‘The POWER of an EDITOR’: A must-read book for newsroom success

A new book by Charles Kalu, a brilliant broadcast journalist, reinforces the larger-than-life figure of an editor in a newsroom, 
By Sylvester Asoya 

Before the internet age, an editor in the traditional media had the power of “life and death” over a copy and even the writer in a newsroom. Editors of those years exercised enormous powers, as a matter of fact. They also wielded great influence; a fact that still remains indisputable. 

The reality today may have placed a limitation on the powers of an editor but the fact remains that an editor still wields a significant amount of power anywhere and everywhere. This is exactly what The POWER of an EDITOR, an instructional and educational hand book for media practitioners and students by Charles Kalu, establishes. 

Kalu is a fieldman and one of the liveliest journalists I know. He is perceptive, warm, up-to-date, adventurous, vivacious, eloquent, unafraid but also ready to learn. 

In The POWER of an EDITOR, Kalu, a dutiful journalist with investigative skills, shares his experiences, both inside and outside of the newsroom with his readers. He opens every chapter with a powerful and fitting quote that enlivens and sets the stage for an interesting reading engagement. 

He also sheds light in a creative way, on the important roles of an editor, the responsibilities of other newsroom staff, a typical newsroom with its busy ambiance, time management especially in critical moments and synergy in news production and presentation. 

But the icing on the cake for a perceptive reader is Insights From The Masters, one of the concluding chapters in the book. Here, Kalu shares his encounters with top broadcasters, men well-known for their distinguished careers like Ben Egbuna, Femi Sowoolu, Citizen Jones Usen, Phil Ushie, Tokunbo Ojekunle, Patrick Oke and Dele Adetiba. 

However, there are also other riveting stories and accounts of broadcasting, its practice and the challenges editors and behind-the-scenes players in the newsroom, face. They include: What Is The Role of The Editor Or News Manager? The News Manager As A Leader, The News Manager As The Eye Of The Newsroom, The News Manager As Coach, The News Manager As Supervisor, Broadcast News Production Made Easy, Making Broadcast News Easy For The ‘Now Age’ and Giving The Newsroom Relevance Every Day.”There are also other lively chapters like Dealing With Selection Of Stories In The Newsroom, Making A Case For ‘Breaking News’, Vox Pop (Voice Of The People), The String Holding: The Newsroom And The Presenter, Understanding The News Reader’s Flow and Quick Nuggets About Dos and Don’ts In Broadcasting. 

It is important to note that the author believes that his book is relevant and timely, regardless of the changing media landscape; and he says that much. 

“My book is an instructional manual that is meant to help editors, news producers and reporters to deliver the best bulletins each day. The POWER of an EDITOR also serves as continuous learning manual that reminds us of the little mistakes we make in the newsroom. As a product of different traditions, both new and old, I think I have a duty to share my experiences as a newsman at a public radio where it all began, and in my later years at private radio stations.” 

Kalu’s final verdict, which is also in consonance with the views of some journalism trainers and journalists (both in the electronic and print media), is that an editor is a strong man or woman known for remarkable feats in the newsroom. The editor, as a media man or woman spots where thinking is defective or flawed. He or she also discovers where an important detail has been left out. The editor is called the newsroom boss and the last man standing because he or she knows when an inappropriate material is in a script or copy. And this influential person in the newsroom supervises news copies, allocates space or time slot for interviews and decides stories for every day. In this book, Kalu reinforces these onerous duties of an editor and points the way forward for professionalism. 

But this remarkable work on an editor’s power is not without failings. One of the visible flaws in The POWER of an EDITOR is the absence of any form of active illustration, organizational chat or pictures. The presence of any of these, would have made reading clearer and more attractive. And the book does not also have the best layout. But since the drawbacks are all matters of aesthetics, they do not in any way, affect the book’s power and purpose. So, this is a perfect book for practitioners, teachers, students and anyone interested in mass communication. 

Kalu who trained as an actor and became a broadcaster by providence, has done remarkably well in the field of broadcasting. His journey as a radio ‘boy’ started at Federal Radion Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, Lagos during his undergraduate days. He later joined Silverbird Communications, owners of Rhythm 93.7FM as Deputy Head of News. He eventually became the first Head of Bureau of Silverbird group in the entire Niger Delta and River’s State where he was appointed the organization’s first Station Manager and Head of News. Kalu also held different positions at Silverbird Communications, both in Lagos and Abuja. 

He is an alumnus of University of Jos, University of Lagos, the US State Department of the International Leadership Exchange Programme and School of Media and Communications, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos. This broadcast journalist who is the Social and Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Guild of Editors is currently the Director of News, Access 24 News Network (Radio and Television).
Share on Google Plus

About Newsmart


Post a Comment