Where would you go to look for artists in the field of Broadcast Journalism? London? Lagos? Accra? How about Gbarnga? But there are only Community Radio Stations in Gbarnga and the journalists are volunteers! How can they possibly treat journalism as an art and they aren’t even paid a salary?
The Art of Journalism requires unending hours of work, it requires constant study and research, it requires traveling to get the full and accurate information. In short, good journalism should command a handsome salary indeed. So who would take on this profession as a volunteer?
Here in Gbarnga we have two young artists who have not only taken on the profession, but are Commited to the Art of Journalism. Moses Bailey and Josephine Zogbaye are both Broadcast Journalists at Radio Gbarnga. It seems they have discovered their special gifts, fallen in love with the beauty of performing their art form well, and Commitment easily followed love.
When you hear a Moses Bailey interview, you sense Commitment and listening is always a treat. We asked how he manages to keep his interviewee on point, no matter how hard the person tries to dodge. He responded, “You must be well informed, be moderate, patient, and balanced. You must realize it’s not about you, but about the people who don’t have a chance to ask the question.” More easily said than done! And Moses admits his interviewing techniques are one of his journalistic strengths.
Josephine emphasized the importance of preparation before an interview. “You must research the issues and the person to be interviewed, themselves. Know who they are.” She carries her penchant for research into the area of newscasting giving depth to her reports. Adding to her skill at delivering her message is her clear and easy speaking style making it a pleasure listening to Josephine on air.
Broadcast Journalists all over the world operate under a huge cloud of temptation. They can be tempted with money by individuals to frame their broadcast in favor of the paying client when the report is untrue, unethical, or misleading. Moses tells us that here in Liberia when there are “financial and political constraints”, when “logistical support is limited”, when the journalist has to depend on being transported to the site of conflict by one of the disputants, it puts the journalist’s Integrity under harsh scrutiny.
Josephine believes that, “If you don’t promote sustainable development by being truthful, you are promoting destruction. The community respects you as a journalist for the degree of Integrity you exhibit. While Moses further says, “Integrity is our core. Without Integrity the people will not trust us. Journalists must have high Integrity. It is key.”
So now, is their love for journalism enough to keep our young hero and our young heroine dedicated to their art? Well, Josephine even encourages her family members to study journalism. “It has broadened my perspective. To have learned so much from so many different people has given me great confidence and made me want to go even deeper into journalism.” Moses feels that journalism is the “Queen of the Arts”. “If you practice journalism as an art, you will learn something about everything around you. That puts journalism at the top of the arts. You may positively affect the decisions of world leaders as a result of journalism, but only if you practice it with Integrity.”