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What do you know about spending almost a decade at a company? Why do people who stay on for so long do so? Loyalty? Love for the job? Complacency or not?
Associate Senior Content Editor at Legit.ng, Jerrywright Ukwu tells it all in a short conversation as he celebrates eight years at Legit.ng.
In this interview, Jerrywright talks about working at Legit.ng for 8 years, his journey so far and how he won’t trade his job at Legit.ng for anything else. He also touches on the importance of neutrality and objectivity while doing his job as a political correspondent.
1. Who are you, and what is your background?
My full name is Jerrywright Osondu Ukwu. I have an HND in Mass Communication from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism and a PGD in Public Relations and Advertising from the International Institute of Journalism. I am currently in school for another PGD in Election and Party Politics from the Nigerian Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, an institution affiliated to the University of Benin.
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2. How did you come to be at Legit.ng?
I saw a post on Nairaland Forum about a news website looking for a Content Writer, I applied for the position via email, got an invite for an interview and I passed all the various tests - both written and oral.
3. What do you do at Legit.ng?
I currently work as a Senior Content Editor in the Politics and Current Affairs department. I am also the Team Lead for the Abuja office. My role gives me a front-view in Nigeria's ever-evolving political terrain and I get to interact with the major political actors almost on a daily basis.
4. Describe how you felt the first day you walked into the Legit.ng office to be a part of the team
I was a bit skeptical as Legit.ng (then Naij.com) was still new in the media industry then. But, amidst the anxiety or uncertainty, I also felt a bit of excitement at the prospect of being a part of Legit.ng, a news media that I greatly admired and I looked forward to the many quality stories I could bring to the audience as was the mission of the organization. Looking back now, it's safe to say I made the right decision.
5. What has the journey been like so far?
I would say that the journey so far has been awesome and I honestly won’t trade it for anything else. I have had the opportunity to work with diverse talents and personalities in my journey with Legit.ng. I have appreciated writing even better and the experience on the job has built me into a journalist par excellence.
6. What has it been like working within your news desk till date? Have you always been in the Political and Current Affairs department?
Over the years, I have worked across various desks and the experience has helped me with what I do currently as I have a fair knowledge of how other departments work. It's been a learning curve for me but working within my news desk has even built my knowledge repository far beyond the normal.
7. As we gear up for the upcoming elections, how important is your role as a political and current affairs editor?
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My role is very important ahead of the elections. Due to my constant interactions with political actors and their media aides, I am expected to stick to media logic of social responsibility, ethics and values to tame the aggressive encroachment of Nigerian politicians to the media space during the electioneering period. What this simply means is that myself and my colleagues on the desk must remain objective and neutral in our reportage before, during and after the elections.
8. What achievements of yours since you joined the team can you share with us?
Too numerous to mention. I have been nominated for a journalism masterclass, attended several media roundtable sessions, participated in enlightenment workshops both in Nigeria and outside the country. But the most recent one is that I was nominated as a delegate to be part of a citizen-led observation initiative to monitor sub-national elections.
9. What inspires your content direction?
In this era of misinformation and fake news, my content direction and indeed, my priority as a Senior Content Editor is to ensure that whatever I put out there for the Nigerian public to read is 100 percent correct. I am mindful of the fact that I have a social contract with Legit.ng readers to ensure that whatever content I churn out is the unbiased truth.
10. What makes your desk or news beat important to the overall mission of Legit.ng?
Legit.ng is 'Leading The Way' in how responsible online journalism should be practiced in modern times and the Politics and Current Affairs desk is at the forefront of this mission to be a guide that leads the way through news. We do not have any political leaning nor are we loyal to any political party. We also ensure that the news we report are true, verifiable and they are quality information. Legit.ng's primary goal has always been to protect the audience from fake news and our desk is adhering strictly to this mission.
11. What makes Legit.ng news important to the Nigerian/African media landscape?
Nigeria, and indeed Africa, needs its media industry to become more disciplined, principled and tech-driven. This is one area Legit.ng has been truly leading the way. We are setting the standard and changing the narrative of how the media should operate in our country and continent through our content strategy, tech features, use of social media and specialized roles for team members.
12. As a digital media platform, how do you leverage new digital technology to aid your work and give the best output?
We apply cutting-edge technology to create newsfeed based on people’s preferences and to improve the site speed. We also analyze our content in real time to make data-driven decisions regarding top news based on preferences of our audience. We use data-driven tools for real-time content analysis, track viral content and industry trends and that is why we are very active on major social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tiktok and Telegram.
13. Beyond all that you have expressed as your reasons for staying on at Legit.ng, what has made you stay for this long?
Other than many other good reasons stated, great team spirit, flexibility of the job, decent salary and the perks that comes with the job, has made it quite easy to stay for so long. I mean we only change jobs when our expectations are being met in terms of career growth, remuneration and culture, and till date Legit.ng has done great in meeting all my expectations.
14. What advice do you have to young and rising journalists on loving their jobs and being passionate about delivering quality news to Nigerians?
Dear budding journalist, although passion is really the first ingredient to succeed in this chosen career field, it is important to also do the following: Read widely, develop research skills, be in the know and stay ahead with new tools for self-development.
Previously on our Spotlight, Legit.ng HIS Desk highflyer, Kumashe Yaakugh speaks on redefining fashion reportage. She also shared her thoughts on pretentious reading habits from a lot of Nigerians who had rather push entertainment to the back of the room. Read up here.
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