Thursday, August 20, 2009

Interview Thursday: " Every profession has its challenges and journalism brings many to your doorstep" - Lolade

-->My guest today is male. He is a journalist, he was the writer of the Activist blog on Tell Magazine. He strives to attain high level of professionalism as a journalist. Lolade Adewuyi is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, my Alma Mata. Lolade runs a Lagos photo blog, a general situation blog and he added an additional blog when he relocated to Ghana recently on Accra City Photo.I am glad to have in on Interview Thursday.

Can we meet Lolade?
Lolade Adewuyi is a journalist who presently writes for TELL Magazine as a correspondent based in Accra, Ghana. A graduate of English Studies from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, he has written for The Guardian, Lagos, OVATION International, Showbiz and Business Week both in Accra. He loves photography and when he’s in Lagos produces photos forthe Lagos City Photo Blog.

As a journalist, do you think the advent of internet has made journalism easy?
Well, the internet has definitely made traditional journalism a lot more dynamic in the sense that people now have instant access to news and commentary of hot topics unlike in the past when you had to wait to watch an edited Network News on NTA or next day for the morning papers to inform you of events in the country. But then, many Nigerian media houses that have failed to embrace new technology are seeing their stock fall. It’s the age of the internet, hence, we should all move with it. New media has its own challenges but it’s the new face of the world. Instant!

What are the challenges you face in your work?
Every profession has its challenges and journalism brings many to your doorstep. It’s an industry where deadlines are strictly adhered to otherwise one loses out to competition. This keeps you on your toes always because you never know when your big break might seemingly come. An otherwise mundane story could turn out to be a breakthrough for one. Plus one major challenge journalists face all over the world is the issue of poor remuneration. I recently met a French journalist and he confirmed to me that they’re also underpaid in Paris. This is in respect to what other professionals earn doing their jobs. Notwithstanding, journalists must keep to the creed of the industry which is to maintain a position of truth at all times.

There are different types of journalism but I am not sure if sensational reporting is one of them, do you think it's a necessity?
Every society has what tickles it. You’d be surprised that most of the sensational journals, yellow journalism in industry parlance, outsell the serious papers and magazines. It is an attestation to the fact that people want escapist stories, more like fiction, than facing the hard truth that “country hard o”.

Will you agree with me that the Nigerian media do not for the most part represent the Nigerian women well?
I would like to know how you have come to the conclusion that the Nigerian media does not present women well. Even in the media there’s a body of women journalists called NAWOJ who champion gender balance in the industry. I think when there’s news to be written, it has to be written no matter what the sex of the person involved. Hence, I feel everybody is equally represented in news reports. The media cried out loud when a young lady was recently harassed by some thugs in naval uniforms in Lagos. My colleague who followed the story for TELL is a man. When the issue of prostitution in Europe by a lot of women from Benin was in the news, most of the critical opinion was written by men decrying the trend. Likewise, the media has also celebrated strong Nigerian women in the form of Chimamanda, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Funmi Iyanda, Omotola, Joke Silva, etc. I would like that you should not just look at when the media has lashed out at some women for having taken wrong steps. The media is a reflection of the Nigerian society, after all.

What can we do to have better reporting, non-discriminating and objective views of women in the media?
Like I said previously, the media reports what happens in society and does not deal in a male-versus-female-contest. We write what we see and criticise what needs to be criticised. Several cover stories have been written about the Yar Adua government failure to provide electricity for the country; does it mean we are male-bashing? No. And when reports criticise Farida Waziri for standing idly while corruption builds a castle in our country, it doesn’t mean it is because she’s a woman. And nobody would write that she’s failing because of her gender because we’ve had women perform better in other roles like NAFDAC and the Finance ministry before her.

One of the major newspapers in Nigeria once carried a story about Dora Akuyili after she became the Minister of Information and Communication and the reporter said in his write up that "since we all know that deception is a perfect job of every woman, Dora Akunyili is no exception" do you think this report is objective and non discriminatory no matter the angle the reporter is coming from?
I would like to believe that such a comment as this could not have been part of a news report but an opinion article. In the context which you have asked me this question I'd like to say it sounds really sexist but it's not common place to read such blatant attacks against women in Nigerian media.

Is there a role that journalism can play in the peace and security of the continent?
Definitely yes, journalists and journalism have played a huge role in the way peace has reigned on the continent and vice versa. Rwanda is a quick example. Radio journalists fanned the embers of hate in that country. Here in Accra, many times I have listened to radio phone-in shows where people have expressed disdain and sometimes hate for others. There is a way in which journalists can report crises situations and not let them get out of hand. When a paper reports that “1000 Igbos killed in the North!” it makes room for reprisal killings in the South East. I’m not saying that papers should lie but we should be more introspective and take into consideration the dynamics of a country before casting heavy headlines.

If you are not a journalist, what will you like to be?
That’s a tricky one there. I’ve always wanted to be several things from when I was a kid. First it was a pilot, after watching a movie about the Japanese shelling of Pearl Harbour. Then it was an ambition to be an actor like Arnold! After a while I wanted to become a poet and fiction writer. I tried my hands on short stories but got poor reviews and that drove me into journalism where I could be more truthful without a need for most of the intricacies a fictional writer needs to craft his story. But now, if I had a choice, I’d rather be me and see where this trip takes me. Who knows what I would become in future like that child that grew to become a Sumo wrestler! My experiences are growing and I just look forward to a beautiful trip.

Thanks fr your time and this wonderful insight.
Thank you Standtall for using your blog to promote gender values in Nigeria. You’re one brilliant voice in this generation that can help us move forward.


histreasure said...

First!!! i hope o

Great interview..and the guy's objective and're doing a great job,girl..keep it up!!

Vera Ezimora said...

You go, Standtall!!

Another great job.

Way to go, Lolade. Nice e-meeting you.

TheJunkie said...

I like that he said journalists need to take a bit more caution before printing out heavy headlines. I wish more would take that to heart, especially because that must be difficult to do.

Nice interview!

Thinkingbee. said...

Dear Standtall,Thank you for your visits to my blog, you are doing a great job too,but i have not been able to add you to my blog list? PPls help.

Gee said...

long time no read!
I see ur doing a great job!
big ups!!

E-sermon coming real soon, stop by and b blessed!!

Writefreak said...

I love this interview!

And someone from 'our' alma mata too. And even from my department...!

I love the way Lolade answered the questions!

StandTall-The Activist said...

Thank you all for stopping by. I am sure Lolade will be delighted to comment back.

@Thinkingbee: I wonder why it wasnt easy to add me to your blog roll. Perhaps I offend blogger-lol

Anonymous said...

Gosh I remember seeing TELL magazine as a child in it still published?
Lolade seems like a multi-talented individual. I'll be sure to check out his photo blog...

StandTall-The Activist said...

@ Miss Healthy Diva; yeah Tell is till alive. They make it a weekly newspaper....

poeticallytinted said...

I think journalism is a powerful tool. In the wrong hands could cause a lot of havoc! People have to read what they write. You may decide not to buy a book but a newspaper gets into nearly everyone's hands easily. Lolade sounds like he has a good head on his shoulders though.

Anonymous said...

me like him already!

My Passion, my focus, the change that I want to see in the world - is my propellent factor.

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