NEWS | EDUCATION
- Guest: JOEL CHIRWA
- Firm: Malawi Malawi News Agency (Ministry of Information & Technology-)
- Station: Rumphi
Information is power. It is a fact that a country cannot survive if there is information blackout on almost every sphere of life. This is why the Malawi government, through the Ministry of Information stationed District Information Officers in all the districts country wide. Reason? To ensure the citizenry is updated with whatever is happening in all corners of Malawi.
But what is the position all about? What does it take for one to be a DIO? Well, be there as Love T Msoso talks to Joel Chirwa, District Information Officer for Rumphi to shed more light on his position.
Profile by Love Msoso
I was born some years back at Gordon Memorial Hospital which is at Khondowe in Rumphi. However, I grew up in Dedza where both my parents were teachers at Mtendere Primary, and Secondary Schools respectively.
BRIEF ACADEMIC BACKGROUND
- I did my primary education at Mtendere Primary School before moving to Nkhoma Primary School in Lilongwe where I completed my Primary School Leaving Certificate of Edcuation. Thereafter I enrolled with Phwezi Secondary School where I completed my Malawi Schools’ Certificate of Education.
After that, I went for a certificate course in journalism at Pen-point School of Journalism which was owned by the late Tito Banda in Blantyre. Later, I studied Diploma in Journalism at the Malawi Institute of Journalism in Blantyre. At that time, MIJ had one Campus.
Was this field, your childhood dream?
- Oh yes! I liked to read and passionately followed current affairs. I also had passion in English and History. The two subjects in a way made me develop interest in writing.
However, unfortunately, the time I wanted to pursue journalism there were few media houses. Nonetheless, things worked around early 2000 when I met the late George Kayiya who co-owned Republican Newspaper, and Free Kick Magazine with former cabinet minister Moses Dossi. Initially I worked as a freelancer but was later taken fulltime on board.
Briefly explain how you found yourself as a District Information Officer?
- As already said, I was in Blantyre where Free-Kick Soccer Magazine was published. Then I moved on from there when there were openings in the government for reporters to work with Malawi News Agency. I tried my luck and it worked. I started working as a reporter at Regional Information Office (North). After working there for some years I was transferred to Rumphi in 2014.
A day in the life of The District Information Officer
- (What does it mean, and how does it feel being in that position as yours?)
- It means a lot. It is a great honour to me. I have managed to fulfill my long-held dream to work as a journalist. I also thank God for allowing me to serve my country in my current position.
What is your normal day like?
- I have to ensure that all administrative matters at my office are in place. You have to ensure that your juniors have done what was assigned to them. Then you hold an editorial meeting where you brainstorm on news ideas then the details you have at district are sent to the regional office. You are then required to pursue and write stories on issues or events.
What is your position all about?
- Briefly, you work as resident reporter for Malawi News Agency (MANA) at a district level. At the same time, you coordinate media activities on a district level.
What are some of the attributes of a would-be DIO?
- You have to read widely, nose for news, self-starter and good writing skills. You should also be someone who is not selfish, self-disciplined and be able to make decisions on spot. In short be able to lead others.
A MESSAGE TO ASPIRING YOUTHS OUT THERE
- My advice is that they should be hard workers and develop a deep reading culture. They should also be patient and not think that everything comes on silver platter.