Dr. Jerome Ongora
Dr. Jerome Ongora is a senior lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication in the Faculty of Social Culture and Development Studies.
He is from Lira District and went to Aboke Minor Seminary as well as LAcor Minor Seminary before sitting for O and A Level at then Aga Khan Secondary School that is now Kampala High School.
He then joined Uganda College of Commerce Nakawa where he broke off for further studies abroad in the former Soviet Union by enrolling for Journalism in Voronezh State University on a 3 years Bachelors programme. He however had to first do a year’s study in the Russian Slavic language and is proficient in Russian and does Russian to English translation when called upon.
Dr. Ongora later did a 2 years Masters Degree programme in Voronezh State University and then pursued a PhD in Moscow State University which is the biggest University in Russia and graduated in 1996.
For his Masters and PhD, Dr. Ongora specialized in Print media especially the Typology of the Ugandan Government run University The New Vision and had to come to Uganda two times to do his research.
He later returned to Uganda and did some practical News Journalism in a News Paper called Ndi Mugezi based in Jinja and published in both Lusoga and English.
He later sought for better employment opportunities in the field of information dissemination but was always told he over qualified for most of the jobs and was advised he would best fit in Academia. He later joined Kampala University as Dept Head of Mass Communication and rose to become Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences from where he joined Muteesa I Royal University in 2011.
Dr. Ongora prides in having taught and mentored many prominent journalists and media personalities in Uganda and Kenya.
He says that his experience in Media Academia has had him observe that many students need to change their attitudes and rarely want to put effort in theoretical work as well as seeking to be analytical.
When asked whether as a Soviet trained journalist he doesn’t find it odd working in Capitalist based systems, he says that the core principles of journalism are the same and the basic theme is telling the truth and informing the public.
Dr. Ongora however notes that much as there are conflicts between the East and West’s approaches, it all goes back to an individual to appreciate what the West says and what the East says and then form an own opinion. He says both Socialist systems and Capitalist systems have both negative and positive sides.
Dr. Ongora advocates for a proper regulation of the field of journalism saying that every profession would like to not have every Tom, Dick and Harry be free to enter its field like it is the case currently with journalism.
He says there is a need to subject practitioners to vigorous tests like it is with law to see if they are really competent in communication but also appreciates the challenge of most academic institutions today scrambling for students to survive as businesses.
Profiled by Lukyamuzi Joseph