Journalists diversify in times of Covid-19

Thursday April 9 2020

Journalists cover a press briefing at

Journalists cover a press briefing at Parliament last year. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA 

By GEORGE KATONGOLE

The dark times of the Coronavirus pandemic have seen sports reporters change their trade forever. President Museveni’s directive on suspending events that attract large numbers which included sporting events as well as use of facilities like gyms.

The directive suddenly altered the routine calls to sources and rendered the journalists immobile yet they still have to work.

When NTV sports bulletins were suspended, senior sports reporter Sam Mpoza led the way by taking up a full time role at the general news desk. Yet there is a breed of journalists with a never-say-die attitude that have kept reporting on sports.

Daily Monitor’s Abdul-Nasser Ssemugabi said this lockdown period is a funny moment. He has been walking to office for most of the days since the lockdown and contributing to stories that appear in the sports section as well as the news and feature desks.

“I haven’t diversified per se because I have been writing for the other sections of the paper before,” he said adding that “in sports there is still room for stories that are not event based. Remember every journalist must remain relevant.”

His last event-based story was on March 9 when he was covering boxer Fred Muhumuza, who had resumed training after nearly seven years inactive. Muhumuza was scheduled to fight in June.

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For online journalist David Isabirye, who has consistently written stories for Kawowo.com, his help has come from the several contacts he has built over time.

“I normally call my sources while for others I send e-mail. But for those who are near me in Entebbe, I walk there,” Isabirye, who has now specialized in writing feature stories, says.

He explains that his best story so far has been about a UK-based teenage footballer Nathan Odokonyero.

“I met his dad in January but I had never got time to write because we had a lot of sports events then. But when I was going through my notebook, I called the family and this is one of the most liked stories we have had in this lockdown,” he says.

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