How Adversity Built A Giant In Cameroon’s Print Media Marshland

Swimming against the tides, a select few have been able to dig deeper and exploit the terrain fully.

The story is told of a much-coveted piece of land at the center of a business hub. Its position was strategic but for countless years, no one was able to construct on it.

Whenever someone put up an edifice, it came crashing before it could even be put to use. Many tried and failed and the land remained bare.

One morning, a young man showed up and purchased the plot. The owner sold it for next to nothing knowing it won’t be of any use. In just a few months, the new owner had constructed a mansion on the piece of land.

For a moment, everyone expected it to come crashing down but it didn’t. A year passed and then another, and then a decade.

The owner would later testify that the secret was digging deeper. When he examined the piece of land, he realized the top layer of soil was not suitable and he had taken the pains to dig past that layer.

It had cost him much to dig off the top earth and then lay a solid foundation, but he knew it was worth it.

Over the years, Cameroon’s print media landscape has been to many like that top layer of soil which fetched little or nothing.
What are these components that make up the ‘bad’ soil?

‘People don’t buy newspapers’

‘Vendors are feeding fat off publishers’ money’

‘Newspapers are not getting enough adverts if they don’t toe the line’

The list goes on …

Swimming against the tides, a select few have been able to dig deeper and exploit the terrain fully.

After a two-month suspension by the National Communication Council in 2013, The Guardian Post bounced back and has since been heading for the stars. It went on to become Cameroon’s first and lone daily English language newspaper.

In February 2021 when many felt the field had been saturated, the media institution dug deeper. It began producing a Sunday edition dedicated to shedding light on human interest stories and soft news to keep readers entertained and relaxed over the weekend.

Some three months ago (January 15, 2022) it dug deeper yet, unveiling a Saturday edition dedicated to sports happenings. This makes it the lone newspaper in all of Cameroon and the CEMAC region to publish on every day of the week.

This of course does not indicate the absence of challenges or shortcomings. The progress made however vividly demonstrates its resolve to stay true and committed to its course even in the face of adversity – a bold ingredient in Cameroon’s media landscape.

Sometimes you don’t have to look far to get that which you want. Dig deeper.

We are living in shallow times. Dig and pray.

– Giyo Ndzi

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