Chimpreports’ Muhame Excites Victoria University Students


cost geneva;”>Below is the speech in full.

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Thank you so much. Thank you. Please, please. Thank you (Applause).

In this country, you will see that so many people are so proud of you. They are your parents, family, lecturers, friends and lovers – all who are proud seeing you at this stage of education.

Let me start by telling the bitter truth. Let’s be honest. When it comes to such functions, I usually feel shy (laughter).

Not that I am not a good public speaker but because I feel so humbled to inspire a group of enthusiastic, energetic and young men. This is the generation the country has been waiting for. A generation that is well equipped with skills to shape the opinions of the rest. (Applause).

When your tutor Alan Geere invited me to speak to you, I felt honoured. Not that I am the best online journalist in the world but one who gives it his all to be. (Applause).

At Makerere University where I graduated with a Mass Communication degree a few years ago, I never attended online journalism lectures (murmurs).

I was always in the field, putting in an extra effort to establish myself as the best political reporter in the country.

It was not until July 2010, a few months after campus that I chose to start a newspaper. The Rolling Stone made mistakes, which I regret and think, should have been avoided. It was the youthful adrenaline that overrode our reason. It was not necessary to wage a campaign for the hanging of gays. I think we could have prepared a better story without jeopardizing the safety of a minority group.

The story under the headline “Hang Them” cost the newspaper its future. It’s not a good thing to be known for doing the wrong thing. (Applause). This profession calls for responsibility and maturity on the part of journalists. Journalism calls for fairness, truth, honesty, balance and bravery.

Henry Anatole Grunwald said “Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air.”

Today I want to share with you how the online media works.

But I will point out Chimpreports is doing an extraordinary job as one of the finest sources of timely and truthful news source in East Africa. (Applause).

The story of Chimpreports is an exhilarating one.

The idea to start this great website came up in 2010 while having coffee with a friend at Kati Kati restaurant in Kampala. We argued for hours how a website would make money. How would we mobilize money to recruit reporters? How different would the website be from the rest? How would our society benefit from the website? How would we compete with the mainstream media?

Giles Muhame (3rd left) poses for a snap with Victoria University students on Monday

We decided to answer these questions by starting the website. And believe me, as I stand before you, we have recruited reporters, marketers and support staff. And we are making money. Our readers get the latest stories on time. And our society is much more informed than in the past. With an internet-connected phone, one can easily access Chimpreports by logging into The application is free. (Applause)

When we made a decision to start this website, we never had enough money. We paid for the template which was designed in a country in Asia. We bought one laptop which I would use all the time.

Since then life has never been the same again.

Online media is the way to go. A few months ago, I was watching US president Barack Obama deliver a commencement speech at Barnard College, a woman’s college in New York affiliated with Columbia University when electricity “chucked.

Hundreds of US journalists had earlier tweeted about the event. So I opened my Twitter account and followed a hash tag #Obamabarnadcollege. I was able to follow Obama’s speech without necessarily watching him on television.

Information travels at a speed of lightening. We live in the era. An era of gadgets, technology and information. During our parents’ days, there were no ipads. There were no tabs. They never had internet-connected phones.

Like Obama said, there is nothing worse than droning on about bygone days. But for all the differences, information is needed. We are moving into a world at a moment when print media is losing ground. Statistics have showed a perpetual fall in copy sales on our streets. All Ugandan newspapers combined sell approximately 105,000 copies a day in a country of 32 million people.

Yet, the last time I checked with Uganda Communication Commission, Uganda had 5 million active internet users. So, how do we reach out to the growing number of these internet users? How do we win their trust? How do we earn their precious support? You need to provide answers to these questions.

Of course as young women and men, you are going to grapple with some unique challenges in the field, like whether you will be able to earn equal pay for equal work when you graduate; whether you will be able to balance demands of your profession – and its hugely demanding in terms of labour and time – and your family; whether you will drive a nice car and live a comfortable life. (Laughter).

Let me assure you that the opportunities for online media investment have grown tremendously over the last ten years. There are virgin areas such as fashion, comedy, entertainment, health, sports which lack ‘serious’ websites. Let’s think differently. Let’s not copy Chimpreports because you won’t outshine it. (Laughter).

The economic conditions of our country are very brutal and the unemployment rates are staggering. Our politics seem nastier than ever before. The salaries out there are not impressive at all. Why not start a blog now and transform it into a new website in future? (Applause).

During my campus days, I would head to the field after lectures yet some of my friends would wait for vans to chauffer them to their hostels to watch a popular Series “24.” Little did they know how brutish this world was out there. (Laughter).

Start practicing journalism today. Start before the sunset. Start now. Open a blog today. Arianna Huffington started Huffington Post as a blog. (Applause).

She recently facilitating the $315 million sale of to AOL at a staggering $115 million, not including the $18 million to $100 million she’s said to have personally received from the merger

“She doesn’t apologize for things. She’s paid attention to technology more. She’s paid attention to SEO more,” quoted Jason Keath, president of social media firm Social Fresh, as saying.

“As fast as she moves and as fond as she is of staying ahead of the game, having the resources to take more chances will be interesting.”

I will conclude with the 10 commandments of online media.

David Cohn, the Founder of said there was no problem with Journalism.

The problem is with the business models to support journalism. There will always be a need for news and reporters. And good journalism breeds good business.

Don’t save journalism – save honest communication.

Always remember that people pay for high quality journalism. Be honest. Aim higher. The sky should never be your limit. You can go beyond it. (Applause).

I usually do my reading on internet. Somebody said as long as you cover the news in a no-bullshit way, you will do fine. Feel confident. People will come, read your stuff. You can be the next Arianna Huffington.

Always endevour to be a good, unique, and valuable journalist. Be mindful of people’s perception about you and your works. Sell your brand by doing the right thing. Critical thinking should not elude you. Endeavour to tell the story behind the story.

Pay attention to detail. That’s how you will stand out from the rest.

Make as many contacts as possible. That cleaner in the minister’s office could give you a scoop on a corruption scandal, that guard at the records office could ease your work when it comes to paper trail and that waitress could provide pictures of a sex scandal. (Laughter).

If you are unique and fill a need, you will definitely succeed. Always endevour to do the right thing.

Always keep yourself abreast of what’s new in all spheres of life – economics, politics, sports, culture, health etc. Read blog posts of Christian Amanpour, Aaron Klein, Jay Rosen, Andrew Mwenda, Bob Woodward and others and you will be fine.

Thank you.

God bless you


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