19 December 2013
Newspaper editor was imprisoned and battled Zimbabwean regime before graduating from UCLan
When a delighted Jethro Goko donned his cap and gown to graduate from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), little did people know what tough times the smiley Zimbabwean had faced during his much heralded career.
The journalism leadership graduate was imprisoned for fighting for a free press in his homeland and resurrected the fiercely independent Daily News after its printing presses were destroyed in 2001 and then banned by Robert Mugabe’s regime.
But the 49-year-old refused to let these events dampen his spirit for giving the people an independent voice in the publishing world. The UCLan course, which he started back in 2006, aided Jethro’s quest to re-launch the Daily News and make it the go to paper for people throughout the country.
He said: “I can’t tell you how happy I am to have graduated. I’m ecstatic and so proud that my wife and two daughters were there to see it happen.
“The UCLan course was fantastic, really enjoyable and exactly what I was looking for. It really zeroed in on the specific areas of management, strategy and digital shift which are essential for me in my role as the editor-in-chief.
“The UCLan course was fantastic, really enjoyable and exactly what I was looking for. It really zeroed in on the specific areas of management, strategy and digital shift which are essential for me in my role as the editor-in-chief.”
“At times I thought it was all getting too difficult with the legal battle to regain the paper’s publishing license but coming to Preston was a godsend. Speaking to fellow newspaper editors on the course, plus the lecturer Francois Nel, reassured me that I was doing the right thing and it was worth all the financial and emotional effort.”
Jethro, who has held senior positions at newspapers in England and South Africa, juggled his work commitments with regular trips to Preston for seminars and workshops. For his dissertation he examined the relationship between South Africa’s media and President Jacob Zuma’s presidency. He handed in the first draft of his dissertation two weeks before this summer’s election, which saw Robert Mugabe win again, but just two weeks later started working on his second draft.
The editor-in-chief re-launched the Daily News in March 2011 after a licence was granted in 2009. He has financed the operation, seen staff numbers go from zero to 320 and has watched the paper grow to become one of the leading publications in the country. He is understandably keen to seeing a decline in business as has happened in the UK.
“There’s no difference between newspapers in the UK. Back home you need to buy two papers to find out both sides of the story but that’s not the case over here. Also reporters and editors seem to write stories they want to cover, not what the people on the street want to read about. At my paper we have street vendors who come in and give their opinion on stories. We see if it’s something of interest and really listen to their thoughts as they’re the ones on the ground.”
Francois Nel, the founder of the Journalism Leaders Programme at UCLan, said: “I’m unbelievably proud of Jethro and what he has achieved since he started with us back in 2006. The way he’s studied hard alongside resurrecting the Daily News is amazing. He’s been a joy to have over in Preston and I’m delighted he’s keen to send over some of his staff to follow in his footsteps and become the next journalism leaders.”