There is no closing time at Skyy FM. Reporters work until the work is done and sometimes that means twelve hour days and weekends.
This issue was brought up last week in one of our editorial meetings. A practicum student just out of high school has been coming to our eight o’clock meetings and staying past our six o’clock news in order to help with production. He gets flack for coming late to work and flack from his family for coming home late at night.
What makes matters worse, is the long days are punctuated with hours of inactivity. Christian Baidoo, a reporter at Skyy for four years, says many of the station’s challenges are technological.
[pullquote]Despite these challenges, many of the reporters at Skyy say they love what they do.[/pullquote]
“The computers are old computers, they break down. We always have to back up files because we always have to format the computers because they give us problems. As I sit here now, I have two bulletins to do: I have the four o’clock news – that is for radio, but for the television news at six, our editing suite is broken down. We are waiting for them to fix it and we have from now until six to get all the stories done. That is one major challenge: I’m here, I’m ready to work, but because the editing suite is broken down there is no other option but wait.”
Baidoo also points out a problem with the sole company vehicle not always being readily available for the news. The lack of internet access is also a problem. Baidoo sites as an example working on a story and needing to convert miles to kilometres for clarity. Without working Internet, he laments he couldn’t be accurate in his reporting.
Despite these challenges, many of the reporters at Skyy say they love what they do.
“I’ve always dreamed of being a journalist,” says Eric Gyetuah, who is doing his national service.
“With the little experience I’ve gotten in the past five months, I think I like it,” he says. Like all of the other interns, he isn’t paid a wage.
Leticia Esi Anaman, a practicum student, became a journalist to give back to her community. “We have people in my area who need someone to reach out to them. I thought if we get someone who is a journalist in my area, that person can [speak] out with their views and what they need.”
Coming from a rural area, Anaman says much of the local news is centered on the cities. “If you get someone from the villages, you can get someone to tell what is actually wrong there as well.”
However, she says the meagre pay journalists receive is making her consider public relations as a career option as well. But she won’t give up reporting.
“I want to be both a journalist and a PR person,” she says.
Why? She says she wants to have an impact on people’s lives.