Veteran newsreader warns journalists against fame and egotism

Gaborone, Botswana – Radio Botswana’s (RB1) longest serving newsreader, Justice Gaolekwe has warned the new breed of journalists to guard against becoming celebrity journalists and work collectively to serve the purpose of the newsroom – reporting accurately and keeping readers informed.

The veteran broadcaster who started his career as a Setswana teacher in Selibe Phikwe was introduced to radio by one Moreri Gabakgorwe and later went to England to study his first love where he even met his hero of the airwaves in Chris Bickerton, who presented the BBC World Service’s Focus on Africa programme which was also aired on the national radio at the time.

With a career spanning over 38 years at the first Botswana radio frequency, Gaolekwe was speaking over his experience about his radio tenure at the Botswana Fibre Network (BOFINET) Telco Media workshop that brought together stakeholders such as the media outlets, Ministry of Transport and Communication and Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) among others.

Ugandan born Usher Kumugisha lecturing the Botswana journalists on new age journalism. PICTURE: Supplied by SWABO

“Technology has brought independence among journalists in the newsroom but we need one another or else if you isolate yourself then they are bound to sabotage you. So I therefore urge journalists to be as humble as they can so that they can serve extensively. If I was to compare when I started my career, I can simply narrate how technology has helped nurture many talents now. During our time one needed to work hard to be published as we all used the same typewriter to submit our work.

Hence I urge journalists to use technology wisely and use advices leveled to them by their superiors. After so many years of news reading and translation I take no offence at any criticism I face from anyone and I keep working harder to better my craft,” he said.

Furthermore, Gaolekwe whose career saw him use a typewriter to a computer as well as the evolution of the Internet said although technology has made reporting much easier, it has further brought about laziness in the newsroom. He said journalists are using shorthand, something that prolongs the editor’s edits.

“It has now made it difficult for us to write properly constructed sentence because of the millennial short form writing. It happens everyday where I work with reporters across the country using short spell in their articles. This for me is laziness,” he concluded.

Gaorekwe’s fine grasp of Setswana and commitment has won him several awards such as Lifetime Good Radio award in 2017.

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Moagi Madisa

"Although journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information and also the product of these activities; for me its science - our sorroundings"

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