What you need to know:
- So, visual appeal is very important if you are to grab the attention of readers. With visual aids such as maps, infographics, and photographs you can keep the reader longer on the story.
Mr Muhammad Tamale is the creative editor at Monitor Publications Ltd. He is in charge of ensuring that the newspaper is visually appealing to the readers, and easy to navigate, while at the same time conforming to journalistic norms.
When and how did you join Monitor Publications?
I joined the company in May 2004, as a sub-editor. I was part of about 20 journalists who left The new Vision after Conrad Nkutu, who was formerly a corporation secretary at The New Vision, joined Monitor Publications as managing director.
Almost two decades now, I’m the only remnant of that 20-man team.
What does your job entail?
My job entails ensuring that the newspaper is easy to read, it is about ensuring that the stories are better told visually.
So I must maintain a tab on the various visual aids such as photos, graphics, and text, and how they are designed and packaged to attract readership.
I also take part in the redesign process of the newspaper to give it a fresh look. I also supervise graphic designers in the editorial department.
How prepared are you for the changing media industry?
It is true, the news is changing, and so are the readers. Of late many people are turning into light readers.
So visual appeal is very important if you are to grab the attention of readers. With visual aids such as maps, infographics, and photographs you can keep the reader longer on the story.
While text/copy is the ultimate in reader retention, visual appeal is the invite.
So to cater for the new wave of readers, we shall need to borrow online magic into print, for example, telling stories visually, grooming data journalists, and graphic reporters.
We also need illustrators to often take the reader back to the scene visually, than through a narrative using a lot of text. The list of doable options is endless, but the first step is a newsroom mindset change.
What do you like about your job?
Working in the newsroom is fun if you decide to make it that way. We almost have no specific return-home time. When Pope John Paul II was pronounced dead, we returned to office past midnight and redid the newspaper.
To me, Daily Monitor is like a second home. I have enough friends with whom I can kill the boredom.
If you were put in charge of running Monitor Publications, what would you change?
I would not change much, Daily Monitor’s challenges rotate around motivation and retention. Almost all Uganda’s best journalists have been at Daily Monitor. If the company could retain its cream, it would be at the top forever. Unlike other professions, real journalism is learnt in the newsroom, not taught at school. I would also reward pool talent and individual brilliance.