For many of us who missed out last year, when we heard retreat, it was a bit of a misnomer, but we were extremely excited. A retreat for Joy FM and Myjoyonline reporters? Great! We can eat some nice food, swim in large swimming pools and even Jet Ski in the still waters of some distant cozy land, away from the noisy, dirty, cholera-stricken capital, Accra. So we imagined. Some of us suggested Senchi but that sounded too political! Others proposed Ada. But that, too, was quickly dismissed. We know why, don’t we?
In the end, we landed in one of the auditoriums of Sunlodge hotel at Tesano, Accra, for a two-day intense assessment and strategizing (they called it news retreat). It was the second news retreat for the journalists at Joy FM and Myjoyonline.com, one-time described as regime changers.
After last year’s retreat, where Elvis Kwashie (the guys call him Mugabe – it is strange they call him that because Zimbabwe’s Mugabe is not bald) literally distributed Kalashnikovs (AK-47s) to his troops. Armed with these, they shot down GYEEDA, injured SADA, exposed SUBAH, and diagnosed Merbank (Merchant Bank).
At this weekend’s retreat, Mugabe, sorry, Elvis was once again unequivocal; “I’m not interested in ‘he said, she said,’ journalism. Give me impactful stories,” he charged (I wrote ‘he charged’ not ‘he said’ – I don’t want to be accused of breaching the rules!).
Virtually, every voice you hear on Joy FM or writer you read on Myjoyonline was at this gathering: the diabolic Evans Mensah, cynical Nathan Gadugah, the eccentric Fiifi Coomson and yes the other Koomson (Araba), the baby face (and voice) Dzifa Bampoh, the mischievous Edwin Appiah and chief mischief maker whose persistent taunts of Rafiq Salaam gave everybody a good dose of laughter, Manasseh Azure Awuni.
And of course, all our regional correspondents were there. The famous Rafiq Salaam (Upper West), the shortest Joy FM reporter ever, Albert Sory (who said he has become so popular in the Upper Region that men call him when their wives are in labour), the energetic and bulky Hubert Mawuli Agbi (he came from the Volta region with Ivy Setordzi whom Elvis unfairly said sometimes presents her reports as if she is having….no I can’t use the word!).
From the northern region came Hashmin Mohammed and the multi-lingualist Matina Bugri, the chief fisherman, Richard Kwadwo Nyarko reports from the Central Region and farther from him is Kwaku Owusu Peprah who is more cynical than anything one can imagine.
The Managing News Editor capped all the presentations made by Erastus Asare Donkor, Manasseh, Evans, Dzifa, Araba, Fiifi, and yours truly, with inspirational submissions.
As expected, Elvis singled out new team members – Daryl Quao, Jeseph Opoku Gakpo, Kwakye Afreh-Nuamah, Edwin Appiah, Hashmin Mohammed – and poured laudations on them.
He praised the entire Joy FM and Myjoyonline news teams. “I believe we have the best team; there is no doubt that,” he said.
Having said that, he issued his warnings which he calls promises. “Integrity and credibility are key our job. If you don’t know and go and take money from someone to do a story and I get you, I’ll sack you! This is not a threat, it is a promise,” he warned.
Given the resolutions reached, a new, improved form of journalism can reasonably be expected from Elvis Kwashie and his troops whether or not they are accused of promoting regime change.
They resolved that the resolutions will be implemented. Fully! No Senchi matters here!
See photographs of the event here.
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