Collaboration gets results

2020-03-24 06:01

We are all familiar with the saying “nothing can replace experience” and this is exactly what was on display at the Over-50s Cricket World Cup from 11 March to 15 March in Cape Town.

Cricketers from yesteryear representing their countries showed they still have the skills that made them household names in their playing days.

The tendency among young players nowadays is that they know everything and don’t need advice from senior players who played in an era when there were no specialised training, academies or personal trainers. Something the young players do have.

When Alan Dawson played for Western Province and the Proteas in his youth, he was a bowler who could swing a match in his team’s favour. And he did it again for the SA team during the Over-50s World Cup in two consecutive matches against Wales and England.

My experience as a journalist spans 38 years. Being back in the workforce, I like to share my knowledge with the newbies. But not everyone is open to advice.

When I again put on my journalist hat at WP Media in 2017, it was an adjustment just to get tech-savvy. Something I lacked, big time. Luckily, I could ask a colleague to assist me and, for the past three years, I have tried not to pester anyone with small things. However, despite my best intentions, every now and then, I do have to ask for help.

There is also a saying in the office that I go out for one interview and come back with three or more stories. This really baffles my colleagues but that is where the 38 years of experience come in.

For example, you attend a function or launch and by just looking at who are there, you can generate stories. I also don’t take a press release at face value. As we say in print, “read between the lines” to get a new spin on a story; as long as it is hyper-local.

Why am I mentioning all of this?

To show that even I am not too old to learn.

When I started out in journalism in 1982, I was taught that if you don’t know what a story’s angle should be, ask.

Sometimes, without thinking, my mouth runs away with me, suggesting angles for stories that is no business of mine.

But do I feel guilty about sharing my “opinion” with whomever is listening?

Nope, because we all work for one newspaper and if I can contribute by being “meddlesome”, so be it.

All I ask is that everyone should be open to criticism and advice and not to take it personally.

As a journalist, you learn to grow a thick skin over the years. But your resolve, especially if you also have to contend with the challenges that come with being a parent, is tested daily.

Don’t let anyone tell you experience and youth cannot be a dynamic combination. But for this to work, egos have to be put aside!


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