World Association of News Publishers

WIN Graduate Heads Sunday Mail Newspaper in Zambia

WIN Graduate Heads Sunday Mail Newspaper in Zambia

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by Brenda Zulu

Three years ago when WIN Graduate Emelda Libanga joined the Women In News (WIN) programme, she was subeditor at the Zambia Daily Mail. Today she is editor of the Sunday Mail, a position that brings about many more challenges and responsibilities, but also the possibility for real impact and change.

“I was privileged to participate in the WIN programme. I learnt there is a winner in me and that the sky is not even the limit,” says Libanga.

In terms of challenges she faces as an editor, Libanga says most reporters are still inexperienced and cannot take on demanding assignments.

“The other hurdle that I need to overcome for now is to change the mentality of my staff, especially those who’ve been in the establishment for a long time. Most of them seem content with average performance. The other challenge is how to get round inadequate resources to produce the best results for the organisation,” says Libanga.

Her role as editor involves a lot of decision-making on what should be published. She gets satisfaction when lives get transformed because of a newspaper story.

“For instance we recently profiled an 11-year-old boy with ambitions to become a pilot and upon reading his profile an airline was moved to offer him a scholarship to study aircraft engineering when he completes his high school. As editor, I have the power to shape public opinion, influence decisions and transform lives. As subeditor I was at the receiving end of content and quality control,” explains Libanga.

Libanga plans the content according to the publication’s style, editorial policy and publishing requirements. She also verifies facts, dates and statistics using standard reference sources. Finally she proofreads copy.

In her new role, she also edits content.

“Having worked as subeditor is therefore an advantage in my new job. Apart from editing skills I am in a position to visualise the end product from a content generation point,” says Libanga.

Asked if as a woman editor, she is looked at differently in the work place, Libanga admits that, on the contrary, her career advancement has brought with it the respect her position deserves.

Libanga both mentors and coaches journalists, and one day she would like to take up a higher position heading a media organisation or newspaper. She also wants to pursue her Masters in Business Administration (MBA). This is because journalists are often claimed to lack the necessary skills and knowledge to run media organisations that can withstand the economic and market forces the industry is grappling with.

“I believe an MBA will equip me with knowledge on how to manage a business, as there is now an emphasis on running media organisations as business entities for sustainability,” says Libanga.

Her work-life balance is possible through good time management.

“Time management is key. While my work gobbles most of my time, I try to make the best out of the time I have left to spend with my family. But I must admit it is not easy to strike a fair balance. I’m grateful to my husband for being helpful and understanding and to my sisters who help take care of my kids while am at work,” she says.

Libanga is grateful to her employers for believing in her as a woman and also commends them for increasing the number of women in leading positions in the past two years. 

“Though there is still work to be done, it is a step in the right direction,” says Libanga.


Farah Wael's picture

Farah Wael


2014-04-23 15:41

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