‘My dad would be very proud…’

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The eldest son of the murdered journalist Deyda Hydara has said that his dad would have been really proud seeing how far journalism has come in The Gambia.

Speaking on the topic: “Digital Migration and Media in The Gambia” as part of the 13th year commemoration of his father’s murder, Mr. Hydara said his father devoted his whole life to see journalism rise to the level it is today: “But, unfortunately, he never lived to witness it...”

“I remember when my dad, the late Baboucarr Gaye and Uncle Pap started The SeneGambia Sun, they were the first tabloid to use computer and were printing from Senegal,” Mr Hydara, who lived away from The Gambia since the killing of his father and only returned after a change of government, said.

“Prior to my dad, media leaders like Downes Thomas, Rudolph Allens, coming down to Dixon Colley, Sanna Manneh and Junkunda Daffeh used type writers to print on A4 papers and copiers.”

“Some of these fathers use photocopiers to duplicate and physically staple pages into copies… My dad used Telex to send news to wire services such as AFP,” adding that this technology takes days before it delivered reports to editors.

Then Fax machines came, which instantly transmits texts to pages, he added.

“This shows how far media has come in terms of digital revolution and use of Information Technologies (IT). Nana Grey-Johnson also published The Topic magazine glossy, and used photos and graphics to design and print in Banjul. Grey-Johnson, after his studies in the United States, was the first journalist to use a portable computer he brought along from US,” he stated.

Along the way, Hydara recalled that off-set printing became introduced and the use of tracing papers and plates for printing, signalling the era of digital printing in The Gambia

“The use of CTP (Computer to Printer) technologies is still very new to our newspapers…. It is so hard to see why the newspapers are still struggling with technologies that our fathers have been using,” Mr. Hydara lamented.

“My dad will be proud to see newspapers being read on smartphones and tablets today. He would be even more proud to see a 100% total digital publication house that does this business without the plates, papers and printers,” Hydara indicated.

However, he said it requires forward thinking to embrace digital technologies and migrate from analogue systems that beset the business of newspaper printing business in The Gambia.

Author: Sanna Camara
Source: Picture: Baba Hydara