Why I Majored in International Journalism

This may sounds cliché but I will say it anyway. The journalism field has been my dream career path since my first year in high school. However, I suppressed the dream because I was told that the journalism profession was dangerous and financially not beneficial.

Africa deserves a better international media coverage (Photo: Foumena)
Convinced, I chose a scientific track and earned a scientific high school diploma. Even though my main subjects were Biology, Chemistry and Physics, my favorite ones remained French Literature and English.

I was offered an opportunity to attend an international boarding school located outside Cameroon for two years. There, I learned a lot about people and cultures from all over the world. I especially learned to appreciate my African heritage because I realized that many people knew nothing or little about Africa.

Then, I was admitted as a full scholar at an American private liberal arts college, where I spent my four undergraduate years. Then, I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Communication in 2009.

In the U.S., I also found out people knew little to none about my continent.

Over the years and in spite of the existence of new technologies, the misrepresentation of the African continent in the international news did not change much. My frustration grew stronger. Even though Africa is the poorest continent in the world, it still has more to offer than just stories about the Rwanda’s genocide or the Darfur crisis in Sudan. In fact, Africa has offered some of the best Nobel Prize winners: Nelson Mandela (1993), Kofi Atta Annan (2001), and Dr. Mangari Muta Maathai (2004). I really wanted to see more positive coverage about the continent of Africa.

I figured out that the awful trend can only be reversed if more African journalists are directly involved in the making of international news. That's when I came acriss the CNN Multichoice African Choice Awards. The CNN Multichoice African Choice Awards motivated me to become a journalist. Launched in 1995, this competition recognizes the hard work of numerous African journalists like Zimbabwean Hopewell Rugoho-Chin’oho, CNN Multichoice African Journalist of the year 2008, whose the work gives a voice and a face to millions of Africans.

My goal as a future journalist was to bring a more objective image of Africa to the world. 

I knew my cultural background will be a plus because it is easy for me to relate with the people of Africa. I pictured myself writing about social issues that were unheard of (or not heard of) enough by the international community: women’s issues, government corruption and the misuse of religion.

As an aspiring journalist, I wanted to report about the good things that were happening in the continent, such as the positive impact of soccer in the lives of children and the work of non-profit governmental organizations. I had no doubt that the world wanted to know more about Africa. The world needed to know more about this continent.

The lack of information about Africa in the international news appeared to me as  the root of most people’s ignorance. In order to achieve this goal, I knew that a graduate degree in Journalism is the next step I needed to take after my undergraduate graduation.

During my undergraduate years, I joined The Columns, the campus newspaper as a staff writer. As a college staff writer, I grew confident with my ability to write. I learned what it meant to meet deadlines, to verify my facts, to look for stories, to interview people. In total, I had nine articles published in The Columns.

Knowing that there is nothing more rewarding that real world experience, I applied for an internship at The Fulton Sun Gazette, the local  Fulton newspaper. My internship at The Fulton Sun Gazette has confirmed my interest in the journalism field. Through the internship, I accompanied reporters to their assignments and learned a lot about the rewards and the difficulties of the profession. The staff was very friendly and supportive. To this date, I am proud to say that I had two articles published in The Fulton Sun Gazette: “Two groups, One goal: Meeting the Needs of Foster Parents” and “Toastmasters Club Offers Chance to Improve Speaking Skills.” The articles were published on Sept. 5, 2008 and Oct. 15, 2008, respectively.

Interning in a professional environment gave me a clear idea not only about the rewards and challenges of the journalism field, but also about the energy and the dedication needed to succeed in the profession. Consequently, I realize that I need to further my education to be the best journalist I can be.

As an undergraduate student, I definitely had the motivation and the energy to continue my education. I understood that being a full-time graduate student was like working a full-time job. Therefore, I was ready to invest all my heart and my intellect into my studies because the success of my professional life depended on my level of commitment.

Baylor University appeared to me as the best place  to fulfill my goal because of its outstanding journalism program and its wonderful location. While visiting the website, I was pleased to read that students enrolled in the Master of International Journalism are required to complete an international internship.

 Fluent in French, I have to doubt that this internship will be an opportunity for me to work in France or in a francophone country in Africa. As I was also planning to learn Spanish as a third language, there was also a possibility for me to work in Spain or South America. I had no doubt that getting my master in International Journalism would offer me hands-on experience. This would be helpful in my journalistic career.

I knew that both enthusiastic spirit and my passion for journalism would make me a good fit for the diverse and very dynamic student body of Baylor University.

When I finally accepted to become a Baylor journalism graduate student, my long-term goals were not only to learn well the craft of being a journalist but also to be a voice for the people of Africa, to let the world know the truth about Africa.

I was enthusiastic about your Master of International Journalism because it offers the right training and exposure I need to achieve my goals. I felt confident that my academic and practical background ould allowed me to excel in the program.

Over the years, my beliefs regarding journalism grew stronger. I am convinced more than ever that Africa deserves a better international media coverage.

To Be Continued

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