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what it feels like to work in a Ugandan newspaper (standard:humor, 988 words)
Author: DAVID TUMUSIIMEAdded: Sep 27 2003Views/Reads: 1959/1249Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
i tried to be eminently practical, hold down a job and work 8-6pm. i did. for three months. at a newspaper. and this is what happened...

What it feels like to work at The Sunrise. 

Unfailingly, every Friday morning, the first thing you do after you
shake off sleep or get to the office is demand for your week's Sunrise 
copy. Unfailingly, every Friday, you get it. Probably by now you feel 
you can't live without it. 

What you don't know can't hurt you. But today is special. As a faithful
reader, you deserve to know a bit of the heart stopping excitement that 
goes on before your favourite weekly gets to you. And there is lots of 
it! Sometimes we have not even been sure it was going to get to you! 

It comes a surprise to many people that The Sunrise works on weekends,
Sundays included sometimes. Working very late into the night. We work 
late into the night most days. But a weekend late night is an eerie 
experience if you are afraid of the dark, are the kind who believes in 
ghosts. A late Sunrise weekend night is not for you. There is something 
many people are terrified of: absolute stillness. 

8 p.m. on any night is not late. But it is the beginning. The other
offices that bothered to open on a Sunday long ago closed. There seem 
to be absolutely no cars on the road. Can't even hear one. No voices in 
the corridor passing having loud conversations. Just silence. After a 
while questions like “what is that?” to small noises you can't identify 
start to impinge on your mind. 

Typing. Typing. Has anyone ever noticed how much noise a computer
keyboard makes, you wonder? Typing. Typing. “How come this small room 
looks so big today?” Suddenly! “What was that? I'm sure I heard a 

Unwillingly, Bukedde newspaper pictures begin to replay in the mind like
slow motion videos. Gory pictures of decapitated bodies, decomposing 
corpses found by lonely footpaths, sensational unproven stories of 
back-alley murders. Lonely nights are the best to murder one.  You 
could be one of them tonight! 

“Nah,” the other part of your mind argues, “We have never been mugged in
this city. We're okay.” The most powerful, ground-shaking argument is 
propelled forward, “There is a first time for everything.” Time to go 
home definitely! 

But that's a weekend night. Sought if only idle, or haven't paid the
landlord rent or dodging some social function like birthday parties or 
extended family get togethers. The week late night is obligatory. 

Monday late nights are the most memorable. Sunrise is the ONLY newspaper
I know that has a music band to play to them as they work.  Yes, this 
is true! 

Sometimes it is jazz or one of those soulful instrumentals and faces in
the office become wistful. Ah love, they seem to say. Or maybe is it I 
wish I had a lover? There are an alarming number of single journalists. 
I'm told the reason is...well, forget it. Err, financial? 

If a Monday jam session night doesn't faze you, there is a pretty good
chance of coming through a Wednesday and Thursday night with only a 
slight case of RAGING headache, nausea, a determined vow NEVER EVER to 
do this again. 

Wednesday night is what they call crunch time. Everything about the
paper to come out Friday morning before the cocks' crow must come 
together on this night. If it does not, you MAKE IT COME TOGETHER!! If 
not, you'll sleep in the office. 

Wednesday, after five, has been a slow day, you are slipping into jacket
and your bag is swinging on the back of the chair ready to go; the 
editor, the boss, and all those senior to you will suddenly dash into 
the newsroom agitated as if they are being stung by bees. 

They will look around, eyes gleaming as they count the unfortunate souls
who lolled in the newsroom and are about to become involuntary 
volunteers. Announce, “There is work to be done.” The dreaded words 
follow, “a lot.” The more dreaded words, “I wish you and you and you 
could stay to help, can you?” 

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