Spotlight on Ndey Tapha Sosseh, President, Gambia Press Union

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Hello and a warm welcome to yet another scintillating edition of Personality of the Week, your weekly column aimed at bringing prominent Gambian top notches and achievers into the limelight.

In today's edition, we bring you the profile of a woman who today, stands out in all regards as one of the dominating figure in the Gambia's media fraternity, a highly accomplished journalist by all standards. She ranks among the finest citizens Gambia and Africa in general has ever produced. Her capabilities, skills, high sense of discipline and strategic initiatives put her upright as a corporate citizen.

She is visibly one of the most development-oriented women in Gambian society today. Born some thirty years ago into a highly educated and respected family, her flair for quality and excellence is easily noticeable. She is no other person than Ndey Tapha Sosseh, President of the Gambia Press Union. The Gambia Press Union is the umbrella organisation for Gambian journalists and media workers.

Some of her high profile and international experiences today served to reinforce her conviction to strive hard and diligently in making a place for herself in the top strata of society, growing in tandem with her flair for quality and excellence in her relentless desire to succeed in the corporate sphere.

As many of her peers readily attest, Ndey owns her success to hard work and exemplary commitment to duty and would undoubtedly have a moving and inspiring success stories to recount since she shines at any corner of duty called. Like any other serious minded woman, Ndey today holds Masters in International Press Journalism from the University of Central England, Birmingham, UK, NCTJ Pre-Entry Certificate in Newspaper Journalism, Warwickshire College, UK, and National Diploma, Media Studies, Warwickshire College, UK.

In June 1998 Ndey started as Reporter with Daily Observer Newspaper, during which she spent a lot of time in the field investigating stories.  During this period, she showed a lot of interest in subbing and editorial duties, which led to her promotion to sub-editor in December of the same year.

As Sub-Editor/Columnist, some of her duties was to select filler stories, edited and subbed articles submitted by freelance reporters, columnists and contributors. 

She had received in-house QuarkXpress training and had the opportunity to work on her layout skills.  The paper's weekly column, "Women-in-Development" was her initiative.  She had the discretion to choose topics, ideas and women to be featured.  She took this opportunity to focus on the diverse and often overlooked achievements and setbacks of Gambian women and portrayed them in a positive light.

From June 1999 to Sept 2000, Ndey was the Assistant Editor and among her duties was to liaise with the Editor-in-Chief, News Editor and other Editors on the selection of lead stories. She was responsible for the freelance reporters' weekly wages. She also assigns and monitor staff reporters on their day to day event coverage and in the absence of the Editor in Chief, conducted the daily editorial meetings. 

During this period, the "Sunday Observer" was launched and the paper's volume was increased.

From September to October 2003 she had Work Placement at Birmingham Post, as part of her Masters in International Press Journalism Course. During her one month at the Birmingham Post, she conducted interviews, vox pops, opinion pieces and other articles that were published.

Ndey had also worked for the Trumpet Magazine as Sub Editor in Whitechapel, London, where she assisted the news editors in story selection, editing and other day to day duties. Ndey is currently the President of Gambia Press Union. She is also the 2nd Vice President of West African Journalists Association (WAJA), Treasurer of the Federation of African Journalists.

She is also a member of African Women's Leadership Institute (Akina Mama wa Afrika).

She is a founder Member/Communications Advisor Foundation for Legal Aid, Research and Empowerment (FLARE) and West African Network for Peace-The Gambia. She is a Board for Member Alliance for Democracy in Africa (ADA)-The Gambia.

As well as being President of the Executive Board of the Gambia Press Union, Ndey also doubles as project coordinator of the GPU/Games (the Gambia Media Support) charged with the responsibility to ensure the smooth running of a US$200,000 two year project aimed at training Gambian journalists in the area of news writing, photo journalism, layout editing and media house management skills over an 18 month period. 

This role also entails the drafting of project proposals and the management of the GPU Secretariat.

From April 2005 to December 2005 she worked as Senior Communications Officer with Medical Research Council, where her main role was increasing the visibility of the MRC and this was achieved by designing a three year strategic plan through which the public was informed about MRC operations in The Gambia by organizing Open Days, workshops, radio and television programmes.

She edited TAMA, the in-house magazine. Coordinate and facilitate MRC/Gambia Government public relations.

During this period, information flow between regional units and headquarters was greatly improved.  Communications Assistants were appointed in all regional units as part of the innovative strategies designed to improve access to and understanding of the MRC.

She also assisted the Data collection Unit in analysis and reproduction of data for publishing purposes. 

From August 2004 to January 2005 Ndey was the Editor-in-Chief of Daily Observer Newspaper.

As Editor-in-Chief, she was responsible for daily publications, conducted daily editorial meetings with the assistant editor, news editor, sub editors and senior reporters on the selection of lead stories.  She was also responsible for the overall assignment of tasks to staff of the editorial and photography departments, daily selection of news stories and column articles, cross-checking of news item related facts with members of the public, senior government officials, members of the diplomatic corps etc.

From December 2000 to July 2004, she was a Market Researcher (Part-Time) Barclays Telephone Research Centre.

As a researcher, she worked on several projects aimed at ensuring customer satisfaction. Prospective customers were targeted and Ndey was always on the look out for the possibility of success in new areas of the financial market.

From April 2008 to date, Ndey has been a member of the Steering Committee of WAJA Capacity Building Project where she works as part of a team that monitors the management and coordination of the capacity building project of the West African Journalists Association (WAJA) which covers the Sixteen ECOWAS member states and the Republic of Mauritania. 

Author: Abba Gibba & Babucarr Senghore
Source: Picture: Ndey Tapha Sosseh