Malawi journalism: Case of inconsiderate employers and hopeless employees

Malawi is more than interesting, and can pass for a perfect laboratory test item.Masinga HA  HA HA

This is one country where everything thing else is gone awry wrong. With all priorities flipped upside down.

Even the kids are spending more time in virtual worlds on cell phones, punctuated by premature sex overtures.

Meanwhile, as the law enforcers turn a blind eye on brothels that abuse under age girls, with nearly no titties at all but serving clients as old as the home affairs minister himself, the people that should investigate and reveal such social vice are being offered nuts at the end of the month.

Dont be fooled by the majority of journalists waltzing around in sexed up attires with fake labels – looking good and manicured.

These boys and girls living off news are shadows of their own misery. Behind that layby expensive Gucci suit is a wage slip of just about K20,000, gross.

Dont ask me about the cart home net pay. I dont wanna cry, not just as yet – at least.

I know of a radio station where the highest paid journalist gets K80,000 and the least paid, so they say is K30,000. And that is not all. These guys have gone more than four months without pay.

As this happens, the politician-owner is living a luxurious life that he expenses sausages every morning in the manner of a chain smoker.

Then there is this pathetic religious radio-television family business. Everyone out there do not only share the same surname, but also share the same residential home and therefore also dipping their little plumpy fat fingers in onion soup bowls from the same godamn meal table.

Bet business meetings are conducted at the same table.

As a Christian faith media entity, expectation would be that the employees, most ropped from within the family church membership, would get better pay and timely wage.

This is a work place where only about 15 people work but go months without pay, against a church reaping of millions every month in offerings, western ‘faith’ donations, and God what have you.

This is a place where interns work up to two years without a word on way forward or confirmation, and those hired go as far as three years on probation.

But what do you expect of a God-fearing family made up of media house owner, whose wife is the general manager, the son the station manager, the daughter the accountant, and all that churchly jazz!

Then there is one famous radio going by a ditit name, where employees get as little as the shop boy at Tutlas.

In common, the journalist in this part of Africa carts home on average approx K20,000 when, as argued by the Journalists Union of Malawi, and presented by the Centre for Social Concern, the monthly bread basket should be K126,000 a month.

And that in itself translates a rental house of K30,000 per monthly and one decent meal of beef in a week!

And the so called media conglomerates, if you like, can afford to pay its managers, support department heads and executives in accounts, sales and marketing in zillions. The foot soldier, the core establishment ‘item’, the journalist, gets nillions.

No wonder they mostly live off bribes, khaki envelopes, gate crush at functions for free meals and booze, demand allowances, etc.

Yes, again, thats why politicians and crooked business people take advantage of poor journalists reduced to scavengers.

You may call this a dog eat dog world, but hey, this leads to poor media watchdog role. No quality checks. A loose society follows. Corrupt murderous cops, lawyers, politicians, business shitters, low and inadequate health and education standards, etc.

Pay the messenger his rightful dues. Thank you Juma for kicking start the good fight and laying bare the situation.

Pay peanuts and attract monkeys. Its a business that can live its salt only if the core element, the journalist, is inspired, motivated, well compensated and rewarded well.

And check those field allowances too, greedy employers!

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24 thoughts on “Malawi journalism: Case of inconsiderate employers and hopeless employees”

  1. Pipiana says:

    God is watching. Akayankha kumwamba. Maka maka m’busa wopanda chikondiyo. Fire upon himComment

