Chioma Ezenwafor: Work twice as hard and earn your place
Chioma Ezenwafor is a Broadcast Journalist. She currently works as a News Editor /Correspondent for a foremost, news and talk radio station, Nigeria Info FM alongside music and entertainment stations, Coolfm and Wazobia FM. She has been in the media industry for a decade. There, she dabbled into program presentation and sportscasting before her current career path.
She wears many caps. She writes articles for an online media platform. She is a media consultant and trainer who has contributed to the success of key media projects and events like The Grind Reality TV Show, amongst others.
Chioma Ezenwafor is a beautiful wife and mother to three lovely kids. Omote Ro Dhe had a nice time chatting with her. She took us down memory lane how she started off her career in the media industry. She also talked about the challenges she overcame, her life's philosophy and more.
Read excerpts below:
*Where did your love for broadcast journalism come ?
Growing up, playing outside as teens and kids were not allowed for our own safety. In fact to further discourage it, my Dad bought a coloured TV to add to the black and white one we already had. He later connected to cable TV at the time. This pretty much ensured we stayed glued to our screens once we returned from school because then, the local stations resume 4p.m after the morning show. So I watched CNN a lot apart from the regular movies and cartoons. Then my daddy will make me watch the 9p.m national news too. At first, it was boring but later, my interest grew.
*How has been your experience as a media personality?
It's been a great experience. As a media personnel, people look up to you for information and the likes. This ensures I read to know at least something about everything. So , being a Media person has made me so knowledgeable about a lot including a better understanding of how our society is structured. When and where to go to for whatever reason. It’s been truly an exciting experience because everyday is a new experience. Never boring truly.
* What were some of the challenges you faced at the onset of your career? How have overcome so far?
As a newbie, I was always nervous and anxious about getting it right. I have this perfectionism thingy. I started out in a campus radio. We pioneered it so we didn’t have mentors. I personally desired mentorship and guidance but found none. The Internet had not yet become a culture as much as it is now so I struggled. But it made me decide to look out for the best and understudy them. By the time I graduated, I was ready to face the media industry head-on. Done that ever since. In fact, my struggles made me decide to set up an online platform where I share knowledge and offer mentorship to aspiring media professionals. It's been successful
*The media industry is quite competitive. What would you attribute to your staying relevant?
I told you earlier, every day is a new experience. I wake up with that mindset. I’m fully aware and conscious of the ever-evolving nature of my industry so I evolve with it. I don't write the same way either do I source for news same way I did it last year. As the industry changes, I keep adjusting and readjusting. I have the index for tracking changes in my industry. That's why, apart from the grace of God, I am always present when significant changes happen like an audio-visual radio station. I prepared for multimedia journalism before radio stations became audio-visual. I am even more prepared for the next ’disruption’.
*What noticeable growth have you seen in the media industry and how can this be better?
One key growth is the convergence of new media and traditional media. More traditional media platforms have come online and their content can be seen on the internet tackling the transient side of some of them like radio and TV. While this is a good move, it's important that the traditional media tailor their content to suit the global audience. They should realize their audience is now beyond the locality where they are situated. Accomodating the global audience will ensure steady growth of the media industry.
*Can you share your philosophy about life?
There is always room for self-improvement. It's the biggest room in the world.
*How would you describe your personal style? What is that fashion item you love to splurge on?
Every personal style communicates. So mine is confidence, feminine and excellence. Whenever I dress, that's what I aim to tell the world, that Chioma is a strong woman who loves excellence. I prefer to do this with fitted corporate jumpsuits and kimonos.
*Who are some of the people who inspired you over the years?
Oprah Winfrey, Augusta Maduegbunam, Funmi Iyanda, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, these three had programs on NTA then. Their work was so inspiring.
*With your achievements, what has been the major highlights of your career as a media personality?
One of the highlights of my career was when I became the Head ofNews of Nigeria Info, Wazobia and Cool FM. Then, when I won the Media Awards, News Editor category. Another highlight was being nominated alongside Kiki Mordi of the BBC for the Journalism category. She won it, yes but that I was even nominated, was a big deal for me. Another highlight was getting a grant from the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism for a media project. I delivered too. Then being a grantee for a media project for an NGO, PIND and many more silent wins.
* Are you working on any project presently?
Yes, it's too early to share. Keep your fingers crossed.
*What advice do you have for young ladies looking up to you in the media industry?
Work twice as hard and earn your place. Don't expect it to be handed you on a platter just because you have a pretty face or speak/write so well. There are so many talents these days. Choose your battles.