Today, we start a series on Prima Donnaz called “Wonder Woman Wednesday”.
In “WWW”, we will be interviewing and sharing stories of some inspiring ladies in our society. Through their stories, I believe we will be inspired to chase our greatness! So, brace yourself, it going to be a loooooooonng ride!!!!
Our WWW for today is the bold, beautiful and brilliant journalist, Hannah Ojo. A humanitarian at heart, Hannah has a passion to see women excel.
Hannah was the pioneer winner, “Reporter of the Year”, a journalism award organised by Coca-Cola Company and the Nation Newspaper in 2009. On that same platform, she won other awards including Best Opinion writer (2009), Best Politics Report (2011) and Best Sport Report (2011). She also emerged first runner up in the Innovative Young Journalist of the Year (2013). Whew!!!!!
In this interview, award-winning Hannah bares her heart to ladies, sharing secrets that have helped her on her personal journey, and inspires all to live fulfilling lives. I enjoyed this interview, I am sure you will too!
May we meet you ma?
I am Hannah Ojo, presently working with The Nation newspaper. I attended the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife where I earned a B.A in English. I like to read and learn new skills. Also, I consider myself to be a product of God’s and mercy.
What sparked your interest in journalism? What was your inspiration?
I actually thought I would be a showbiz personality but I got to realize later that that wasn’t my turf. Journalism was sparked in me when I got exposed to the newsroom as an intern while studying for an OND in mass communication. I simply fell in love with print journalism. I must add that having a platform to contribute to The Nation newspaper through the Campus Life pages helped to sustain the spark too. Permit me to add that I had the feeling that journalism is part of the purpose God has called me to so that also roused my interest too.
Apart from journalism, are you engaged in other activities, projects or humanitarian activities?
Way back on campus, I used to be involved in activism. I contested and won election into the Hall Representative Council of my hostel. Thereafter I did some work for my fellowship. At the moment, I am not neck deep involved with any NGO. I only help some of them out on a few occasions.
However, the kind of journalism I do is humanitarian in a way since I go out of my way to write on diversity issues like covering aspect of women and children, climate change and other issues on developments.
There are many journalists in the society today. What are your strategies in carving a niche for yourself, especially as a lady?
My basic strategy is to practice the profession with a touch of excellence. When I’m working on a story, I give it my best. Another strategy is to write stories that will have impact on the society-I believe journalism should not be about bad news only. I work with my mentors and I rely on God to bless my effort.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a journalist and how are you overcoming them?
The biggest challenge is the challenge of time and brain energy – rushing to beat deadlines. Journalism keeps you on your toes so one is constantly thinking and doing leg works to reach news sources. This is why journalists are always on the road and are often exposed to danger.
For me, I am trying to overcome the challenge by depending on God’s grace for strength and stability while also tapping from the experience of older colleagues in the profession. Relating with older colleagues and my mentors in the profession is of great help .
What do you enjoy most about being a journalist?
What I enjoy most about being a journalist is the dynamism of the profession. Journalism is not monotonous- one is exposed to different people and places over a period of time. I also enjoy the fact that one gets to learn on the job. Journalism makes you intelligent because you are exposed to information on various subjects. I also like the flexibility that the job affords especially in this digital age where you can work from the corner of your room without getting to the office.
Another thing I like is that once you are a journalist, you become an activist advocating for the betterment of the society. Journalism is a call to social duty.
Do you think journalists are well paid for all the risks they take?
In Nigeria, except for few media outlets, journalists are not well paid. Some media houses even owe salaries. That’s why it is often said that journalism is for passion not for money. But there are other ways for journalists to make money apart from their salaries and brown envelopes. I know many journalists who are living comfortably because they use their journalism skills to make money by undertaking various projects. The new media has opened up an avalanche of opportunities for journalists to make extra income apart from what they are paid.
What is your advice to young ladies considering journalism as a profession?
For women considering journalism, they should have it at the back of their minds that they don’t have to be limited to the soft beats like fashion, food and entertainment. With recent examples of women becoming editors and Mds of frontline newspapers, it shows that there is no limit to the heights women in journalism can get it. I have also noticed this #HeforShe tendency, where older colleagues are ready to support young female journalists who are promising. So for young ladies considering journalism, have it at the back of your mind that you are coming in to build a career which requires you putting in the best your abilities can offer.
I have seen women journalists who did well in the profession and were also able to build a family, so young women should not be scared that the profession would deprive them of fulfillment in other aspects of life. It’s all about placing priorities.
Some people think that the Nigerian society discriminates against women and robs them off opportunities to live fulfilling lives career wisely. What is your take on this?
I really don’t think so because things have changed and I believe at the moment, the Nigerian society is allowing more women to use their potentials, especially in the corporate world. But we know that, for a woman to get to climb the ladder, hard work is inevitable. Rather than women complaining that they are not given a chance, let them work and prove their potentials. I believe excellence does not discriminate.
What do you think deters ladies from living up to their full potential today?
I think ladies are deterred from reaching their potentials because of distractions. The way women are built, we get easily distracted by things happening around us. Sometimes, we even get distracted when expectations fail and want to hide in a corner because we believe doing or achieving too much may deprive us of some things. That stage of distraction is something we will have to deal with at any point of our lives. I think the basic thing is to be strong and encourage yourself in the Lord when such happens. That way, one is sure to bounce back and stay focused on the goal.
Your advice to young ladies on the journey to becoming Prima Donnaz?
For young ladies, the basic thing is to identify purpose early since that could help guide the journey we make into other spheres of life like courtship, career, etc. And in identifying purpose, the one person who can help with that is the manufacture which in this case is our creator. Be it Muslims or Christians, I believe ladies should cultivate a relationship with God first so that they can be guided by divine wisdom to reach the heights of success and fulfillment they aspire for. It is only through the help of God that a woman can get good success.
Thanks Hannah for this time out with Prima Donnaz. We appreciate you
Thanks for having me.