The thorough coverage of political elections for every media house is very hectic, laborious, highly demanding, somewhat exciting and even tension filled. More so, is the coverage of elections for the first time, in the fledgling career of a broadcast journalism intern, as elections are said to be the “world cup” of the journalism profession.
This year’s December 7th general election met me as not just an observer but, this time as an intern at the prestigious Media General, proprietors of TV3, 3FM, Onua FM, Onua TV and its affiliates like Akoma FM in Kumasi and Connect FM in Takoradi. It was an exciting and a great learning experience in the budding career of a broadcast journalism intern in the newsroom of the famous TV3.
The whole buzz about the election started on the eve of December 7, when every media house in the country was deploying their troop of reporters and correspondents to the 275 constituencies around the country for the coverage of the polls. Especially the media houses in Accra, where the real action is, concerning the Electoral Commission (EC), the legally mandated institution to oversee the electioneering process and the declaration of the results after voting.
On December 6 2020, the eve of the general elections, exactly a week after I started my internship in the vibrant newsroom of TV3, filled with intelligent and young professional writers milling out news by the minute, round the clock. The atmosphere in the newsroom was very busy and excited with reports pouring in from all the nooks and crannies of Ghana and writers churning them out into good news stories and copy-tasting them for online consumption.
The decision day finally dawned on December 7, and the newsroom was filled with buzz and activity with a flood of news filing in from all parts of the country, while experienced writers penned them into good and accurate news stories without sensationalism and embellishments. Senior colleagues in the 3newsroom worked exceptionally hard to churn out good news copies of the highest professional and ethical standards to consumers on all the station’s media outlets and portals.
Being in the 3newsroom at this point in my life, during the 2020 general election, in the engine room of the vehicle that drives public opinion, not just in Ghana but all around the world, the power of the media on the influence of public opinion is more pronounced, even in the just ended U.S election in November. I have learned a lot under great and intelligent senior colleagues in this department on electioneering reportage that will go a long way in growing my career in hardline journalism.
This professional experience and orientation in election coverage within the newsroom this time, has exposed me to the real and emphatic power of the media on democracy and multi-party politics in general. The media, and the important role they play in informing and educating the general public has made the public more aware and discerning in matters of politics and their civil duties which was especially apparent in this year’s general election.
The impact of the media on the Ghanaian voter is gradually making him/her very circumspect and discerning because of the strong and pivotal role the media, in all its forms, including the now ubiquitous social media outlets play in the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian citizen. I have been exposed to the true power of the media as the “Fourth Estate Of The Realm” in this manner.
Even though this watchdog role has been downplayed and rubbed in the dirt by the unethical practices of some media houses in the past and present, that I once thought their “Fourth Estate Of The Realm” tag has been hackneyed enough to bleak. But being in the engine room behind public opinion this time, I have realized how powerful the media is, in holding the other arms of government/realm responsible and in check by letting the public know what is going on without bias, in order to make their own minds and opinions on topical issues that affect them the most.
This watchdog role was manifest during the day and night of the election on December 7, especially in the 3newsroom where we worked laboriously round the clock to produce credible and accurate news without bias and prejudice to the numerous consumers of the tv3 media house and its affiliates. The team of professional writers in the newsroom sacrificed sleep for quality service without reneging on accuracy and credibility for speed, with all the challenges through the night and days after the election before the result declaration.
I have learned a lot within this hallowed professional space, at such an important occasion as the 2020 general election. I have learned a lot under great senior colleagues in a very competitive environment within a very competitive media house as TV3 and the entire Media General conglomerate. Such a great time to start a fledgling media career, I can’t wait for another election to be more instrumental in its coverage and reportage!
By Barima Kwabena Yeboah|3news.com|Ghana, an intern at the prestigious Media General.