Liberia: A Devoted Protégé

Christiana Winnie Saywah-Jimmy, The Inquirer's female Managing Editor  


  -C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmmy named PNW's successor at The Inquirer

Some say she paid her dues to the fullest. Others have been advocating for her to be given a chance to enjoy what they think is the fruit of her labor and commitment to tutelage. Whatever way it may be, Christiana Winnie Saywah—Jimmy, a trusted protégé who grew into an ally and confidante after many years of stern mentorship—has been named to succeed her mentor and boss, the late Atty. Philip N. Wesseh, as the managing editor of The Inquirer.

The Board of Directors and Shareholders of the New Era Publications Corporation, which publishes the Inquirer Newspaper, have been in search of a new managing editor since the death of the venerated Liberian journalist, and they have come to terms with the fact that no one is more deserving of the post than Madam Saywah-Jimmy. After all, this is where she started her journalism career in 2001 as an intern after graduating from  the erstwhile International School of Journalism (ISJ). 

The board officially named Saywah-Jimmy in a letter dated Tuesday, January 3, 2023. She was one of the few who stuck with her boss until his death, running the paper as editor and later acting managing editor for years when he became ill and died at the hands of the cold hands of death.

“We present our compliments and to inform you that the board is herewith appointing you as Managing Editor of the INQUIRER newspaper,” the Board said in its letter. “We are pleased to appoint you to this very important position of national and international significance because you have proven to be competent, reliable, and willing to learn, since you assumed the mantle of Acting Managing Editor, when the late, became seriously ill in 2021.”

The appointment of Winnie, as she is popularly known, has been described as a great feat for female leadership in journalism.

While many of her colleagues, some her senior, were persuaded to leave for “greener pastures” — in a move that many in the media landscape described as a stab in the back of the Gina when former employees founded a rival paper and named almost similarly (Independent Inquirer), Winnie, described as reliable and competent, stuck with her boss, giving hope to a man who was not only facing serious medical challenges but serious economic constraints, including thousands of US Dollars in outstanding debts owed to the newspaper by the Government of Liberia.

With this appointment, many believe that she has been thrust into the limelight to blossom, but deservingly so as a reward for her hard work accompanied by commitment and devotion.

As the Managing Editor, she has been given the primary responsibility of providing overall administrative and editorial leadership to The Inquirer, continuing her late boss's legacy. This responsibility, the Board said in the letter signed by its Chairman, Gabriel I. H. Williams, said, includes managing the administrative, editorial, and financial affairs of the entity in keeping with the policies and programs as envisioned by the Board for the progress of the institution.”

A great feat for female leadership in journalism

The National Campaign Management Team of Julius Kanubah for the presidency of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has described Winnie’s appointment as a great feat in the feminization of media management and leadership in Liberia.

“We view her appointment as a victory in the ongoing struggles for the elevation of women of competence and experience as much as their male counterparts to positions of influence in the field of journalism, media, and communication,” the team said in a statement late Monday evening, adding that she has impeccably and continuously demonstrated quality journalism and leadership as a female in a predominantly male sphere.

She is reputed for providing outstanding journalistic coverage at some of the most important beats of Liberian journalism, such as the Legislature, Judiciary, and Executive branches of government, earning her the award of "Best Legislative Reporter of the Year 2008" by the Press Union of Liberia.

C-Win, as she is known by some of her colleagues, is proud to publicly declare a living testament to what a woman can truly achieve with hard work, dedication, and professionalism, thanks to the years of growth and mentorship under the late Managing Editor of The Inquirer Newspaper, Phillip N. Wesseh.

C-Win, the award-winning journalist, is also praised for her past role in serving with credibility and integrity as Chairperson of the Membership Committee of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL). 

The Board pointed out that Mrs. Jimmy is also required to submit a quarterly report to the Board as well as an annual report at the end of every year. In keeping with the Board’s established policy, the reports from The INQUIRER Management should cover the financial, administrative or operational activities of the entity. 

The Board of Directors and Shareholders also stated that the management is required to also report to the Board and seek approval on any critical matter affecting the financial affairs and operation of the entity. 

The new Inquirer Managing Editor, who is also the vice president of the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL), is required to submit to the Board a management plan that you (the Managing Editor) intend to execute as Managing Editor to elevate the entity.

“A very important part of the immediate plan must include positioning The Inquirer Newspaper to be more competitive online.”

She was then assigned to the Legislature, where she was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Best Legislative Reporter. She was then assigned to the Judiciary and covered the Executive interchangeably.

Winnie's coverage over the years has cut across various beats, from gender to agriculture onward to transport, health, finance, information,  and human rights, as well as politics, thereby giving her vast knowledge on how to cover and report news. She then rose to the position of associate reporter and later editor.

She holds a BA in English Literature and a diploma in mass communication from the University of Liberia. 

The Liberian media fraternity, from all indications, is wishing C-Win well as she steps into Gina’s huge shoes.