In this week’s edition of Katanga Spotlight, Oluwapelumi King, a correspondent for Indy Press, interviews Chidera Anushiem, erstwhile Editor-in-Chief of Indy Press (2019/2020 session), and award-winning campus Journalist. The conversation covers a range of topics, including his personal and illustrious Campus Journalism career, the challenges of being a student journalist, and the impact of campus journalism on the student community. Enjoy!
Hello, Chidera. Can we meet you?
My name is Chidera Emmanuel Anushiem. I am a final year student of Pharmacy. I am currently the President of the faculty of Pharmacy L &D and also the former Editor in Chief of Indy Press.
You are also known for Campus Journalism. Can you describe your journey in Campus Journalism to us?
Campus Journalism has been very interesting and rewarding for me because I have been able to rise through the ranks very quickly. I have been able to reap the results of what journalism has to offer. My journey in Campus Journalism started by reading Kunle Adebajo’s works so when I got admitted, my plan was already to join the Press. When the PRO of Indy Hall at that time called on behalf of the Editor-in-Chief invitations to join the Press, I contacted the Editor in Chief and had what seemed to be an interview in his room. My first published work was just there but reading Kunle Adebajo’s work helped me grow. My major highlight then was
someone asking why I became the Managing Editor in 100 level which was quite unusual. I replied with a question saying: Have you considered the fact that I am also qualified to be the managing editor? When I later won FOPA in 300 level, the same person came to congratulate me and it was really rewarding. Having also to write Chronicles of Consciousness for the whole University to read was actually great.
From your own experience in Campus Journalism, describe what Campus Journalism is to you.
Campus Journalism is writing to effect change within the campus or nation’s education space either politically socially or otherwise. I believe that if you are writing for the fun of it, you are just a PR person and writer. A journalist is someone who is looking to effect change across all sectors on campus or the nation’s economic space through his writings.
Has Campus Journalism in UI kept up to its standard in recent years?
In terms of Political Consciousness, there is a serious considerable decline in the consciousness. The Fourth Estate is supposed to be the hub of consciousness but there is really been the case in recent years. I think this can be linked to the general decline in some campus press organizations and maybe fear of SDC and threats by some student politicians. In other fields like business, entertainment, etc, there have been some improvements but in terms of Political consciousness, there has been a drop in standard.
What is your highest of highs in Campus Journalism?
The highest of highs came for me when a high-ranking member of management acknowledge and commend my writings or when there is a positive change as a result of what I wrote. Winning FOPA was also one of my highest highs because it was something I always dreamt of winning since the time I saw the splendor and the prestige of the award the first time I was there. Winning it again in 300 level made it the highest moment for me and I could say I did not have anything more to prove to anybody again not that I set out to do anyway.
What has been your greatest challenging moment in Campus Journalism?
It came when I was Editor-in-Chief of Indy Press. My Deputy Editor in Chief at that time had to do his program at Badagry so I had to shoulder most of the responsibilities alone. I had the challenge of running Indy Press logistically which is pasting articles on the board because the managing editor at that time was sometimes not around, editing and also financially. Having people also tell me if my writings won’t land me in trouble with the SDC was also challenging.
Has there been any untoward reaction towards any article written by you before?
I can’t exactly renumber the details because most of it happened several years back but there has been a lot. Most times, I have had to be in the Hall Warden’s office, even the Dean of Students. Student Politicians have always had one or two things to say.
Has there been any point you fell out of love with Campus Journalism?
No. There has not been any point.
What benefits Journalism has brought to you?
A lot. It put me in spaces I did not intend to be in. My internship with Sahara Reports had me interact with Omoyele Sowore daily. I have met and interacted with people many people only see on Television and dream of meeting. I have also had opportunities some would give an arm and a leg for. Journalism made me a good writer and won me awards. I only became a good writer because of Journalism. Being a good writer won me essay competitions and got me commercial writing gigs which have brought me, what I would call, a lot of money.
What can be done to limit attacks on Campus Journalists and Campus Press Organisations?
Journalists should keep on writing. They should not feel intimidated by whatever attacks by them. If you act like you care, they will double down on their attacks. If Journalists are convinced by what they do, they should keep writing. If they see Journalists won’t be intimidated, they will be fine. If there are any physical attacks, the Union of Campus Journalists can step in and maybe the school management but as long as it is verbal, Journalists should not feel intimidated.
You would soon be graduating thus ending your campus journalism story; is Mainstream Journalism something that is appealing to you?
For me, anything writing beyond opinion columns, I do not think I will venture into it.
You are a multiple award-winning journalist. What advice can you give to a young campus journalist?
First of all, understand that you are doing your job. Know that it is not personal, so when the verbal attacks come, you would know you are just doing your job. I also always tell journalists; don’t praise or criticize people, praise or criticize their actions not personality so that you won’t label someone as a model of governance or a shining light, and later, the person messes up and then your credibility and reputation are negatively affected. Also, always chase excellence in whatever you do. Wherever you find yourself, endeavour to be one of the top people and best campus journalists. Most importantly, understand the terrain you are in. Understand that there are certain things you cannot do like using some words against the school management and defaming them. Also, do not get intimidated by anyone, when people realise that you are a good journalist and are not easily intimidated, they will back down. All you just need to do then is just to look for information regarding your story idea. You can ride on the wings of people who have come before, read what they have written and see what they have done, and learn from it.
Away from Campus Journalism now, can you share some other aspects of yourself?
I am what you will call a boring person however I am a public speaker and a freelance writer. If you ask me in 300 level, I would have a lot to say but right now I just want to graduate and move on with my life. I however still hold some positions like head of the symposium committee of my faculty. I also used to act in my fellowship in my earlier years but I’m not really active anymore. Right now, it is all about writing, public speaking, and the Press.
Thank you so much, Chidera.
You are welcome