Ndimara Tegambwage [newuserndimarat]
What is your specialty? What subjects do you deal with?
I do analysis and commentary on social, political and economic issues. I am mentor of journalists and media and information consultant to media outlets and corporations in the United Republic of Tanzania.
In which media do you presently work or have you worked?
Am currently doing consulting work with a weekly newspaper, MwanaHALISI in Tanzania; mentor with the Tanzania Media Fund; consultant with Pact-Tanzania - an international NGO and visiting lecturer to schools of journalism in the country. I run a column with Tanzania Daima Jumapili (a Sunday paper) and MwanaHALISI. I am also author of over 20 titles including those on journalism and mass communication.
Please list a web address where where one can view an example of your work.
www.ndimara.blospot.com - at the foot of each article you will see where and when it was published.
What is "news"?
The parenthesis have a meaning; that there are many interpretations of the word: It is everything new to you. It is something you have just bumped into that informs and often excites you (including pieces of information of market value). It is disclosed information or data filling in the gap of one who has longed to get it.
Practically and professionally, news is information carefully searched and treated for wider audiences.
To you, what is objectivity?
It is observance and strict adherence to truth and correctness.
What is the best headline you have ever read?
A one-word headline.
What headline would you like to see printed one day in the newspaper?
Which paper do you buy on Sundays? Where do you read it?
I normally buy three papers,starting with the one in which I do a column (Tanzania Daima Jumapili) and then Mwananchi and NIPASHE.
Does freedom of expression end where the editorial line begins?
No. Freedom of expression is all encompassing - among others, it includes the freedom to think and generate ideas; the freedom to utter and share information and ideas. This cannot be blocked by editorial policies or intrigues.
Do you feel that analytical and investigative journalism is being lost?
If you want, elsewhere, it has not started. That is the pillar of journalism today.
With a camera on every mobile phone, is every citizen becoming a correspondent?
Correspondents are normally attached to media outlets and paid. But, a human person, by nature and by her/his inalienable right, is a communicator and could be a source and collector of information that only needs refinement for purposes of use in media outlets. But provision of camera on every mobile phones, besides enabling the owner to keep personal records, could be quite an assistance in recording pictures of public interest and even those capable of resolving controversies in the absence of professional photographers. A noble duty this (!?)
How would you explain the boom of the tabloid press?
What is your position regarding the right to privacy of famous people?
This privacy must always be defined. Except for actions in their homes, under bedsheets and within the confines of individual family members - man and woman - which may remain exclusively private, any other actions including behaviour at home and life style, ceased to be private when they got famous. To be famous is to be/go public; to assume status of public nature and attract public desire and interest to know you better.
What can you teach us about the art of the interview?
Take this for today:
The best interview depends on the interviewer. If the interviewer is shallow, not informed and has no forceful questions, she/he will never get the right, correct and forceful answers and the product will be poor, as if nothing had been done. Again, you don't need to ask questions in order to know. No! Ask questions in order to confirm what you already know or have had a hint. This demands research and prior information about the subject (issue) and your subject (interviewee) well before you start the interview.
Please list well-known people you have interviewed.
1. Julius Nyerere - first president of Tanzania
2. Indira Gandhi - former Prime Minister of India
3. Salim Ahmed Salim - Former Tanzania Ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary General of African Union
4. Salmin Amour - former President of the revolutionary Government of Zanzibar
5. Robert Mugabe - President of Zimbabwe
Would you say the journalism blog is revolutionizing the profession?
Yes, indeed and providing us with alternatives for conveying information when some outlets are blocked by autocratic regimes/tendences.
Will the paper press disappear?
Not today. No! And written word still has a role to play. A paper gives time for digest and easy and quick reference without going into rolls of intricate webs of winding and rewinding.
What are your thoughts of the free papers distributed in cities?
They have a message to deliver; and their distributors have a purpose. if any. However, they cannot last long unless they are religious and the fountain for money for religious works is religious people who are not dieing tomorrow. Good journalists had better read them;they constitute one of the sources of ideas for news - big news.
What is the book you would like to write?
Analytical and Investigative Journalism in Tanzania: Do it yourself
Is there a motto or ethical principle that clarifies your decisions in moments of confusion?
Take on the the most pressing issue of the time and others will follow in that order.
What advice would you give to someone who has just left university and wishes to start in the profession?
Read. Write. Read. Write. Learn to appreciate other people's works; measure them against yours and never be afraid of making mistakes.There is always room for improvement. There is room for perfection. The more knowledge you have the easier it is do the job.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania