No Tears For Sacked Guardian Journalists, Others

By Lekan Otufodunrin
I’m not as heartless as the headline of this piece suggests. I was very sad when the speculations of the massive sack of editorial and other staff of The Guardian was officially confirmed on Wednesday with the announcement of the new appointments in the company.
With the economic situation in the country, this is one of the worst times to lose one’s job without commensurate financial entitlements and compensation.
After investing years of working and helping to build the conglomerates their former media organisations have become, summary sacking is not the way to reward the affected journalists.
No journalist who is still employed in The Guardian or any other media organisation should mock those who have been sacked. If the prevailing situation in the media industry persists, “sooner or later”, like the slogan in the advert of The Guardian at inception, more journalists will be sacked.
Like a Yoruba proverb states, the death of your contemporaries is a warning that it may soon be your turn.
I’m sad that my “prophesy” of last February when I spoke at the Lagos Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists meeting has come to pass.
” The retrenchment of many journalists will come sooner or later and there is nothing even the union can do about it,” I said, noting that media organizations have to take painful business decisions if they are to continue to publish.
As much as I’m pained by the sacking in The Guardian and others, and wish I can reverse their “disengagement”, I suggest that our response should not be to indulge in any pity party or “crying ” session.
We can reasonably lament about the ” labour camp” which some media houses have become and the “slavery” conditions of of service journalists have been forced to accept in addition to the generally poor pay, irregular pay or non-payment in some cases.
I’m more concerned about how soon the sacked journalists can come to terms with their ” hard luck” and start thinking and taking concrete steps to move on with their media career.
It’s going to be tough finding new jobs as other media houses are barely managing to survive. Chances are that others may take a cue from the “flagship” and throw more journalists into the labour market soon.
Better late than never, this is the time to take stock of our work experience and find out where our various media and non media skills can be needed. You never know how much you can do until you find yourself in make or mar situations like this.
Good luck if you are able to find another job soon, but if not, put on your thinking cap, think outside the box like it is usually said and you may just be able to turn your situation around for good.
This is the time to concretise some of those projects you have always had in mind but never had time to work on due to your former hectic job schedule. About a year before she was recently sacked, Kemi Ashefon formerly of The Punch had wanted to resign her job to run her Relationship blog but she hesitated.
Her sack has forced her to take her professional destiny in her hands and she is is grateful she was kicked out.
” If I meet my former boss, I think I will thank her because she has actually driven me into God’s will and purpose for my life. Because if I had stayed in PUNCH, I wouldn’t be serious with my blog and now I have a website, I have my blog and I have a proposal already for my Radio Program,” Ashefon said in an interview with
When life kicks you, like when you suddenly get sacked, let it kick you forward.
For those sacked and others still lucky to be employed, collaboration and partnership on project ideas may be necessary. We all have different skills and connections that are better harnessed instead of playing small alone when working together we can be major players in whatever we decide to do.
Some of your contacts on your former beats may be supportive in your new adventure, but don’t be disappointed if they “disown” you. In many cases, you are as useful to them based on your last byline or position.
I urge media associations to organise brainstorming sessions, training and retraining for members to be able to cope with changes in the industry which requires new knowledge and skills more than what many of us have.
I congratulate those who have been sacked. Why? They have the opportunity of starting earlier on a journey others who are still currently employed will still embark on later.
My counsel in my February lecture to those still employed was: ” Please don’t be caught unawares. Even if you are not asked to go now, you should begin to think of an exit plan just in case it gets to your turn. If you have other skills apart from journalism start developing them now. After all, you have to survive when you retire from active journalism.”
Let those who have ears hear what the state of our industry is saying.

For media counseling, coaching, mentoring I will be glad to help in anyway I can through:
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 08023000621
Twitter: @lotufodunrin
Skype: lekanskype


One thought on “No Tears For Sacked Guardian Journalists, Others

  1. I’m unaware of this writer’s previous work, and this may not have been the place they wished to voice other matters.
    I also just checked the date this was written – 2016 – so, what can I say!? It’s been a heck of a four years! – however, my feelings might be relevant to something somewhere, so here goes:

    I found this article perplexing. Given the reasons for some high profile sackings of journalists – or those ‘driven out’ by beliefs that stray from the narrative, I was expecting to read something very different.
    It is undeniable that traditional news media is facing a new technological landscape faced by many in various areas (such as musicians in the age of streaming and piracy that has a whole generation believing that access to music should be free – cinemas, with the final nail in their coffin being Covid – small businesses in the age of Amazon, again with Covid being the killing blow – all reminiscent of the societal loss during the rise of Supermarkets).
    Mainstream media’s response to third party independent news, was to adopt the Fox News business model, fear-based, biased, narrative driven stories, amplifying insanity on soc. media, whilst ironically crying out warnings of the rise of a monster they were actively waking from its slumber, and feeding with their click-bait relevance hunger. Trust in the mainstream media has never been lower, at a time when we need to make hard decisions, backed up by facts, coming from trustworthy sources.
    At a time when more sackings are likely, it’s time to make your company relevant again through journalistic integrity, relevance is just a side effect of the fact that your service is actually more vital than ever.
    Whilst these sacked ‘Guardians’ are looking at other skills they may possess (perhaps henchmen/wonen/other), I, despite having no experience, little to no education, and an embarrassing reading age, actually think, even in the areas in which I’ve gained only some basic understanding, could do a better job. (Obviously there’s more to the job than meets the layman’s eye – but even the layman barely paying attention can see that mainstream media is now 70% reality TV) …i wouldn’t be much good at that.
    Outrage and division sell attention eye-balls, but they also make each side believe that literally anything is morally acceptable if it stops the other side from achieving what they ‘think’ they are in danger of.
    Journalists concerned for their future – please don’t do the deal with the devil – your job is vital. Who knows? Maybe search for other journalists with integrity, who like to engage with difficult topics unafraid of upsetting someone, instead of pandering to the ‘2+2=4 is Racist’ and ‘asking where someone is from is Hate Speach’ crowd, and actually have some concern for activelty and terribly offending the majority – especially those with children.

    Stay safe

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