Nigerian journalist learns from "Lizzy"
“Watching my documentary 'Lizzy' after several hours of editing was one of the greatest moments in my career as a journalist. I believe a new door has been opened for me,” Richard Ihediwa, of Abuja, Nigeria, said at the conclusion of the 2011 Africa Film Project, sponsored by The Media Project.
Ihediwa has ten years experience in mainstream journalism working in leading Nigerian national dailies, and he currently covers the Nigeria Senate in his role as Senior Reporter for the Peoples Daily. Ihediwa is also the Secretary General of the West African Parliamentary Press Corps (WAPPC) and Secretary of the Nigerian Senate Press Corps.
Those years of experience reporting on and analyzing politics prompted Richard look for new challenges. He discovered The Media Project during a one-day seminar in Abuja in November 2010 discussing the book Blind Spot. It was then he first heard about the film workshop and decided to apply for admission.
“The training by the Media Project was very rewarding," Richard said.
"It has greatly impacted me with multi media techniques that I probably would not have the opportunity of getting in my country," Richard commented, even though he was already working with multi-media journalism even before he took TMP's film training.
“For a journalist from the print background, the training has opened great doors for me. Taught by very inspiring instructors, I have learned the techniques of shooting, editing, and narrative storytelling skills with visuals, as well as the use of current equipment in the industry.”
TMP: During the workshop you recorded and edited a short documentary. What was your impression of the experience?
Richard: The recording and editing of my first documentary was exciting to me. Coming from the print background with no skills and training in audiovisual journalism, going out on the field to shoot was challenging! Editing for several hours was daunting.
TMP: We know that journalism is a key way of getting important issues to the front burner for positive changes. So, what ideas do you have for follow-up documentaries in the coming year?
Richard: Issues with political implications are poorly covered by the media in Nigeria. I intend to go back to my country with the skills and the equipment from The Media Project to begin capturing exciting stories about people and key issues.
I want to do a story on the challenges of the disabled in Nigeria, where the government and society continuously look the other way while a large number of citizens live in pain and bitterness. I want to convince government and society to look their way and to change policies.