In the UK, the provincial press used to be the best training ground for journalism as you learn on the job and get to do everything, from court reporting to attending a pensioners’ tea party. I had the good fortune to start out that way more than 25 years ago on a busy north London title called the Camden Journal, where I did indeed ‘do everything’, including running the film page.
I then decided to spread my wings and headed for Nigeria, where I worked as a feature writer for Concord magazine, part of the Concord publishing group, covering mainly human interest stories. It was another great grounding and quite an adventure.
On my return to London I worked for West Africa magazine, now defunct but highly respected in its day, and a variety of other Africa specialist publications. Following a couple of years at the BBC World Service, I became the production editor of NewsAfrica magazine, as well as its occasional reporter at large. This saw me return to Africa for a number of assignments, including the troubled Niger Delta area of Nigeria.
For five years I was also editor of Black History 365, a magazine that sought to take black history out of its monthly slot. Oh, and I should mention that there have also been two children along the way, which is a job in itself.
I now work exclusively as a freelance journalist and editor with a huge range of interests. Take a look at my archive and you will see what I mean. Give me a blank piece of paper and I will fill it up with something that makes sense and is a reasonable read. But of course, my approach to the journalism is not that glib, but backed by experience and knowledge of how the world works, be it my local community or the Nigerian oil industry.
I also see my role as a recorder of events and people that might otherwise be forgotten by the mainstream, aided by my camera. I love images as much as I do words. Hopefully I have successfully merged the two to create something that truly engages and illuminates.