As I look back on my life, I realize I was born to communicate. From very early on in life, talking and conversing, even if it was with doll babies, was something I always did. So much so that when I chose to study Drama at the then University of Ife in 1979, my civil servant dad had no reservations. I remember telling him I wanted to work in advertising. Once I graduated with a specialization in film and TV production, it was he who inked me up with a friend that hired me as a youth corp member, in NTA Sokoto. So began my foray into the media space in Nigeria.I spent the next fifteen years in the service of, first, Bendel state as a teacher, then a newscaster; before marriage, and a Masters in Language Arts brought me to Lagos, into the news service of the National Television Authority. Retirement from there in 1998 birthed, Todays woman on TV, which went into print in 2007.
TW is 10 years, looking back, what are you grateful for?
Life. Love and Laughter! That I can breathe and am in good health, I never take for granted, and also that I have a family, blood and acquired, that appreciates me, is pure joy. Especially the acquired ones, because they don’t have to, but love you anyway for what you bring to their lives: fans, readers and friends that I have gained access to on the job. Knowing that my work impacts them positively is the adrenalin that pushes me forward.
What are you looking forward to? What should readers expect going forward?
I am a communicating ‘animal’, and women remain my primary focus. One right ‘correct’ woman within a household, whether as wife, sister, daughter or mother, means one great family, and multiple families make up communities and nations. This is why I think women are important. Don’t mess with a woman. For Seven years, I communicated on television, then the next 10 years were spent in print; beginning now however, we shall do most of it on digital space, via personal and TW social media platforms, the digital edition of TW magazine and the rebranded Today’s Woman on TV, via ‘TW conversations’. There are interesting times ahead!
What are the challenges in production and how have you sustained continuity?
At first, ownership of media space/channel made continuation of Today’s Woman on TV challenging, hence the foray into print where factors of production are more in my control. On that space however, other challenges mitigated against sustainable growth, distribution being the key. Fortunately, technology has solved that because distribution in digital space is better and; since that’s where the world is now, I know our readers and more are there too. They can easily access our content, wherever and whenever, reducing the need to print. We shall keep the production of limited editions going, but the monthly dose of glamorous lifestyle inspiration will be strictly digital. That we can change with the times is what makes re invention easy, and challenges surmountable.
Are women celebrated enough?
I would say they are celebrated more now than 20 years ago when I started an exclusive focus on women achievers, on the TV show. Today, there are many great shows and publications, yours inclusive, which celebrates women. If anything, I am worried that the positive effects of that has created some negative side effects; high achieving women who have to contend with men who aren’t. It appears that we may have to start working on the men now. At least to know how to deal with the much more highly driven women we have today.
What are the things TW is involved in to encourage women empowerment?
Information is power! TW inspires to empower. We were the first locally produced magazine to cover all aspects of life, the body, mind and soul. Our content from the get go, has always included wellness, mind and spiritual matters, beauty, food and travel. Cap that with an inspiring cover story, and any woman reading our content, will believe the world is her oyster! And that we have done, going by the testimonies we receive.
Besides, TW always supports NGOs and other agencies that push for women’s advancements, even as we gear towards our Today’s Woman Foundation, (TWF) that is in the works.
What inspires your choice of cover personalities?
Their story! We decide on a slant and look for a personality to fit it. If the person is a celebrity fine, but if not, we have grown to a point where people trust that if someone is on the cover, there is a real story there, different from anything else; even if she or he has been on other covers. Notice the ‘He’, because we have male covers on occasion, its all about giving Today’s Woman all sides of a story and life.
What anyone coming into your field must know
Be clear on why you do what you do. As communicators, we are taught to educate, entertain and inform with whatever content we share. A healthy balance of all these attributes work, but it’s the purpose for it that determines the slant. Is it for the good of those consuming your content or your own good? As a way of explanation, if making money or gaining popularity is your aim, one can only imagine how your stories will emerge, if you know what I mean. While survival is important, we have to always remember that our primary role is to serve people content that can improve their lives, and we will get paid in the process.
Aim to make the world a better place than you met it. Since we spend the better part of our life working, we should seek to make positive impact through what we do.