08.07.2004 Regional News

John Nyankuma - A Star is Gone

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A Tribute by Nana Appau Duah

Accra, July 8, GNA - It was incredible when news got to us at our Editorial Conference that Mr John Nyankumah (Hobble the Hoy), a Star at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) had passed away. We did not want to believe it. We wished it wasn't true. But alas there is no armour against fate!

That John Nyankumah was a very good Journalist, every Journalist in Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) will tell you. Even those of us in the Ghana News Agency knew that.

You talk to Journalists in GBC, and some will proudly tell you: "We were trained by Mr John Nyankumah." The same way a GNA Reporter would proudly tell you: "The Late Mr T.B. Ottie trained me." The two were synonymous with excellence in Journalism.

I came into contact with John in the 1980s when he was posted to Kumasi by the GBC as the Regional Editor and I was then the Regional Manager of GNA. We made him the Dean of the Press Corps in the Ashanti Region. He was excellent and helpful.

His pieces were regularly used in GBC news and programmes. His voice and style of writing were just superb and some of these should be re-played for the young Journalists in GBC to learn from.

In his professional career, he covered a lot of international assignments for GBC, including the Organisation of Africa Unity (O.A.U.) Summit in Nairobi; Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee in London and Presidential Foreign Trips in the Second Republic. His reports from outside Ghana to the GBC were accurate and impressive.

When he came to Kumasi, his excellent coverage from the Region endeared him to many. People had a lot of affection for him.

Professionally, he provided a very stiff competition to GNA. He sometimes made light play of GNA's cherished principles of speed and accuracy. You go on assignment with him, and sometimes while you were working on your story, you would hear John's well-written version in the news.

In fact Mr Francis Kwateng, my deputy, and I had to devise special strategies to be able to contain John's onslaught. And, sometimes, we just couldn't. He was a first class Journalist.

John brought a Reporter to me to be employed by GNA. I rang my Boss in Accra and told him about it. He asked me: "Is the Reporter good?" I just replied: "He was trained by John". And that was enough. The

Reporter was employed and he is now an Editor in GNA. John's excellent performance did not go unnoticed. GBC later brought him to Accra, and until his death he was a practising Journalist and a trainer of the staff. GBC has really lost a great Journalist. On a personal note, John was very helpful. You have any problem and the Dean would be there to find a solution. I covered an assignment in which I reported that somebody in a big institution in Kumasi was dead. The institution swiftly denied it officially even though the person was dead. I was perplexed. John came on to the scene and said: "Nana let's send T.V. cameras to the mortuary to see if the person is alive." I won the day. My despondency disappeared. We did not have to send T .V. cameras to the mortuary.

In the same vein, we do not have to send T .V. cameras to ascertain the passing away of John, a Star Journalist. He is gone. He is an unsung hero in Journalism. His colleagues and friends all know this. We will painfully miss him. We wish him a peaceful rest. John -Adieu

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