LA: I am the Editor of This Is Africa, a title from the Financial Times. We cover Africa in a global context, with a broad focus on business, development and policy.
BFP: What is the best part about your job/project?
LA: While our focus is Africa, we approach it with a global mindset. This means connecting the dots of how global trends are shaping realities on the ground, and how trends in Africa are and will impact the globe. The continent finds itself in a unique position to fundamentally redefine its global role in the 21st century, and understanding the drivers behind this is fascinating.
BFP: What has been your greatest challenge?
LA: The media industry is in the midst of the most profound disruption it has ever seen. The digital revolution is challenging almost every aspect of the business with no easy or apparent answers. Managing the transition from a print culture towards a digitally driven business has not just been my greatest personal challenge, but for the industry as a whole.
BFP: How have you overcome these challenges? / What has been the secret of your success? / What advice can you give others ?
LA: We’re not there yet, but resilience and perseverance are key. Do not get demoralized when things do not work, and learn from mistakes!
BFP: If someone wants to do what you do – where do they start?
LA: Get as much experience as possible. Sadly, the (unpaid) internship is still the most viable route into the industry.
This was the route I took. Beyond this, my suggestions are:
- Get out there: There are many free events that present strong networking opportunities for anyone trying to get into journalism.
- Apply yourself: Journalism thrives on ideas and self-starters. Don’t wait to be told what to do; come up with your own ideas and do not be afraid to put them forward. Do not take it personal if they are rejected, being resilient is an important part of learning the dynamics of the industry. It is almost inevitable that you will hear a lot of “no” at the beginning of your career.
- Don’t be shy: The old saying “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” will serve you well in journalism. It is not an industry that rewards shyness. Get out there and ask!
BFP: Finally, What do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?
LA: Few things are more important in life than learning, and through engagement with the community I hope to build on my knowledge and experience.
Thank you to LanreAkinola for taking the time to do this interview.
Read previous Member of the Week interviews here.