Chinalurumogu Eze, a 300 level student of Mass Communication, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), is the current Youth Digest Campus Journalist of the year.
She became the first student to bring the award to a South-eastern University, UNN, emerging as the second female winner ever.
She competed with 23 other shortlisted candidates from other Nigerian universities to clinch the most revered and admired position. The 5th Campus Journalism Awards by Youth Digest witnessed highly placed persons in the Nigeria such as : Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Mannir Dan-Ali, Director Media Trust ltd and others.
In this interview with the award winning Campus Journalist, she narrated her journey into campus journalism and how she eventually became the winner of the award.
Ques: You won the Youth Digest Campus Journalist of the year. How did you achieve that?
Ans: I basically wrote an article and delivered a speech. Apparently, my speech was the best. So here we are. I didn’t really do anything special to do that. But you can say that the months of hard work I put into journalism this year paid off.
Ques: Tell us about Youth Digest Campus Journalism Awards?
Ans: Youth Digest Campus Journalism Awards recognises outstanding campus journalists who have made extraordinary contributions to the development of the practice in Nigeria. This is their fifth year of hosting awards.
Ques: Could you give the rundown of how you became a campus journalist?
Ans: It was in 2020 during the lockdown. I started writing for Youth Journalism International (YJI). I think that was my first step towards campus journalism. I was trying to tell stories that happened on campus with the whole misinformation during the Covid-19. This year I faced journalism squarely, the organisation that required my journalistic abilities did not require campus contents. So, I had to document things that happen in the world especially in the entertainment aspect. I don’t really have much to say as a campus journalist because I am a student journalist working professionally. I don’t document things that happen on campus. But that is about to change because I really want to add my voice to tons of others to get issues on the campus out there.
Ques: As an undergraduate, how have you been able to balance your academics and your career as a campus journalist?
Ans: Honestly, it hasn’t been easy. It’s one of the very difficult things because most times I have to travel amidst school activities. I am not able to strike a balance but I try to. I try to come back to school, do my assignments, write my tests and sit for exams. And still pursue important stories. I’m doing this mostly because I know I’m setting a pace for my self and my future. So that when I graduate, I don’t have to carry certificate looking for a job. Currently, I’m officially employed by a Nollywood reporter.
So, I’m combining it with my studies. It’s not been easy but it is me securing my future. At the same time, we live in a world where if you don’t have a degree nobody takes you serious. Aside that, I’m not doing anything the degree. But because I need it, I’m here and will get it done. I have to deal with it and balance everything.
Ques: Have you faced any challenges as a campus journalist? If yes, how do you overcome them?
Ans: As a journalist practising professionally, I meet people who for some weird reasons do not want to get their stories published thereby causing whatever story I’m working on to lose a witness touch. Most times, I abandon the story. That’s how I overcome.
Ques: Are there more challenges to this?
Ans: None that I can think of.
Ques: Have you ever have any problem with gathering facts for your stories?
Ans: For now, No. Interviews help me build basis for my stories.
Ques: Do you have any personal drive and VISION? If yes, could you share?
Ans: To see the Igbos reclaim their place in Nigeria entertainment and Media industry. I’m a film journalist.
Ques: Interesting. Does your drive and vision make you a sentimental journalist? Or a tribalist?
Ans: (Laughs). Let me explain. I am a film journalist. I’m into entertainment, I found a niche for myself in film journalism. Throughout the month of organising interviews in Nigeria Nollywood, attending film festivals and the likes. I have realised the Igbos lack active players in the industry.
There was a time when they were a force to reckon with but they are going back. This is the same in the media space. In the whole of South East, you cannot pinpoint a media agency that is extremely popular and doing well. You will find campus journalist in the west and in the north.
There is only 1 percent of them in the South East. Do you see the problem? So, my vision and drive is to bring Igbo back to their glory days both In the media and film. It is not a sentimental thing, I am not a tribalist. I’m just looking at bringing my tribe out of their sleep.
Ques: Can you boldly say you have attained your greatest feat as the campus journalist of the year?
Ans: No, I haven’t. I’m still in my third year. There’s more to be done before I leave the University.
Ques: What advice will you give to students who are struggling with advancing their career as a writer?
Ans: The first few times, you may not get it right. But consistency is the key. The best you can do for yourself is not just to write and submit for one organization and drop it there. Send to organisations. Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Have a list of organisations you want to write for. If you have like eight organisations you write for, one or two could approve your article and publish it. Keep doing it, so that when eventually you want to want to settle down and work for one organization, they need to see proof that you are who you claim you are.
It is all these works that will speak for you. So, it may not be easy in the beginning. But keep on doing it, it will make sense eventually.
Ques: It is a privilege to share these with you. Thank you for the time.
Ans: You are welcome.