I’ve had the pleasure to work with some talented journalists since first arriving at Diamond FM in early July. In spite of having to overcome funding issues and access to proper research and editing equipment, these reporters persevere time and time again.
Being located in Ghana’s Northern Region, Diamond is in the unique position of having relatively easy access to countless human rights-related stories ranging from access to education to domestic violence to female genital circumcision. However, I’ve discovered that the desire to report on these kinds of stories is there, but a lack of proper resources makes these stories difficult to cover. One of the first things the news editor at Diamond made very clear to me when we first met is that there is no money to send reporters out of Tamale. That put me in the awkward position of trying to figure out how to cover these important stories outside the city while being sensitive to Diamonds conservative budget.
One story I was interested in covering—but would require a financial commitment from Diamond—was about a sprawling slum in Accra, Agbogbloshie. Growing year after year due to government apathy, it has been affectionately been nicknamed “Sodom and Gomorrah.” I’m struck by the struggle residents face of Sodom and Gomorah for daily survival. One recent day at the office, I casually discussed the possibility of covering the story with a Diamond reporter, Maxwell, who I thought would be interested. He couldn’t hide his excitement at the prospect of travelling to Accra for a story, but understood it still had to get the blessing of management.
I was confident in the importance of the story and its relevance to Diamond’s listeners. I was also inspired by Maxwell’s enthusiasm, and with that in mind I set up a meeting with higher-ups at Diamond to discuss the possibility of going to Accra. I had practiced my pitch and had a pretty conservative budget proposal prepared, but still most of the reporters seemed convinced that a trip to Accra would be out of the question. Either way, I was anxious for the meeting.
Entering the General Manager’s office, I didn’t waste any time getting right to the point. After I felt I had made a convincing argument, I waited to hear his response with a list of potential rebuttals at the ready. He began by explaining changes he and other decision-makers at Diamond were hoping to make on the future of news coverage at the station. Though he didn’t immediately endorse the trip, he agreed in principle that the story I was proposing to cover in Accra was in line with the direction they wanted to take the newsroom: producing original and creative work relevant to Diamond’s audience. We spoke more on his future expectations and what kind of role I could play in developing a more mature newsroom. As we wrapped up the meeting, I finally got the answer I was looking for: “This is definitely the kind of story we want more of, we will do what we can to make this happen.” I left the office with a smile.