As journalists who normally write for our names to be in newspapers, broadcast for our voices to be heard over radio and watched over television, we must know that we are role models in society and whatever we do reflect on the country.
We must make our stories accurate yet conversational so that viewers will remember them.
The things we publish or air over the radio and Television leave a mark in the minds and lives of people. Therefore we must be very careful of whatever we do, mindful of the fact that people trust us to provide valuable information for them.
Different stories affect us in different ways. A country we care about may be in the midst of turmoil, and we favor one side over the other.
Such is happening now in some parts of Sierra Leone between the two main Political Parties in the country: All Peoples Congress (APC) and Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).
Some news houses favor one political party and anything that party does – whether good or bad – is treated in a special way that will convince the public to believe in what they write.
Pretending to have no preferences about any story, anytime, is not only a lie; it’s silly. We’re human beings, and we care. Sometimes we care a great deal, and there’s no getting around that. Still, journalists have to write fairly and objectively.
But we can’t do that while we’re lying to ourselves. Only after you recognize your feelings can you take the professional steps necessary to put them in their proper place.
Every day, we go out there, looking for ways to take a bunch of facts and make them compelling to our readers and listeners.
Our job is to craft stories with language and style powerful enough to make people stop, focus, absorb, and retain information; that’s the kind of writing that keeps people reading, listening and watching the news, making us successful.
We get only a few precious moments to tell a story. We should fill that time with the most compelling, the most critical, the most “grabbing” information we have. And yet, day after day, in every newsroom in the country, well-meaning writers are churning out meaningless stories about their preferred political party, instead of spending those critical moments revealing more important current events.
Just as every word we write matters, every frame of video counts too. If we remain focused and always concentrate on finding and using only the very best pictures available, combined with equally well-chosen words, our stories will grab attention, and be remembered – after all, that’s exactly what we’re trying to do. Good luck!
By Abibatu Kamara