By the first week of May next year, my 30 years stint with the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) will come to an end.
Therefore, I have barely six months to bow out of this organisation, which has helped shape my life, thoughts, world view, built my capacity, and above all, broadened my network and given me great friends.
Until recently, it had never dawned on me that age had caught up with me and that in the Graphic newsroom, where I am currently the Night Editor, and the second in command, I am also the oldest.
It was just last month that one of my pals, Adwoa Serwaa Bonsu, the Editor of the Graphic Showbiz, came to me after a send-off party for Mrs Mavis Kitcher, the immediate past Director of News, to ask me: “Vance, do you know you’re the grand papa of the newsroom?”
I was taken aback and then she reminded me that all the old guards had left and I was the most senior, as well as the oldest. Both of us tried to do some reconciliation and it happened that apart from the editor, I was the next ‘Ogbclc’ in the newsroom.
It was this reminder that made me decide to start an epistle and share with readers my experiences, my job as a journalist, my trials and tribulations, both within the newsroom and the external publics, during my 30 years practice as a journalist.
I will be serialising this personal account, which will appear in this column every Wednesday, beginning this week.
Influencers of career path
Before I entered the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) in 1989, I have been an avid reader of the Daily Graphic and The Mirror, because my late daddy was a subscriber of both papers and I read both papers with passion, while on holidays.
In school, I did not miss any of these issues. I always went to the library to read them and other materials on current affairs. Before then, I had read a sports paper called the Sporting News, which also helped to broaden my horizon on sports.
These newspapers had some influence in my choice of profession and the development of my career path. With the Daily Graphic, the columnist who impacted me greatly was the late Lee Accorley, who was then the Foreign Editor, and wrote the column, A Look Around the World too. Another group of columnists who influenced my career were Henry Ofori aka Carl Mutt, who wrote the Carl Mutt column, Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, who continues to write the Thoughts of a Native Daughter column, and Prof. Kwesi Yankah’s Woes of a Kwatriot, all in The Mirror.
Life before GIJ
After indulging in different kinds of work such as buying and selling (shuttling between Odumase-Krobo and Lome, Togo), just after Sixth Form, I travelled to Abidjan for a three-week visit, but I overstayed to engage in a very lucrative venture for close to six months.
That visit gave me the opportunity to watch the African Cup of Nations hosted by Cote d’Ivoire in 1984, where Ghana was eliminated at the group stages.
After pondering over what the future held in store for me, and the danger of not being able to sustain the kind of business enterprise I was engaged in, I decided to return home to pursue my dream career of being a journalist.
Before then, I had some stint working as a clerk in a rural bank, was a part of a spinning group, the Sharps, led by E.K. Amanor Jnr aka Toma Tee, and later did some pupil teaching at Sekesua in the Upper Manya Krobo District (more on the Sekesua experiences during my teaching days would be discussed at another time), before enrolling at the GIJ.
As part of the GIJ course outline, student journalists engaged in internship during the first semester of the second year. My first port of call during the internship was at the Ghana News Agency (GNA), where I met very great reporters and senior editors, such as, the late K. B. Wood, Edward Ameyibor, Joseph Amartey, Shaw Quaye Adibi, Gilbert Ayittey, while the young ones included Ekow Quarcoo, Andy Awuni, Frank Agyekum, Albert Quainoo, Frank Asante, Bright Blewu among others at whose feet I had the baptism of fire.
The writer is the Night Editor of the Daily Graphic
- Counting the days (1) - Vance Azu writes
- Counting the days (2)... Internship at Daily Graphic, The Mirror - Vance Azu writes
- Counting the days (3)...Work at The Mirror, contempt of court - Vance Azu writes
- Counting the days (4)... Sanction applied on me