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Travails of a trafficked victim Pt4

Updated on December 3, 2009

The travails of a trafficked victim


Chapter 3


My Career As A Journalist

            I began my journalism career in 2000 at Common Interest Communications Nigeria Limited, publishers of National Interest Newspaper in Nigeria. I was very enthusiastic and dedicated to my job. In no time, I had mastered the ropes of the profession and was promoted to head the education desk. About two years later, National Interest Newspaper went through its dark period, and, due to non publication, it was not on the news stand.


Thereafter, I stayed at home for a while in pursuit of another job.Luck came my way one day when a colleague invited me to seek employment at Century Media Limited, publishers of NewAge Newspaper. I applied and was successful. In 2003, I joined the organization as a Reporter/Researcher and was also responsible for the education desk. Part of my duties were to ensure the publication of three pages of education weekly, edit stories of outstation correspondents (that is, those reporting for the organization from other parts of the country) for the education pages, plan the pages, in addition to sourcing and writing stories. In other words, I was responsible for the general aesthetics of the education pages.

As a staff member who took her job to heart, I went the extra mile to generate revenue for NewAge Newspaper through advertisements. I enjoyed my work, so I put in more effort to source for stories, especially, investigative stories. I took risks sometimes too.

My first story for NewAge newspaper was to write about best students in the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) that was conducted in 2002.

I had to travel by boat, even though, I did not know how to swim and without wearing a life jacket on a boat that was paddled by a boy, who was about 10 years old. I embarked on this journey to reach one of the schools from which the students emerged to get my story. In fact, I plucked a water leaf from the river to show my editor, Steve that I travelled across the river to reach the school which was located in a riverine area of Lagos State. As a journalist who did not want to lose her onions, I continued to generate investigative stories, source and write international stories, apply for national and international awards, including foreign fellowships.

I was given a consolation prize by one of the leading beverage companies in Nigeria, Cadbury Nigeria Plc during its 2003 national award for education reporters in Nigeria.

In 2005, however, I emerged as the national winner of the same award after submitting a story in which I investigated and revealed examination malpractice among students and invigilators during the 2004 WASSCE examination in Nigeria.

Unfortunately, however, I was not there to receive the award. A colleague received it on my behalf. I also lost the chance to solicit for support from corporate organizations such as Cadbury Nigeria Plc, to curb examination malpractice in Nigeria.

I always strive to use the opportunity that I have to make a positive change in my area of specialization. Every week, I published a column titled career guide.This guide served as a resource tool to help prospective undergraduates. It shows them what job opportunities are available upon the completion of their higher education, while choosing their various discipline of study at the university, polytechnic or college of education in Nigeria.

I also applied for international awards including: the CNN Multichoice Award for African Journalists; The Bastiat Prize for Journalism and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural organization (UNESCO) award for education reporters to raise my horizon as a journalist.

In 2004, I was selected to attend a six-week fellowship in Berlin, Germany, to study Multimedia and Online Journalism at the International Institute for Journalism. The program was sponsored and organized by Inwent, a ministry of the German government to support developing countries.

At the training, I learned how to use the online and multimedia method to reach my audience. I was planning to use the knowledge gained at the program to both reach my audience and also teach journalism students in Nigeria how to utilize the online media to pass their message across to their various audience.

At the end of the program, I was invited to one of the Nigerian polytechnics, Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, to give a presentation. This was a public event organized for the Mass Communication students of the school. I delivered a paper titled, Multimedia and Online Journalism: The New Mode of News Delivery. After the positive response from the students at the event, I wrote a proposal to the German Embassy to join hands with NewAge newspaper to help journalism students in this area by organizing trainings in Nigeria for them.

All these dreams and aspirations were, however, cut short because of the story I am about to tell.



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