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Managing The AIIJ Has Come With Its Challenges And Opportunities - Solomon Serwanjja, CEO of AIIJ

When the celebrated television journalist Solomon Serwanjja quit his job at NBS TV in July 2021 as a news anchor and investigative Journalist, many wondered what his next move would be.

Even so, he was not certain about the decision to leave the life he had known for 15 years to pioneer the dream of creating a home for Investigative journalism in Uganda and the rest of Africa.

“I remember putting on a brave face on TV on the day of my resignation, but when I entered my car and closed myself in, I cried. I don't even know where it came from, I just cried,” Mr. Serwanja narrated to RX Radio’s Crystal Newman on the Groove Cafe yesterday.

A year into directing the African Institute for Investigative Journalism, Mr. Serwanjja says the CEO position is an exaggerated term for ‘a sales person’. He explained that not only did it come with multiple responsibilities but also required a variety of new skills.

“I had to learn and transition from doing only journalism to managing people, being patient with them, and it was quite different because all I knew was Journalism, light, standby, action. But now as a CEO, I had to learn managing people and realized that a CEO is a salesperson with a big title,” he said.

He noted that the transition from journalism to a CEO needed skills like management, resource mobilization, creating partnerships, learning how to write grants, and investments that enhance organizational growth, among others.

“It has really come with opportunities but has also challenged me to do more than storytelling. I’ve been challenged in management, resource mobilization to what a CEO really does; planning ways for the growth of the organization, how I report to the board, how I hold myself and others accountable,” he explained.

According to Mr. Serwanjja, Investigative journalism in Africa was previously funded by BBC through Africa Investigates, but it transferred the funds to Asia. It was also sponsoring the Africa Eye until 2020.

Mr. Serwanjja got struck by the thoughts of what would happen if the projects ceased receiving such funding and whether that would not lead to the death of investigative journalism on the continent.

To keep Investigative journalism alive on the African continent, he decided to start the African Institute for Investigative Journalism.

The Groove Cafe with Crystal Newman airs every Weekday from 4-5 pm on RX Radio.

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