Winning Campus Journalism Awards triggered my desire to do better – Maryam Abdullahi
NEWS DIGEST – Maryam Abdullahi is a young female journalist who emerged winner of the Campus Journalist of the Year at the 2019 Campus Journalism Awards. She describes herself as a gender advocate whose love for journalism and its practice has helped in projecting women in good light to the Nigerian society.
Maryam holds a B.A in Literature in English from the prestigious Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto. A news reporter with excellent story telling skills, highly enthusiastic about art and journalism. These qualities have won her numerous awards and as well exposed her to unlimited opportunities in the practice of journalism.
Maryam in a chit-chat interview with Segun Adeyemi revealed her journey to CJA 2019 and life after CJA.
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How did you know about Campus Journalism Awards?
I got know about the campus journalism awards through the social media — Facebook specifically.
Why did you put in for an entry into Campus Journalism Awards?
I put in for the award not really with the mind of winning but with the intention of getting my work assessed by external mainstream editors and journalists. I felt it was a potent platform (Smiles) which of course it is, to get my work assessed.
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As a female media person, what has been your driving force towards the practice of this profession?
Journalism is such a competitive work that requires passion and courage to succeed. These two things have basically been my drive to me practicing journalism. Aside my passion for the profession, making impact and correcting wrongs have supported my strength so far. While I practiced journalism on campus, it was at that time, a practice only doable by the male students, for some unpalatable reasons, female students shunned it. I thought it necessary to do something serious about the challenge. So, even though, the number of female student journalists do not equate the number of the male student journalists, I can still loudly say that a considerable number of female students are currently participating actively within and outside the campus. It is also the reason why most of stories are centered on women related issues. Thus, making impact has always been a driving force towards me practicing journalism.
How have things played out for you since winning the Campus Journalist of the Year at CJA?
Winning the award is a flicker of light in my career. I have had too many golden opportunities, though, journalism related. I have not had to apply for an opportunity and get rejected. I became more connected and more prominent for the things I do. People showed more interest in my daily activities and my profession. I also feel that I can impact more positively to the nation through my stories.
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How will you describe your emergence as CJA journalist of the year?
Honestly, it was unexpected. There were other excellent student journalists. I’m not underrating my ability, but I just didn’t believe that my simplicity in writing comes with elegance. I consider my emergence as the CJA journalist of the year as a special honor that embellished my passion for journalism. It triggered my desire to do better.
Is winning CJA one of the high points of your career?
Winning CJA was truly one of the high points made in my career and I am hopeful that many more high points like CJA would be recorded as I practice in the mainstream media.
Do you think journalist are underpaid in Nigeria? Would you like to make a case for them?
Sincerely, journalists are not well paid, especially in Nigeria. But what I am sure of is that any journalist who proves to be extraordinary would make it beyond expectation. And yes, they are underpaid, and I would love to make a case for them.
What is your advice for young female journalist?
My advice for female media persons in the profession is that, they should keep moving. The societal imbalances should not discourage them. They should not allow the misconceptions about the profession deter them from chasing their goals passionately. Specifically, women from the north west part of the country who have had quite a negative perception about the profession should not succumb to the vices of such established notions. Avoidable challenges like, ” it is risky, I am only a woman, the profession is not for women,” should not be subscribed to. Because, journalism is for all gender. There are many opportunities out there waiting for them.