Up a notch – Theophilus Abbah now Managing Editor
Theophilus Abbah, former Editor of Daily Trust on Sunday in Nigeria, was recently appointed Managing Editor of Daily Trust, after having attended the first Seminar of the ALI Media Fellowship Programme. ALI wants to congratulate Theophilus and share his thoughts on his promotion.
Who used to occupy the position you are newly appointed to?
Malam Ismaila Lere occupied the position as Managing Editor of Daily Trust before, and did so in acting capacity. He has been redeployed to the Viewpoints Desk as Opinion Page Editor.
What are the responsibilities of your new role?
As it were, the position of Managing Editor is unlike that of a Newspaper Editor. The Title Editor is responsible for the content of his newspaper, but the Managing Editor’s job is defined by the Editor-in-Chief, and so I have been charged with the tasks of editorial staff management, quality control and of stimulating investigative, in-depth and analytical reporting among Daily Trust editorial staff. This is in view of the company’s target to rise to the top of the media industry in Nigeria. I’m expected to come up with strategies to make Daily Trust even more competitive on the newsstand.
What do you plan to achieve in your new role – on a personal level and in terms of the publication?
The assignment is a huge challenge. I edited the Daily Trust on Sunday for seven years and seven months (from June 2008 to January 2016). I’ve done investigative reporting in the last eight years, so I am at home with strategies and methods of critical journalism. However, it is a different ball game when we take into account the added task of identifying and mentoring dozens of reporters who need the kind of leadership that will translate the company’s vision into reality. My task would be to equip and enable all the journalists in the newsroom to do the kind of journalism that will give Daily Trust a competitive edge in the industry – in Nigeria, but also in Africa. I plan to update my own knowledge, organise in-house training programmes, and provide practical guidance to our reporters to ensure they deliver the goods.
Do you think your participation in the first Seminar of the ALI Media Fellowship Programme taught you anything of value to assist you in your new role?
Actually, I consider my participation in the ALI Media Fellowship Programme as preparatory to this new assignment. I would need to apply most, if not all, the things I learnt in South Africa now that I have this new challenge. In Cape Town, we were taken through attitudes and lifestyles of renowned leaders. I’ve returned to my reading list. The stories of Lee Kuan Yew, Martin Luther King and Jean Monnet are renewed in my memory. They made their marks in tough circumstances. I hope to make my own mark, too.