Eyong Blaise is an international award winning and freelance journalist with over 5 years of experience in the television industry. He has produced top class features; documentary content for numerous international TV networks around the world which includes BBC, Al Jezeera, Deutsche Welle, Africa 24, BEIN Sports, the Washington Post and ITV. He has also written for CNN and the Guardian UK. He is currently a contract correspondent for Reuters. This position has enabled him to reach more than 1 billion people with his work when published and serving 1500 television channels globally.
In 2018, he was invited by Reuters news agency for the prestigious Reuters Hostile Environment Training. This has empowered him to report even in crises zones or war torn countries. In the same year he was commissioned to make a documentary film for WWF and also the International Fund for Agriculture Development IFAD a specialized agency for the United Nation. The 30 year old is a highly recognized in and out of Cameroon for the quality of his work. In October 2018 he was awarded Africa’s second best environmental reporter of the year.
On beats he has covered Blaise has been on the frontline reporting on the arm conflict in the minority English speaking regions in Cameroon in West Africa. This is a deadly conflict that is almost turning into a civil war in a once peaceful Africa nation. As a freelance journalist, he has been reporting on the crisis which has so far not received much attention from the international community. He has been consistant in the coverage of the conflict since 2016, when it all began as a protest till now with about 246,000 persons displaced and more than 400 civilians death. He was the first international journalist reporting on location where 79 school children were kidnapped in the Cameroonian city of Bamenda in November 2018. He also reported on the country’s presidential election covering the campaigns, voting day and post-election events. For the past two years he has reported on more than 150 stories which have all been aired on channels across the globe.
On his favorite and most challenging beats Blaise said ‘I don’t think there is a favorite story for me. Every story is unique and whenever I report on a story, I am proud that I was able to tell the story and bring it to the audience wherever they are. Therefore I see every piece I make as the favorite. I also cannot say that a particular story was challenging or easy to make. The reason is; every single story including just an interview is always a challenge to me, I consider every assignment as an opportunity to challenge myself to do something new and interesting, I always pressure myself to bring out the best for every story, as a result I consider every report challenging’. New stories are the most difficult, because you are following an event unfolding with time and sometimes everything is happening too fast, if you miss a particular interview or image there is no way of getting it back as compared to a feature where everything is scripted and there is time to do as you wish.
On his inspiration into journalism Blaise has this to say ‘I love story telling, therefore my desire to meet different people and tell their stories motivated me to do the work that I now do’. So far the journey has been good, because it has enabled me to reach people from places I have never been. When I tell a story and I notice that people from far and wide are watching, this makes me proud and I say to myself ‘I have fulfilled my mission for that particular story’. There is nothing as rewarding as take someone’s story to the world. Am inspired by the fact that I give voice to the voiceless people through my story.
On specific challenges he said ‘there are many challenges that come with being a journalist connected to popular television houses, first you must try to be the best for every assignment because your work must meet international standards. Secondly there are things I want to say but I cannot, because I have to protect an image and being impartial even if I am affected. Security is one of the challenges, as journalist working in developing countries where the government see journalist as enemies, this becomes very difficult to tell stories freely. ’what keeps me going is the assurance that I am doing what is right, if the media turns a blind eye to happenings in society and does not bring information to the public, the world will immediately perish. This has happened many times when the media does not report conflicts, corruption, abuse and anything else in the public interest. This is the motivation I have’.
Blaise advised upcoming journalist to understand that work comes before money and sometimes it will take many years of work without pay to get to a point where people will recommend you for a good position. They must be aware that you cannot decide to be just a text, video or photojournalist. Media executives are now looking for multimedia journalist with multiple skills. YouTube is a place that they can use in developing their skills and even learn something’s which were never taught in school.