What you need to know:
- Carol Alyek Beyanga has wrapped up her 20-year stay at Nation Media Group (NMG).
- Reflecting on her last 20 years at NMG, Carol Alyek Beyanga shares lessons learnt through long days and nights working with thousands of people.
The day I knew I was meant to be an editor was when I received a 5,000-word story, to edit. The article was about the atrocities the Joseph Kony-led Lord’s Resistance Army committed when they raided the homesteads and wreaked untold havoc against the people of Barlonyo, in 2004. The reporter had done a good job of gathering content from witnesses and authorities. He had also done his best to describe the scenes. What he had not done, however, was write out a story. He had just put content together.
My job, I was firmly told, was to edit the story for length (it had to be not more than 3,000 words), and have an actual story written out, and of course deal with the punctuation, spelling, and grammatical errors which were many. I was expected to hand this piece in, ready for publishing first thing the next morning. I found myself working till late that evening, and rushing back early the next day to give it one more look before handing it in.
On the day it was published, I read through and was relieved to notice that little had been changed from what I had handed in. I was also applauded for the good editing job in the morning meeting. I felt relieved that I had not messed up; happy that my good work had been noticed; and excited to work on more such stories.
That was about 19 years ago, and I was close to celebrating one year in the newsroom at Daily Monitor. April this year marked 20 years since I was given such a wonderful opportunity to edit story after story, to grow in my career, and to become an editor of different sections of the newsroom.
Yesterday (July 31, 2023), marked the last official day of my work at Nation Media Group (NMG). While I am privileged that I shall continue to work with the company on a consultancy basis, I am leaving to go and do a number of other things that I am excited to work on. Over the last few weeks, the memories of the things I have done in this place abound, most of them good – I am glad to say.
As I reflect on the last 20 years, I am tempted to think about the lessons I have learnt. The old proverb rings true: Hard work pays. The long nights working away, intensive reading to understand what I needed to do, and always asking myself what could be done better saw me move from one position to another. Better yet, this saw to it that the teams and I created great products, told amazing stories, and hit big milestones.
If you want to have good people work on your team, you have to groom them to be that team. And one size does not fit all. Some people like to be groomed, some don’t. Some pick up the lessons pretty fast while others take up to months. Some rise steadily. Others rise and fall and then rise and fall again, and keep in that cycle. Others seem to keep falling. But persistence pays. And the kind of persistence that pays is not just pushing for something without a plan. It is knowing when to push and when to hold back, when to give grace and when to discipline, when to stick to the plan and when to change tactics. Persistence has seen me stay this long because I appreciated what I was learning, how I was growing and how others benefitted because I benefitted.
A company is not just a cell. It is a whole organism with many parts. If you understand how the other parts work, how you can support them and how they can support you, and if you make friends in each of the departments, not only will you increase your knowledge in various things, you will also learn to make better decisions.
You can only grow your craft if you keep learning. To this day, I still keep reading about how to be a good editor and mentor. I still attend workshops and seminars on how to get better at the game. I pay for classes and join groups that spur me to do better. The more you learn and apply in your work, the better you get at it.
Grateful for everything that Nation Media Group has given me, I now look forward to trying out new things, knowing that it shall always mean so much to me, because it allowed me to pursue my dream career and prepared me for the next steps- ahead.
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