  2. Kanonono says:

    Much as i share the views of many, I believe it is also vital to remember that ours is the poorest country on Mother Earth. This means that even those – who we consider as being well paid – wouldn’t be getting their current salaries if they were in countries where economies are growing. We also need to understand that the best journalist is one who studied something else at Basic Degree level before undertaking post-graduate studies in Journalism or Mass Communication. Such a journalist will be able to specialize in at least one area and be a point of reference to the rest. He/she will not be a jack of all trade and master of none like the journalists that we see in most developing countries. Against that fact however, we also need to ask if the market is ripe enough to accommodate holders of Post-graduate qualifications. We need to ask ourselves if a family-run radio station has what it takes to employ the services of someone who holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in Journalism so he can be the point of reference on issues pertaining to politics? Can a church-run radio station be able to pay MK1.5million/month to employ the services of such a highly qualified person? Can this market pay someone who studied Medicine, Education etc before undertaking postgraduate studies in Media-related disciplines so he/she can comprehensively cover issues related to health and education etc? Are we building a crop of journalists who understand what they must do or ones who will come to newsrooms without news ideas every day? Can our media organizations foot a monthly expense of MK1.3 million to employ the service of one person of such an academic background? Is the media proliferation help to improve this situation? Can we have the right number of media outlets that will make sense to the population? I have worked as a journalist in Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia and the fact is that the best-paid journalist in Malawi is in fact receiving a quarter of what his/her peer – with the same qualifications – receives in Tanzania, Zambia and even in Zimbabwe. This is despite all the economic challenges that Robert Mugabe’s country is going through. A graduate journalist in Kenya is currently pocketing the equivalence of MK800,000 while a serious editor gets up to the equivalence of MK5 million/month. Now, compare this to what a veteran journalist gets in Malawi.

    The other thing is that a good journalist is not necessarily someone who holds a Degree. Writing is an art and it can only be done by those who have the passion and the motive to write. However, journalism is about life-long learning. Instead of craving for the accumulation of academic qualifications, a serious scribe will strive to understand various topics within/her area of specialisation.

    In today’s life, we expect to journalists who also double as entrepreneurs. It makes little sense for one to depend on salary alone while he/she can also undertake such small businesses as selling motorcycles spare parts and other small-scale undertakings. They can use their names to acquire loans and establish small businesses. Journalists live within our communities and we do not expect them to receive salaries that go beyond what the economy can afford. They are no better than teachers, policemen, nurses etc.

  3. ine says:

    ndiye mumanyoza aphunzits kut amalandra zochepa.pamene pt4(oyamba kumene osat student) ku uphunzts ndi 54 000 osawonjezera hardshp.

  4. Mazulu says:

    It seams MBC has no editer,just fancy kulephera kumasulira jaji for mkulu wa oweluza milandu mdziko muno.

  5. that is aposible in country where unemployment is high, in other countries the goverment live by example by giving reputable perks to its employees so that the private sector emulate it.look in our case,at MBC though majority underqualification but their perks still remain pathetic

  6. Mfwethu says:

    This is a nice piece of work but it doesn’t go deep enough in its analysis. Before just castigating the employer, PM, as a journalist herself, should have investigated thoroughly why some of the journalists are paid low, because in the same profession there are others who are laughing all the way to the bank come month end.
    When you read international newspapers and then compare to our papers, you can see a glaring discrepancy in both presentation and narration of stories. be they factual or fiction. The same goes for our TV stations, you are amazed with the mediocrity you see and yet these people want to be paid the moon.
    MIJ has indeed trained journalists but frankly speaking most of the students who go to MIJ if you ask them whether it was their ambition to join that profession the answer will be NO. Either they failed to make it to university or they failed completely their MSCE or it was just parents, friends, relatives, pushing them to do something for a leaving.
    So the pay is not about the name journalist, but it must also reflect their education qualification, NOT education attainment!
    Yes living cost has skyrocketed and its not only them feeling the pinch.
    But employers also have to weigh against overheads, its not just because they are a radio station that they make money, Malawi listenership to most of the private stations is haphazard, most still trust MBC when it comes to advertising and other stuff, maybe ZBS is the only radio station that has shaken MBC a lot, the rest are just breaking even if at all they do.

  7. Kadushu says:

    But why do they behave as if they know everything. Please contact COWUMA a union representing communication sector for help otherwise you will live like that forever

