Journalist and political strategist, Macaulay Hunohashi’s wealth of experience in matters of media and politics cannot be denied having put in over twenty years at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). As Defence correspondent, he had experienced, first-hand, dangers lurking in the trenches while covering the peace mission tour of duty in Darfur, South Sudan. His contributions to the political desk would have him producing and presenting the programme ‘Political Update’ before voluntarily pulling out in 2010 to join politics. He ran for the office of House of Representatives but lost at the polls.
The media consultant and a progressive politician from Lamurde Local Government area of Adamawa State shares with TakeMyGist his strengths as a professional Journalist and what one needs to be the best.
TMG> How did you become interested in Media?
Macaulay> In secondary school, I was the president of the debating club and the socials prefect. I found myself immersed in books which exposed me to a wide range of literature materials. When I passed out of college, my elder brother, who was working as a news reporter at the time and a broadcaster with Radio Nigeria, Kaduna, got me employment with NTA Kaduna as a cub reporter and cameraman.
TMG> How long have you been a Journalist?
Macaulay> I’ve been in the media for close to 30 years now. I started right after secondary school.
TMG> What was training school like and what was your focus?
Macaulay> Training was an integral part of the job, which comes regularly. We were trained by the masters in Viznews London and NTA Television College, Jos. In-house and on-the-job trainings were also regular.
TMG> What type of assignments do media professionals of your level typically work on day in, day out?
Macaulay> News gathering, news reporting, news presentation and training younger reporters.
TMG> What do you like most about your practice?
Macaulay> I loved reporting live from location. Working under pressure produces the best in me.
TMG> Is it difficult to be a journalist and how hard is it to reach out to your readers?
Macaulay> If you have the interest, journalism is not difficult. All one needs to do is to hone your skills and be an avid reader.
TMG> How many times did you produce and present your politics program when you were with NTA and what was it like?
Macaulay> I produced and presented my programme on Thursdays (once a week) at 11 in the morning. It was quite challenging, because it entailed detailed interviews with political gladiators which had to be topical, fresh and informative.
TMG> What makes someone successful in this role?
Macaulay> What makes one successful is for one to remain within the confines of the three cardinal tenets of journalism profession; fairness, balance and objectivity.
TMG> How would you evaluate your work and what kind of feedback were you receiving from viewers?
Macaulay> Reactions from viewers came through our official email.
TMG> How do you think your firm will grow in the next few years?
Macaulay> Although I’m no longer working there, I think with more creativity, the organization will move to greater heights.
TMG> Is there any training period even as a full time journalist?
Macaulay> There are so many training periods. One can take a study leave at any given time.
TMG> How do you stay educated about new trends to develop business?
Macaulay> I’m an avid reader with access to the Internet. Reading exposes one to the latest trends in journalism as well as the social media.
TMG> Tell us about a memorable day of your carer you can’t forget?
Macaulay> When I was defence correspondent: we were embedded with the Nigeria troops in Dafur region in South Sudan where our aircraft, Charly C 130 almost crash landed during a peace mission tour of duty. I escaped death by the whiskers. Thank God.
TMG< What do you find most challenging about your practice?
Macaulay> Lack of latest broadcast equipment is a major challenge.
TMG> What are the biggest challenges facing journalists today?
Macaulay> Poor enumeration, absence of training and infiltration by quacks.
TMG> What do you do differently to ensure you are of good quality to the public as a professional?
Macaulay> I try to be creative by copying those that are setting the pace.
TMG> Who are your role models and people that motivated you into this profession?
Macaulay> My elder brother, Kingsley Hunohashi, and later, I got hooked to Walter Cronkite, the award-winning American News anchor with the CBS.
TMG> Tell us about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career?
Macaulay> I wrote a book titled “Behind the Cue”. It is a book that takes the reader behind the scene to see what goes on in the newsroom before it culminates into a news bulletin. My pain though is that it has not been published.
TMG> Tell us about your management style and how you handle your co staff?
Macaulay> Though I do have my shortcomings, I try to create an atmosphere of conviviality for the overall success of the job.
TMG> Tell us 3 things that you consider to be your strengths as a journalist?
Macaulay> My knack for news, my ability to work without supervision and the enigma to ferret for information.
TMG> What way can you encourage others to be independent in any profession?
Macaulay> Learn from the masters, read books, have the knack for news, develop strong journalistic character, blend very well, learn to use the two “magical” catch-phrases ; thank you and I’m sorry.
TMG> How do you spend your free time?
Macaulay> I spend time with my friends over drinks. I take my family out every fortnight.