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My Internship Experience With Al’Ansar Radio and Television

It is 07:00 AM on a cosy Monday morning. My blanket has to unleash my body as I journey to the studio. Promptness is of essence at AlAnsar Radio and Television, Maiduguri. I have to address the audience at exactly 07:05 AM on the “Good morning Maiduguri Show” with my Supervisor, Mr Mohammed Auwal Usman.

The Good Morning Maiduguri Show is an audience participatory programme that lasts for an hour from Monday to Friday. The show consists of four segments, This Day In History, Naira and Exchange Rate, Weather Update and Sport Update.  

My first day on the show as an intern selected by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), formerly PTCIJ, among other Campus Reporters and assigned to AlAnsar Radio to gain practical knowledge of a newsroom and related entity was awkward and filled with nervousness. “I should not make a mistake on air,” echoes in my head. I know my fear for error will mislead me and my error is what will groom me for the best. Behold, I was fortunate to meet the General Manager of AlAnsar, Mal Nuh’ Tahir, who monitors most of the programmes aired. I trembled in fear as I listened to his observation about my third presentation on-air. “Your voice is piercing through the microphone, you are shivering. If you know you have a big voice, don’t be too close to the microphone and if you know the voice is low, move closer and talk directly to the microphone to avoid distortion,” he cautioned. I became worried about acquiring a skilled voice. 

Voicing is an art just the way writing is. No one person sounds exactly like another, everyone has a unique way of presentation and I can’t sound exactly like someone but I can only master the person’s style of presentation with proper rehearsals.

Days passed by and I had to sound skillful to the audience without letting them detect any of my errors. This is where the huge battle lies. Should I sit even closer to the microphone or I should move backward?  Monitoring my pitch, pace and observing the volume metre which is directly stationed opposite me took me more than 60 days to master.

Mastering my tempo (voice) was never enough. It is a day-to-day necessity. I had to keep improving my skill for optimum productivity every blessed day. My supervisor (Mr Mohammed Auwal Usman) was of great help here. He always corrected me where needed and sometimes I sought guidance for myself without waiting for him to offer it.

Aside from polishing my voice and ad libbing with humour, I had to learn how to write the programme scripts, also called prep. Constructing the programme script was cumbersome. But then, I always tell myself that I am passionate about journalism and I need to get this right as long as I am at AlAnsar Radio to learn. I tried, persistently, to learn how to write a proper script with guidance from my supervisor. I must say, I am lucky because he always goes through every assignment he gave me to accomplish. Another important thing I learnt was crisis management and listening to my presentation (off-air/recorded version) to improve.

However, in the course of acquiring more skills for my journalism career, I did not limit myself to my assigned programme (The Good Morning Maiduguri Show). I spent some days in the newsroom. At the newsroom, I either serve as a news reporter, newscaster or assist the news producer of the day in compiling the news bulletin. One thing is certain here, if you are willing to learn and you are patient, respectful and dedicated, you will definitely learn and the professionals at your discretion will surely share their knowledge with you. At the newsroom, I learnt that familiarising myself with wordings is key in writing and casting. To ease misconstruction of sentences I make use of the dictionary/Internet to fact check wordings and sometimes asked a senior colleague to help me explain the words and their usage to avoid grammatical errors. I also made use of Google voice and dictionary to ascertain word pronunciation to avoid mispronunciation. I was able to cast the morning news on several occasions having satisfied some of the requirements for news casting i.e. Mastery of English Language especially pronunciation, enunciation and punctuations. 

On this note, being emotionally detached when assigned for coverage and abiding by the National Broadcasting Commission impeded my etiquette of journalism. Oftentimes, I offered to do special reports on several occasions. Whenever I saw or interacted with survivors, I became worried about their plight especially the stigmatisation they face in the society and I tried to amplify their voices through my reportage. The Head of News, Mal Mohammed Kabir Tahir taught me about writing news stories from different perspectives (more than one angle) and practising the Keep It Short and Simple (K.I.S.S) formula. I am grateful to him. 

My worst nightmare came true when one of the voice editors refused to edit my voice clips on October 9th, 2021. I was embittered but later took a deep breath and told myself that I was at the studio to learn, it would not be bad if I took that as a challenge to learn audio editing. That prompted me to go further into voice editing. Other voice editors including an intern (Balkisu Musa) introduced me to some audio editing templates.

Another challenge I faced was in translating English news items to Hausa Language while on the other hand, I could easily transcribe Hausa contents to English language. However, one of the organisation’s reporters, Usman Yahaya Ismail, helped me out whenever I was assigned such a task and he also taught me how I can use technology to polish my translation skills.

From my four-month-long internship, which started on 25th September 2021 to 25th January 2022, I realised that defining your niche is the first step in learning, followed by working on yourself to attain the required standard and beyond. If anybody had ever told me that I would become a football fan, talk more of presenting it on-air, I would not have believed him/her. But right now, as a campus reporter with this internship opportunity facilitated by CJID (formerly PTCIJ), I was able to co-present sport updates and as well learn more about history during my internship training. 

I am immensely grateful to CJID and the AlAnsar Radio and TV, Maiduguri for giving me the opportunity to learn and contribute to nation-building.

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