We caught up with STV’s One-Time Anchor Lady Jessie BAWAK who exclusively tells us what she is doing and her future plans for Cameroon’s Media Outfit. ‘You will Never Know you have a Winning Hand, until you put your cards on the table.
1 – We have been looking for Jessie BAWAK everywhere to no avail and we were wondering if she disappeared into thin air. Why didn’t you bid us goodbye Jessie?
Jessie BAWAK: First I would like to say I am humbled by the fact that I meant that much to the viewers of STV and thank you for giving me this opportunity to apologize for leaving. I must also say that during my last News Presentation on STV , I bade good bye and thanked the media outfit for lending me the platform to serve. I actually resigned from the company because I felt this urgent need to be better. That is why I decided to seat in the classroom.
2 – After 6 years of illustrious effort at the private TV House STV 2, what becomes of Jessie commonly called CNN and BBC by hosts of fans?
Jessie BAWAK: This is funny, CNN or BBC? Just how did you guys know? I love those two stations and my dream will come true when I will seat on Christiane Amanpours’s chair on CNN, digging into politics and confronting heads of state and government officials or working with Fareed Zakaria on his programme GPS on CNN. I have learnt that there is nothing easy about making your dreams come true. Anything worth doing is going to be hard. If you do not put your cards on the table, you will never know if you have a winning hand. I am in the US looking forward to do a Masters in Journalism. Presently I am enrolled at Southern University at New Orleans reading a Master in Information Systems for the Spring. Next Fall, I will begin the Journalism Programme.
3 – Do you intend to continue with your career in Journalism, or do you have any plans of changing your call?
Jessie BAWAK: Not at all. Journalism is my first love, I love journalism and I am extremely passionate about it. It makes me happy, it brings out the best in me. That is why it is imperative that I study hard, pray hard and work hard to be the best I can and be professionally fulfilled.
4 – A Hard Nut to crack, some call you, what becomes of the most watched ‘Straight Talk’ show? Have you gone with it?
Jessie BAWAk: A hard nut to crack probably because of the kind of confrontation I had with my guests. I remember most of my guests on Straight Talk were men and sensitive political and economic issues were on the menu. Getting through them was not easy, a little intimidation sometimes on backstage but it fell on the doves back. It was Straight talk but hard talk. Straight Talk cannot be dead, that is my little baby. The program helped in defining me and pointing me to the kind of journalism I shoes in. I still watch my DVD’s all the time and I still thirst for it. I am working on straight talk. Just give me a little time to put things in place.
5 – We have noticed in most of your pictures on FB that you dress only in White? What do we retain from the New Dressing Code?
Jessie BAWAK: I have always loved white. I have a white outfit in everything. It’s pure, it’s clean, it’s outstanding, it’s soft and It’s gentle.
6 – Out of Cameroon studying at Southern University at New Orleans how would you compare education in the US to that of our local schools?
Jessie BAWAK: Amy, I just started school. For now what I enjoy most about the Southern University at New Orleans is cultural diversity, the unity among African students and the attention erudite and cogent lecturers give to students. The University of Buea (UB) is a great learning institution which builds you up for educational challenges. Any graduate from UB can so willingly compete with any student around the world. The University of Buea “a place to be” molds you in that capacity.
7 – Professionalism is an issue of concern here because in Cameroon everybody is everything, except those who truly work and don’t belong to certain hideouts for networking and promotion, How would you rate the level of professionalism in Cameroon, and more especially in the field of Journalism?
Jessie BAWAK: Journalism in Cameroon experienced an explosion in the last 10years , an outburst because in little or no time just everybody wanted to have a media outfit regardless of their little knowledge on how it operates. It was in fashion during that era so we just had a flock of people drifting towards the media direction for selfish or the wrong reasons. That partly explains why there is chaos in the sector. At the same time the out pouring of the media houses came along with enormous advantages, talents was discovered in many graduates from the university who never went through a professional school and TV stations came up with wonderful programs which exposed a lot of local issues and created an appreciated level of awareness. Let us not forget the advantages of competition and its fallouts.This growth has not only stagnated in some media outfits but it is regressing because of poor management, not only affecting employees but also their output. The owners of the media know what has to be done to make things better but they don’t want to move towards that positive direction. That is why you find some journalists easily swayed by bribes, quitting their jobs and settling in other companies as PROs, communications officer or a position that has little to do with their former job experience or their one time passion. Something needs to be done for the profession to regain its steam and that will happen if the outfits redefine their purpose and if the government plays its role.
8 – Do you think the Journalism profession can one day regain its pride and nobility in Cameroon?
Jessie BAWAK: I will congratulate the daring efforts of those who are dwelling in the sector and surviving. Of course I believe that a time will come when we will move out of all these frustrations and experience the beauty of the profession. It will not be a perfect scenario but it will be a much better one and some media companies are striving towards that already. Its not easy managing the media but things will get a lot better. The beginning is always tough; we have to go through the pain to get the joy.
9 – One Last Word to encourage the blog administrator, blog readers and Cameroonians in despair?
Jessie BAWAK: Thumbs up to the managers of the blog and thank you for inviting me. To Cameroonians I will say that we will not be like this for ever. Despair will be over soon and that is what we should look forward to.