Interview With a Veteran

Tamani Yusuf is a communication consultant, veteran broadcaster, a renowned compere, a trainer, a role model, and a producer of radio and television programmes. She was the first female Managing Director of Kaduna State Media Corporation which she headed for 3 years, before retiring in 2015 after working for 35 meritorious years. She is also currently the Radio Consultant for Salama Radio Kafanchan.

With her very versatile background, and her passion for children, she also produces educational broadcast material for children, some of which are being aired on NTI Teachers Radio, and also mentors the youth.  Tamani Yusuf is currently President of Providence Toastmasters Club, Kaduna, a non-profit educational organization which teaches its members public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs.

At the home front, Tamani enjoys coaching others on the art of public speaking and confidence building. She also enjoys sharing her expertise with younger media practitioners in different areas of broadcast journalism.

Tamani Yusuf’s passion has always been in the area of health communication and has remained a strong advocate on Child Survival and  Safe Motherhood programmes, with particular interest in the Polio, Malnutrition , and HIV campaign. She is currently the National Deputy Coordinator Journalists Alliance for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/ AIDS in Nigeria (JAPiN).

Tamani Yusuf is a 1979 graduate of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. She is a Hubert Humphrey Alumni from the School of Journalism Missouri, Columbia, (2002- 2003).She also has a Masters Degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (2005).  Today Tamani stands out as one of the leading veteran broadcasters in Northern Nigeria who has a deep reservoir of knowledge.

What are your experiences in journalism?

I have had a very exciting experience as a broadcast journalist over the years.

My career in broadcasting started 38 years ago when I graduated from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in 1979, and was posted to Rivers State for my NYSC. I was posted to Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation Port Harcourt. Within a few weeks of my exposure to radio as a producer, and the magical world of broadcasting, I just fell in love with broadcasting and knew that this was going to be my career path for life.

On my return to Kaduna in 1980, I was employed by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Kaduna, where I had the privilege to be trained by Khalifa Baba Ahmed, Yusuf Ladan and Hassan Suleiman.

I worked diligently through the years and earned myself the award of the most outstanding Staff in FRCN in 1982. During my 11 years stay with FRCN, I was in the public enlightenment unit and produced various programmes like People and Events, Documentaries, Features and Health programmes. I had a great experience in broadcasting criss-crossing the states in the north for one programme or the other, and meeting a wide variety of people.

At that time there weren’t too many women in the field, so being a member of the Nigerian Association of Media Women (NAMW) and the Nigerian Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ) was useful. Being women, we saw ourselves as change agents in a society where women were generally at a disadvantage

In 1991, I joined the services of Kaduna State Media Corporation as Manager Programmes of the Radio Service and it was a whole range of exciting, experiences, with new colleagues, new goals and expectations. Through the years I was promoted to head the News and Programmes Departments.

In 2008, I was appointed the Executive Director Kaduna State Television to head the operations of Kaduna State Television and Capital Television, and this was another very exciting phase of my career.

I was able to get to the peak of my career when, on the 23 of January 2012  His Excellency Late Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, CON, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State confirmed my appointment as Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer  of Kaduna State Media Corporation.

All in all, though my career in broadcasting has been rough and the road has been tough, it has been most fulfilling. I thank God for the way He has always been with me through each of my experiences and challenges.

Have you ever done any job that has made you regret being a journalist?

No, I have never at any point done any story or whatever which made me regret being a broadcast journalist. I enjoyed my career and job passionately and always tried to excel in which ever assignments I was given.

As a journalist how do you verify a rumor?

When following up on a rumor, you need to sniff around doing your background research to get the details of the story you are following. Then look for credible sources to interview to get your facts right, ensuring that by the time your report or story is ready, you have compelling evidence that is balanced, factual and objective.

How will your background in journalism influence other work you do?

Broadcasting has taught me the importance of time management and punctuality. Since every second is important in broadcasting, I have learnt to always manage my time well. While other professionals might operate with African time if they want to, as a broadcaster, I have been trained to keep to time. The news broadcast for instance, cannot be delayed just because the news reader failed to turn up in the studio. With this background, I always get to my appointments at least 15 minutes to the time. I believe being late to an event or an appointment, is being disrespectful.

How do you generate your story ideas?

There are so many sources to generate story ideas for news day to day. Happenings in our different communities of events good or bad as they unfold, topical issues of discussions, conversations with friends,  the airwaves, internet, newspapers, police, press releases, hospitals, accidents, schools and anywhere anything newsworthy is happening with celebrities or public figures. As a journalist, you must have an ear for news and keep sniffing it out, to ensure you keep your audience well informed.

What is your advice to upcoming journalists?

For those who would want to be broadcast journalist, it is important for them to know that it is not a profession for those who are lazy.  At times one might be on an assignment which could involve you virtually working for 24 hours at a stretch and your boss expects you the following day to be strong and alert for any further assignment. One needs to be knowledgeable about virtually everything, thus you must read widely and keep abreast with current events, most especially when you have interviews to conduct with public figures you need to do your research properly before the interview, to be able to give probing questions. One needs to be an all round professional, fluent in whichever language you will be reporting in, with a rich variety of words to use. If one is reporting in English, you need to make sure that you pronounce and articulate your words properly. Good diction is a must for those who want to make a career in broadcasting, so it is important for aspiring broadcast journalist to practice speaking correctly all the time. It’s important for one to be passionate about ones career as a journalist and strive for excellence in service in order to stand out from the crowd in this era of stiff competition. If one chooses this career path, if you have the tenacity, you’ll find it exciting, challenging and worthwhile.


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