Hatred Zenenga Outgoing Manica Post Editor
With this, my very last piece, I say goodbye to dear newsroom colleagues, fellow workmates, esteemed readers, advertisers and the loving people of Manicaland Province as I move on to a new adventure and experience.
Foremost, I must salute the people of Manicaland for teaching me unforgettable and very important etiquette of life — greeting others even if you don’t know them. “Mofara ere, mwamuka ere, maswere”. I will certainly take this with me everywhere I go.
The growth I have experienced in the nearly 10 years I have worked at The Manica Post is something I will treasure forever. This job has taught and given me so much. It has taught me the ability to lead, make judgment calls and to be confident about what I put out to the world.
In the same vein, this job is never easy. It brings just as much joy as it is challenging.
However, my focus is on something that has become very special to me. During my stint at The Manica Post, I feel very grateful to have been part of the pioneers of the first ever integrated converged newsroom in Zimbabwe, where newspaper and radio journalists now share the same space and write news for both platforms. We joined the global trend where newsrooms of many media organisations around the world have significantly evolved. Walls that have traditionally separated print and radio have collapsed giving rise to the idea of newsroom convergence.
The adoption of The Manica Post and Diamond FM newsroom convergence was largely spurred by the Zimpapers group management’s decision to increase journalists’ work efficiency and cut down on unnecessary costs. The newsroom structure for The Manica Post and Diamond FM adopted the full integration model. With full integration, architecture and infrastructure for multi-channel production are combined in one newsroom, The old Manica Post newsroom walls have been pulled down and a new converged newsroom accommodating both print and radio journalists has been established.
I must say a true “mediamorphosis” took place where newsroom convergence created synergies, cut costs and eliminated duplication of work. In the process, the practice of journalism is allowing reporters to produce news content for both the newspaper and radio.
However, it was not easy to implement newsroom convergence where two different professional cultures of news production were brought together. Naturally, differing work experience and backgrounds come with both challenges and opportunities. The challenges we faced included resistance to change from journalists and a clash between weekly newspaper routines and fast-paced radio news routines. These poles apart news production cycles made it more challenging for newspaper journalists to adapt to radio news tight deadlines and for radio journalists to adapt to fairly long newspapers articles.
But, more importantly, there have been big opportunities, where multi-tasking and multi-skilling became key factors influencing news reporting practices. I, therefore, leave with full satisfaction that newsroom convergence between a newspaper and a radio can work and brings with it many advantages.