plan coverage for the new week. Given the relatively small size of their staff, the conferences will be attended by all staff and will be chaired by the respective managing editors.
- Regional or bureau office staff will similarly hold meetings as appropriate and submit a docket of their pending news coverage to the respective editor in time for discussion at the morning conference. In all areas, regular updates of the news or story dockets will be imperative.
- News collection and management are the powerhouse of the newspaper. Its organisation must be lively, flexible, enterprising and well-informed. All reporters will be deployed on arrival not only to regular diary assignments (eg police, courts and hospital calls), but also to running and developing stories – sequels to earlier headlined events, building news features, and inquiring into leads and tips.
- The news editor(s) will analyse the subject content of the particular publication and the competition, and record all forthcoming events and developments in the diary, specifically including all follow-up possibilities.
- The news editors’ diary will be dominated by evidence of enterprising news management and not routine assignments and political or charitable functions that are known to have little or no news value.
- As news coverage is a round-the-clock affair, the news desk will have effective coverage up to midnight throughout the week.
Late news will appear in the following day’s paper, not the day after. Reporters and sub-editors will be assigned to night duty and the publications and broadcasts will be sufficiently flexible to accommodate any late newsbreaks.

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READERS HAVE YOUR SAY
*I am an environmental blogger, writer and activist. I have a few concerns in line with my area of interest that is “environmentalism”. First and foremost, thanks to your editorial team for the great work they are doing in informing us about current affairs around the globe and within the region. However, environmental awareness is less covered by your team, I don’t know why? Yet our day to day life is dictated and determined by the health of our environment. It’s my humble request that both in press and broadcast, you assign someone to cover environmental related contents. Thank you.
-Ismail Hassan, +256702020547

Public Editor: Both Daily Monitor and NTV have reporters assigned to the environment beat and regularly put out environment stories. Your feedback has been shared by the respective editors and indicates that perhaps we are not doing enough or could do better in that area.

Send your feedback/complaints to
public-editor@ug.nationmedia.com
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