Monday, 5 January 2015

WM Media Pty Ltd Profiles Paul Shalala And His Journalism Career

By Winston Muleba II, Zambia
Aspire to reach your potential by competing with people who you think you can’t beat says Paul Shalala. 
Shalala is a young journalist and blogger who is based in Lusaka and works for the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation as a Reporter. 
 “Am a news person and everything about me is about news. I read a lot of literature, newspapers and books. I watch a lot of TV programs especially news, documentaries and history programs. I also like making friends to hear what the common man is thinking and talking about. Am also a dot com baby. I spend most of the time on Twitter and Facebook trying to get latest news and find out what is trending across the world.” he says. 

He says always remember that no one will uplift you and your career if you do not take the first step to leap forward.
Shalala says his specialization in the past six years he has practiced journalism is politics and governance. 
He says he was born on 29th August 1984 at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka in a family of seven children.
“My father is Mr Namasiku Kamuti Shalala, a retired teacher now a farmer in Lubanze Village, in Nangoma and my mother is Mrs Monde Phyllis Shalala retired teacher also. I am a Christian, a Seventh - day Adventist. ” he says.
He says he went to Kasalu Basic School in Nangoma area of Mumbwa for his Primary and Junior Secondary School.
“I then went to Mumbwa High School for my senior secondary from 2000 to 2002. I studied for a Diploma in Journalism at the Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka from 2005 to 2007. Currently studying for my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Zambia under Distance Education. I have also done several specialized journalism trainings just to sharpen my journalism skills. I studied Politics, Elections and Good Governance at the International Institute for Journalism in Berlin, Germany, Business and Financial Reporting by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Kampala, Uganda, Advanced Economic and Governance Reporting by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa, Energy and Environmental Reporting as part of the Europe-Africa Young Journalists Programme in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Investigative Journalism and Anti-Corruption Reporting by the International Anti-Corruption Academy during a weeklong course at the West Africa Regional Training Center in Accra, Ghana.” he says.
Shalala says in the past years, he has worked in the print, electronic and online media.
“After college, I joined New Vision Newspaper in Lusaka where I worked for close to two years. In 2010 I joined MUVI Television where I worked until February 2012. I then decided to go into freelancing. I wrote for a number of online international newspapers like The Media Project in the USA and The London Evening Post in the UK. In September 2012, I was offered a job as a reporter at the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) in Lusaka. That’s where I currently work in the TV1 newsroom. I report mainly on politics and governance for our TV news but off course our stories also air on TV2 and Radios 1, 2 and 4.” he says.
Apart from his TV job, Shalala says he is also a blogger.
“I run my own blog called The Zambian Analyst (www.paulshalala.blogspot.com) where I analyze politics and governance issues in Zambia and the world. A blog is the only place where a journalist can add their own opinion and views to a news item.” he says.
Shalala says he is also a small businessman.
“I own a company called Nangoma Transport Limited which of course is registered by the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA). The company is a year old and has two public service minibuses that service the Lusaka – Mumbwa route. At the weekend when am off duty at ZNBC, I sometimes work as a minibus conductor. It is fun sometimes to go through the challenges conductors face on a daily basis. I’ve had experiences where a passenger thinks you are illiterate and they start insulting you in heavily broken English and when you respond in the Queen’s language, the confrontation ends because your English sounds superb. I have also had situations where you carry drunk people and they refuse to pay. It is fun being a conductor.” he says.
He says he has received a number of media awards in the past few years he has been practicing journalism.
“In April 2014 I won first prize TV category in the Policy Monitoring and Research Center (PMRC) for my stories and analysis of the constitution making process. On November 14, 2014 I received second prize in the 2014 Africa Fact Checking Media Awards in Nairobi, Kenya for my story on the impact of multi-national mining investments on Zambia’s food security. There were over 40 entries from journalists in 10 African countries. The first prize was won by Edem Srem of Ghana and Kenyan journalist Victor Amadala and myself came out second. My story had a huge impact such that dams were built for the farmers in Mazabuka after my story was aired, a Minister visited the displaced farmers and the plight of the displaced farmers became a priority for stakeholders. This is why I think I won the award. On December 18, 2014 I won the Best Innovation Award at the 2014 ZANEC Media Awards in Lusaka. The Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) awarded me for a story I wrote on my blog on how 20,000 teachers in Zambia under the umbrella of the Zambian Teachers Forum are running a Facebook group of over 15,000 members and a WhatsApp group of over 5,000 members to help teachers find easy swapping from one district to another, mentor new teachers and share best practices of the art of teaching."
Shalala says the Africa Fact Checking Media Awards are a brain child of the collaboration between the Agence France Presse (AFP) Foundation, a sister organization of the AFP news agency in France and Africa Check, a journalism organization based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“The two organizations introduced these awards to inspire journalists and help them fact check information on the continent. The two organizations encourage journalists in Africa to follow up propaganda and false claims made by politicians, public officials and other opinion leaders to mislead the public. Any journalist in Africa who does a story and fact checks a public claim can enter the awards and walk away with thousands of dollars. Am lucky to have been the only Zambian journalist among the eight finalists from across the continent and I was again the only one from Southern Africa among the three who got the awards.” he says. 
He says when he received his first media award he was happy and motivated to work even more hard to get more awards.
“An award sets you apart from other colleagues when you receive it. International awards just make one feel they can go as far as other countries can go. We always limit ourselves to Zambia but when we take part in these international awards, we actually discover that even Zambians can do It.” he says.
Shalala says Awards open up opportunities.
“A week after I won the Africa Fact Checking award in November 2014, I received an invitation from a Mozambican journalism organization called Sekelekani to go and speak at an international journalism conference on reporting on the extractive industry. Within three days of that invitation, I received another invitation from the Open Society Institute of Southern Africa (OSISA) to speak at their summer journalism academy. Unfortunately the dates for the two invitations clashed and I opted to go to Mozambique where I addressed Mozambican and Angolan journalists and civil society activists in the Indian Ocean resort town of Bilene. My target now is the CNN African Journalist of the Year Awards. In the past years i have entered twice and lost but I haven’t given up. Like Bembas say, one day kakabalika.” he says.

He says on a daily basis Journalists are insulted, beaten and ridiculed but one does not need to give up because there is no easy career on earth.

“All professions are challenging. Prospective journalists shouldn’t join the media fraternity for the fame or making connections. Journalism is a calling. You have to be passionate to do what reporters do. If you are not passionate, you will run away from the profession when faced by a few hardships.” he says.
Shalala says his role model is Rageh Omar, a Somalian-born British journalist who has worked for the BBC and Aljazeera.
“He has received several media awards for his courageous works and was one of a few western journalists to have covered the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. His determination to cover sensitive and dangerous stories inspires me a lot. Rageh is a war reporter and that’s what I aspire to do when I have chance to join the international media. I hope to report from war zones like Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza.” he says.
He urges young people in various professions to try their luck.
“You may never know what response you may get. Don’t be defeated by the word ‘International’. You are also international yourself if you join others from other countries. Believe in yourself and your potential will take you a step further.” he says.
Shalala says he would want the world to remember him as a journalist who strived to raise governance issues and one who rose from a humble background in the villages of Nangoma area of Mumbwa to become an award winning journalist on the continent.
Aspire to reach your potential by competing with people who you think you can’t beat. You can do it. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
For comments: mwenyamuleba@gmail.com / 0966 461 943/ 0950 594 050
(This story was published by WM Media Pty Ltd on 4th January 2015 on their blog. The original story can be read here:  http://winstonmuleba.blogspot.com/2015/01/shalala-second-prize-winner-of-2014.html)

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