Eromo Egbejule is a journalist whose first degree is in Agricultural & Bioresources Engineering with a specialization in Structures & Environment. He has a couple of diplomas in communication and financial journalism, and has just started a Master’s in Communication, PR & Advertising.
CN: What were you doing prior to journalism?
CN: What are your primary responsibilities at work?
Write, write and write some more. That was it initially.
These days, I’m learning that photos and infographics help to supplement the story. It’s like eating just jollof rice with not enough “obstacles” or dodo to fundamentally give you more nutritional value and then increase the aesthetic appeal. On its own, jollof rice, like a story, can be brilliant and have the aroma to sweep you off your feet but you’ve got to push the envelop more.
So my primary responsibility is now to tell stories with every tool at my disposal and not just my words.
CN: What do you consider to be the best career decision you’ve ever made?
I’m torn between two decisions that seem like they contrast each other. One just slightly edges the other out so I’ll mention both. The decision to resign from my desk job in communications in July this year was very well-timed and has given me the freedom to do my work but just as important was the decision to take on that job sixteen months ago. Like I said, it seems like a contradiction especially in these days where it is trendy to launch out on your own and it’s a fad to be anti-establishment, but taking that job helped me make connections, friendships, develop a few other skills and learn how to adapt to various fields and to extreme pressure. It gave me the exposure that has made me a better professional; so I went in with a plan to come out and be a rock star and thank God everything has gone even better than I planned. I think young people need to realise that we need role models and a corporate culture to help stabilize us before we launch out on our own. There’s no harm in learning at the feet of others.
CN: What do you like most about your job?
The fact that I get to travel and read a lot. I like travelling and the accompanying rush of adrenalin and happiness that comes from learning new cultures and trying out a variety of new stuff – even more than I like writing. And that’s because sights and books influence my writing more than anything else.
CN: What do you like least about it?
For journalists and writers generally, freelancing can be annoying sometimes. You write for company A and send in your invoice with your entry but the accountant at that place is probably too busy on Facebook or Linda Ikeji to take your invoice out of that file on his/her desk or download to the computer to process. So your invoice gets to the account signatories a month after and then it takes 5 working days for it to hit your account. Imagine that five clients are doing that to you at the same time.
CN: What misconceptions about a journalism career would you like to correct?
Everyone expects you to be old or wear adire shirts. You show up to interview some bigwig and you get that: “Oh you’re younger than I thought. Are you really the one writing all these articles?”
You almost want to retort: “No sir, no ma. Methuselah is my ghost writer,” but you have premium home training and the gift of salvation in addition so you smile and politely say, “Yes oh. Everybody says so.”
Also, no one expects a young journalist to know about things that happened decades and centuries ago but that’s a matter for another day.
CN: What advice do you wish someone had given you as an undergraduate?
Don’t focus on your studies alone. Volunteer at the campus radio station, start a small business, learn a different skill, find random internships – but read at least one page of your school notes every day. Just strike a balance.
CN: Who are your role models?
This is tough because they keep changing but I admire a number of people. I’m a big fan of Jose Mourinho and his dedication to detail. There’s Ken Saro-Wiwa, Thomas Sankara and Steve Biko who stood and died for their principles but I wouldn’t exactly call them role models. Let’s just say I admire a lot of standout qualities in a lot of people.
CN: Which books have really made a difference in the way you think and live?
History books and fiction.