On March 1, 2014, I relocated from The Mirror to the Junior Graphic, which is about 18 metres away, to assume my new role as the Assistant Editor. I was warmly welcomed by the female-dominated members of staff there.
Around mid-morning, the Editor, Mrs Mavis Kitcher, came in. I went to her office to inform her of my assumption of duty.
She was hospitable and accommodating. She briefed me on what they did at the Junior Graphic and how she expected me to adjust and fit into her team. Her emphasis was on the content of the paper. She told me it was a paper for schoolchildren, and that unlike The Mirror, where ‘big’ words and expressions featured in the paper, the Junior Graphic was purely a paper of simple expressions and less difficult words.
I was appreciative of her time in taking me through the dos and don’ts of the paper. I also assured her that I was a great team player who easily adapted to any environment in which I found myself.
Time with the reporters
After the preliminary discussions, I left the Editor’s office and joined the other members of the unit. I interacted with them to learn more about the Junior Graphic and what they did. In a matter of weeks, I managed to fit well into the team and started delivering on my mandate.
Unlike The Mirror, where I had a very hectic schedule — supervising the team members, dreaming stories, assigning roles to team members, reporting, conducting interviews, writing personality profiles, as well as taking charge of production — it was quite relaxed at the Junior Graphic.
At the Junior Graphic, I assigned the reporters, who already knew their schedules and ‘beats’, led in the production of the paper, reading through the scripts and copies presented by team players before they were handed over to the Editor, who also took a second look before the stories went to the designers.
This recurrent schedule went on for five years, a period I did not write anything for publication in any of the Graphic Communications Group Limited’s brands. I gave up reporting; I truncated the authoring of my column in The Mirror, Trends, even though I at times suggested some story ideas to reporters who approached me for assistance.
Change of disposition
Along the line, I changed my disposition at the Junior Graphic and gave my all to the growth of the paper. I realised very early in my first year that the team members of the Junior Graphic were selfless and hardworking. Every member of staff knew what he/she was supposed to do every time. The team spirit in that unit was not very different from the cordiality that pertained at the time I was with The Mirror.
All those factors influenced a shift in my outlook.
Because the paper is a specialised newspaper for schoolchildren, I learnt a lot from the team members, especially the use of diction. It helped me to build my capacity and develop a keen eye for detail --- being meticulous --- simply because I worked under a boss whose catchword was ‘zero tolerance for mistakes’ in the paper.
In view of that, whenever I presented a script to her for her perusal, I assured myself that it was perfect.
Junior Graphic Fan Clubs
At the Junior Graphic, one of my core mandates was to lead the team to inaugurate the numerous Junior Graphic Fan Clubs that had been formed in junior high schools (JHS), as well as some basic schools, in Accra. It was one of the schedules that I really enjoyed because it provided me the platform to talk to the children on the need to show steadfastness in their studies and always aim for the sky. I always encouraged them to read the Junior Graphic religiously because it contained a lot of information they would not get in the classroom.
Some of the schools that benefitted from my admonitions were Oriens School Complex at Amanfrom, St Mark Preparatory School at Mamprobi Agege, Joy Preparatory School at Madina and Feliham Memorial at Odorkor.
I also felt proud leading the team to organise the preliminaries of the Junior Graphic Spelling Competition among JHSs in Accra, which were usually full of thrills and upsets.
I still relish and hold the Junior Graphic team, as well as my former boss, Mrs Kitcher, in high esteem for the fondness they exhibited when I was leaving the unit to take up a higher responsibility as the Night Editor of the Daily Graphic. They really appreciated me. They organised a send-off package for me, something I considered unprecedented in the annals of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, especially for a member of staff leaving one unit of the group for another. It had not happened before; not during my 30-year working period at the GCGL.
The writer is the Night Editor of the Daily Graphic