My government bursary for University would only take me to either, ‘faculty of elderly education’ or ‘mass media’ due to my secondary school scores.
But still, I couldn’t imagine another dead year in bed or what the hell ‘elderly education’ is all about.
I finally settled for a course in Mass Media because I had no choice; I expected to be the loser that investigates people’s fraud, deaths, failure, and then reports about all those negatives.
And at campus, I was not like any of those scholars who introduced themselves by their faculties, “Martin doing Civil Engineering,” or “Sumba, Law Development Centre.” I also turned down my first offer, the job to get news for a local radio.
Just like the writer, some people define journalism as “one of the worst” or “the worst” carreer a learned man can ever pursue. The fatigue, the controversies, the loose wallet; name it, journalists have the pits.
In fact it was hilarious when I learnt that some journalists wouldn’t give up their jobs for any eye-catching offer. Most of their reasons surround the mantra of ‘ambassadors of change.’ James Munyaneza is a veteran member of the press and the assistant chairperson of the Rwanda Journalists Association.
He describes the media as the “voice of the voiceless public” and a journalist as the “torch light to the political way.” He feels proud to be that bright shining light as it has earned him a positive face among his people.
“I love journalism because people believe in my word and the government believes in it too. It feels good to be the man helping your driver to notice potholes on his way and dodge them,” he says. “There is no better benefit in work than serving your people.”
Munyaneza could probably be right, with his reasons. However, several people are afraid of talking to a reporter for fear of appearing in the headlines.
TVR’s Eddie Nkurukenzire defends his position as a journalist and says that people view journalists as positive people.
“People look at us as mediators of the administration and the public. They don’t hate us but instead reach for our minds when troubled,” he said.
Nkurukenzire said that the irregularities in the media have recently been corrected. “People can now trust us with their word, unlike those days.”
Benefits are not only in political or investigative fields. Flash FM’s MC Tino, a showbiz journalist talks more about fame, when describing his carreer. “Everyone knows about Tino, I have fans all over and people love me for my music mix.”
The emcee boasts of sharing dinner with world class musicians like Sean Paul.
“Brick and Lace, Shaggy, Chameleon… know the emcee called Tino in Rwanda. This is my pride as one man who likes making connections,” MC Tino said.
When it comes to travelling, journalists get the best package. Opportunities are thrown at them east and west, and for some lucky ones, touring the world in search of news is guaranteed.
Of course, the salary scale also depends on the quality of the journalist and his media firm. Some of the richest civil servants are from the media, most of the presidents were journalists, for example; the Governor General of Canada, Jean Michaelle was a journalist.
With this I daily attend my Mass Communication lectures, and go to work without feeling cheated because I am a journalist.