  8. Wailing Soul says:

    It is a big shame that in many cases these days, young men and women are not advised properly by parents or guardians when it comes to careers as they are about to complete their secondary or high schools. Journalism in Malawi does not have a job market. Hundreds of young people join MIJ and other related institutions every year but they end up forking hundreds of thousands of kwachas for a career with which they will struggle to get employed. It is a fact that most of the names we listen to on radio or watch on TV appear to be famous or are like celebrities as it were, but they get paid peanuts, it is fact. Check the average pay of MBC staff, very pathetic and yet when you meet them in the streets, they feel like they are celebrities, they think the whole town knows them. But realistically, they get paid crap. My advice is, please we need career fairs in our schools so that young people make appropriate choices. Work hard in sciences and maths, if you fail to make the grade to a public university, it would be wiser to join say, Lilongwe technical college or Bt technical college or even a TTC where eventually you will upgrade to Domasi and then Chanco or MZUNI. It would be wiser that way than waste all the monies these journalism schools milk from guardians or parents and yet get no work at the end of the day. or as Patricia Masinga is saying in her article here, work for poorly paying media houses like Matindi, Ufulu, Radio 101, Star,Galaxy name them or be an intern at MBC for years, if female, sleeping with the boss for a prospective job that never comes. All the best young people as you choose careers, but if you are already in the boat, its not too late to change or school yourself to at least an accredited college degree, that’s better

  9. Boko Good says:

    Madam Masinga, Most Journalists (my respect to the graduate journos) in Malawi have only MSCE spiced with a certificate from uncredited schools. Do you want them to be paid the same package lawyers get? No way! Advise them to go for higher qualifications then they will reap the best fruits. Most media houses including TVM take advantage of this. However, the end result is substandard reports. Just check the blunders TVM makes. They cant spell or articulate words properly. Yet we have editors and respected bosses working with them. I admire the old MBC during the time of Kamuzu. Everything used to come out perfect. So Madam Masing, the nowadays journos deserve the packages they are getting.

  10. Nkhani says:

    We thank you for the update, all you need to do next time is to edit your article before publishing it..

    In addition to what you have written, lets look at this religious radio station which belongs to Mpingo wa Atsogo.

    It is a shame for a christian institution not to be paying its employees…

  11. Ken Malinda says:

    Good article. Please name and shame the media houses . You are promoting transparency, why should it be different with media houses ?

  12. Nyoni says:

    Patricia masinga what is ur highest qualification?????? Look u want more money mbuli ngati iwe certificate only mbolo ya mbuzi

  13. Okonda Amayi says:

    90% of our journalist are good on fake and negative stories about government and people including their own employee. Ambiri ndi mbuli. Negative stories about government and business people has forced donors to stop funding. Not many media houses pay these bastards good money.

  14. this is true reflection dat studying is more less of wasting time & money bcoz many students who took it as career r just languishing in different how can u be motivation with such pathetic salary & with nepotism/favouratism of employers dats why even its presentation of programmes isnt proffessional bcoz they just take their sons/daughters who know nothing about media indeed charity begins at home at its best/peak.

  15. sikusinja says:

    The question is are the media houses these people work for making profits? Am inclined to feel your article is targeting mainly electronic media because the print media, Nation and Times, I don’t think their journalists are complaining or getting the peanuts you are talking about because they employ seasoned and educated journalists…but electronic media sometimes even listening to the radio is really nauseating and you wonder who employed these people…

  16. Rodriguas Latata says:

    Indeed no quality check, even this article has not been quality checked. What do you expect?

  17. Chemtukanika says:

    Noone force them to work there.It was their choice.And for those working in church owned media houses,they are serving God and will be paid lots of them in the next world.

  18. Kaybeez says:

    Only politians accumulate enough for survival,yet do not have a qualification.As long U R able to read and write!Zili Ku Malawi!

  19. Kaybeez says:

    Za Ku Malawi Zimenezo!

  20. Wawa says:

    This is true, touching. As employers please start to pay journalists well, journalists must also work hard towards higher educational and professional qualifications.

    Lets balance the act!

  21. New Mandela says:

    Education is less valued in Malawi.The country values football news,cashgate stories etc

  22. George Lihoma. says:

    My column.Everything to comment is already laid bare. Mature journalism is seeing what majority haven’t seen but after the writ, everybody agrees kuti aaaagh aah zoonadi eeeh. Eiiish Patricia iwee.Hahahaha!

  23. koma Umbulu? says:

    Also comment about their average qualifications, most of them are just certificate holders. Find out other professionals if they are in the same miserable situation, otherwise, this is the state of affairs across the board.
    For your information, this world is fair for people who are graduates and not otherwise.

  24. Antundile says:

    Journalists in Malawi are one of the least qualified professionals.

    Worse still the quality of your articles if not horrible is outright dull, nauseating and manyukunyuku.

    You deserve what you get.

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