Friday, January 29, 2010

YJAG continues tour

NEWS BANJUL, THE GAMBIA (MB)- Wednesday, 20 January 2010, the executive members of the Young Journalists? Association of The Gambia (YJAG) Tuesday continued its tour of media institutions, to discuss with media chiefs, the welfare of young reporters in their various media houses.

The executive first met Sam Sarr, the managing editor of Foroyaa Newspaper and later called on Pa Malick Faye, managing director of the Observer Company. Speaking at both functions, Assan Sallah, president of YJAG, said the reason for the courtesy call was to discuss with the heads of the media institutions in the country about the welfare of the young journalists in their various media houses.

Sallah used the platform to call on the media chiefs to provide in-house training programmes for the young reporters, increase their salaries and organise them in a better way, so as to enable them deliver in their newsrooms as expected. He stressed that the tour of media institutions is not a familiarisation tour, but rather a platform for discussions with the media chiefs about the welfare of their reporters. He also informed the media chiefs that YJAG has plans to come up with a series of training programmes for its members as part of its 2010 Action Plan and called on the media heads to support them so that they can realise their objectives.

Sallah finally thanked Sam Sarr and Pa Malick Faye for their support to YJAG and the young reporters in general. Speaking earlier, Mamadou Edrissa Njie, YJAG?s second vice president, gave a historical background of the Association. He said YJAG was established on 16 September 2007 with the objective of promoting unity among all young journalists in the country, provide training in the form of capacity building, and address the welfare of young journalists, among others. The organisation, he added, is also tasked with the responsibility to facilitate the recruitment of young journalists into the media profession and build capacities for its members.

In response, Sam Sarr told the young journalists that media chiefs are equally concerned about the welfare of the young journalists, especially the freelance reporters in their newsrooms. He spoke at length on the remuneration of the freelance reporters and assured YJAG that Foroyaa would also look into their case and will increase the salaries of the reporters.

Sarr however complained of the high cost of the newsprint, which he said is very expensive, and that newspapers sometimes get few adverts. He advised YJAG to come up with concrete suggestions so that they will address the issue. He revealed that Foroyaa has given a page to some students who are interested in writing or becoming journalists in future, to explore their skills in writing. He also informed the YJAG executive that in-house trainings are conducted for Foroyaa reporters and assured that they would continue with it.

He finally called on the young journalists to practice the code of ethics of the profession, in order to become professionals in their job. At the Daily Observer, Hatab Fadera, a member of YJAG, commended Pa Malick Faye, the Observer boss for his commitment to YJAG, as well as his concern for the young reporters at the Observer Company. Fadera showered praises on MD Faye and expressed delight at efforts made by the Observer Management to ensure that its reporters are well paid.

Fadera did not hesitate to commend the leadership of YJAG for the brilliant initiatives taken over the period for the interest of its members. Lamin Dibba, marketing manager of the Observer Company, commended YJAG for the initiative and advised them to organise training seminars on journalism for its members. Dibba also urged the young journalists to observe the code of ethics of the profession and save its good image. He finally wished the YJAG executive all the best of luck and assured them of his support at all times.

For his part, Alhagie Jobe, deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Observer newspaper said the staff and freelance reporters at the Observer Company are well taken care off and provided with a lot of incentives. On the issue of coverage, Jobe said the reporters should be well organised and should avoid having conflicts of interest over certain coverages. He also urged the young journalists to be concentrating more on trainings especially their in-house trainings so as to develop their capacities. He praised the YJAG executive for the initiative and told them to keep up the good job. For his part, Pa Malick Faye, the managing director of the Observer Company, reiterated his commitment towards supporting YJAG, saying: ?We at the Observer will continue supporting YJAG as long as you don?t deviate from your mission statement.? He advised the young journalists to redouble their efforts, maintain unity, disagree to agree and do what is best for them.

MD Faye spoke at length on the numerous incentives created for the young reporters at the Observer Company and promised to redouble his efforts to address their welfare. ?You should work hard to succeed in life and don?t allow anybody to put you in trouble,? he advised. ?You should know the laws within which you operate, respect authorities and uphold the tenets of the profession,? were the final words of advice of the Observer MD.

He finally commended YJAG for its activities and called on them to organise another football match between them and the media chiefs so as to engage the latter and foster unity among them and the young journalists. Demba Kandeh, the public relations officer of YJAG delivered the vote of thanks.
Author: by Fatoumata Baldeh-Ceesay, Daily Observer

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