I remember being a young girl, growing up in the southern part of the US. Watching the news, the images of Nigeria that I saw were always filled with doom and gloom. It was really all bad news. As I grew older and had family visit from Nigeria, I questioned the images that were constantly put out to represent Nigeria and indeed the African continent.
I also remember American classmates asking me if I lived in a city, if we had electricity and running water, I remember them asking how my father got his tribal marks. In the back of my mind somewhere I realized that the Nigeria I knew was not the Nigeria they had been shown.
Journalism has impacted me by giving me the platform to challenge the dominating narratives that are put out about Nigeria and Africa. Journalism has impacted me by raising my questioning quotient. Through several years on both radio and television platforms, I’ve realized that the job of being a journalist is central to ensuring that Nigeria progresses.
Journalism has given me the opportunity to educate myself and other Nigerians on issues of governance and on what kind of social contract we, as citizens, have with our government.
Journalism has made me a teacher. During the time I hosted a week day, 5 hour intense political radio show, I had to educate myself in order to educate my audience. That time in particular made me a better researcher, a better interviewer because I had to deal with guests who were not always forthcoming.
Journalism has helped me see the dots that need to be connected from day to day, story to story. Journalism has helped me work on my interpersonal skills. My radio show was a call-in program. That time really taught me patience and how to help people work through their thoughts and arguments.
Journalism has also taught me how to look for different sides to every story. It is often a balancing act in presenting different perspectives and in reaching some form of a consensus.
Journalism has given me a voice, a voice that I have used to share the stories of those who have felt voiceless and powerless. Journalism empowered me to be a more active, participatory citizen and in turn encourage others to do the same. Journalism has impacted me by constantly educating me. Through the course of my work I have learned so many things that I most likely would not have learned without deliberately seeking them out. From discussions about the environment, how it links to security, how that links to education, to discussions on ending female genital mutilation, and ending widowhood practices, journalism has educated me.
Journalism has impacted me by giving me a livelihood, not just a job. It is something that you simply don’t switch off. The way I look at stories and situations is different because I’m somehow applying my journalistic eye.
I’m constantly looking for the why in many stories because that helps in understanding so much about where a story starts and where it may end.
Journalism is something that has become such an ingrained part of who I have evolved into becoming.