It is often said that the works of people can inspire others to emulate their examples or to make them to be like those they adore. This is the case of then little Rodney Dean Sieh, nephew of the founding Managing Director of the Daily Observer, Liberia’s first daily independent newspaper, Mr. Kenneth Yarkparwolo Best.
The paper observed its 40th anniversary last week with appropriate programs befitting such event, beginning with a thanksgiving and intercessory service at the Christ Episcopal Church in Crozierville, Montserrado County.
Today, as the paper ends its celebration of four decades of existence, I have decided to lionize something for young people to emulate to become an important part of society. It is all about Rodney Sieh, the founder and Editor-In-Chief of the FRONTPAGE Newspaper. This young fellow developed interest in the newspaper business by observing and admiring what was being done by his uncle Mr. Best and others at the newspaper.
That is, by observing how the paper was being produced, he was inspired to one day be like his uncle. And so he joined the industry as a vendor (seller of newspapers), years with determination and strong desire, later he became a reporter with another media house.
Those days when this young man used to visit the office, little did I know that he was interested or has been inspired from the activities of the newsroom which can be likened to being in the squirrel’s cage unlike these days. Those days it was very strenuous and tedious as many things associated with the production of newspapers were done manually.
The layout room was about cut and paste, which was also crucial for editing. The layout was done with a ruler to draw line on poster sheets where stories were placed. Also, there was something called the “dark room’ where photos were processed and printed, but was done meticulously to avoid damage to the photos.
Today, it is a different story as improvement in technology has removed some of those hurdles faced by media practitioners in the newsroom. The issue of digital cameras and internet are playing key roles in facilitating the work of journalists.
I am citing the example of Rodney Sieh, now a successful journalist, with many accolades, to show that with determination, every young person can succeed in life. However, this does not mean it would be done on silver-platter, but through hard work, perseverance and determination. It is not about being spoon-feed, but going out for it and working towards it.
Such efforts can be akin to the formula for work which says “Force times Distance Equal Work (FXD= W).” As the formula denotes one must make frantic efforts towards achieving such goal like my junior brother Rodney.
Likewise it is worth mentioning that as Christians observe the Season of LENT about the story in the Holy Bible in St. Luke 19: 1-10 as elucidated in yesterday’s sermon by the Associate Pastor of the Trinity United Methodist Church in New Kru Town, Rev. Alexander Kanwie. In short, it was about a tax collector named, “ZACCHAEUS” apparently a diminutive man who wanted to see Jesus.
But being aware of his height and sensing that the multitude might prevent him from seeing or meeting Jesus, and so he made efforts by climbing a tree for Jesus to see him. To his expectation, Jesus saw him, and asked him to climb down. I cited this to say in order to achieve certain goals or objectives, like what Rodney did, one must make efforts to accomplish such.
Even though he went through the vicissitudes of journalism in dangerous, unsafe or intolerant terrains, like his uncle Mr. Best with the Daily Observer, such as arrest and closure, he still remains determined and focused in his service to humanity.
Furthermore, he even suffered similar situation in the Gambia when he joined his uncle, Mr. Best who was running an independent newspaper in that country.
As one of those he admired in the newsroom of the Daily Observer at the time, where I chewed my teeth in mainstream journalism, I proudly say hats off to him for this success story in the media.
Let me close by restating what he said once about running an online publication, when he said, “I started journalism early, first as a newspaper vendor when I was in elementary school. After the civil war I worked as a reporter for the Monrovia Daily News. I left Liberia in 1990 to join my uncle Kenneth Best who had started the Daily Observer newspaper in The Gambia. There, I began to work as a correspondent for the BBC. When Yahya Jammeh seized power on July 22, 1994, I scored the first interview with the new coup leaders but soon after dictatorship began to creep in, I was forced into hiding before fleeing to London and then the US.”
To end up in the Liberian way I say, “thank-you ya” for being a good example of your Uncle KYB, who I am sure is also proud of you.
Yes, indeed, determination and perseverance bring success. If little determined Rodney’s efforts is a success story today with a media empire , other young people can emulate him,, not necessarily in the field of journalism, but other areas.
I Rest My Case.