She epitomizes resilience, hard work, and steadfastness in everything she does. After a successful career working for the international broadcaster BBC, she called it quits. So how exactly does the world of freelancing now work for her? Presshub Africa speaks to Dear Jeanne, a former BBC correspondent and now a Crimes and Security freelance journalist!
What’s your idea of a great day?
When I wake up and see a cheeky smile on my daughter, that is how I want my morning to start! It gets even better when I go out and accomplish my tasks in good time and get back home to put my child to bed.
A perfect breakfast for you?
A cup of millet porridge and “Rolex” (Classic Ugandan street food, egg omelet, and vegetables wrapped in chapati).
From mainstream into freelancing. How has the switch been for you?
It was scary and still is. I was not sure where to begin. The freelancing space is crowded, and finding a footing is challenging. However, I was lucky to be surrounded by great friends and mentors who encouraged me all the way! I survived the switch only because I had a side business that sustained me throughout the way! Freelancing is fantastic, but it takes time to build on it!
What lessons have you learned as a freelancer?
Right off the bat, build your networks. Secondly, have a side business to support you as you stabilize and get to know your way around. Most importantly, be patient, and let your work speak for you.
Let’s take it a little bit back. How did you end up a journalist?
It’s been a journey of some sort! Sometime during my last year of high school, I ran into the deputy news manager of a local TV-NBS TV. She thought I would make a good teen program presenter. She recruited me; however, things didn’t work out. She recommended I take some time in the newsroom and learn the craft. Months of watching and learning paid out, and I got the job. I worked for the station for two and a half years, moved on to the Daily Monitor newspaper, and later to Uganda Radio Network, a local news agency. Later, an opportunity showed up at the BBC Kampala Bureau, where I worked until November 2019, when I opted to start freelancing.
Do you believe in beat reporting?
Every journalist needs to find their niche, that beat they are passionate about, and can then be considered an authority. Mine is crime and security. It took me almost three years to figure it out, but once I did, I invested my all in learning the ropes. A good journalist must, however, be all-rounded before specialization.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your career?
Working with an international media organization. It meant so much the first time my story aired on BBC World Service Radio! It was a dream come true and part of what I had always wanted to achieve! I had a whale of time corresponding for BBC from Uganda!
What’s your assessment of media freedom in Uganda?
I think the international media hasn’t brought out an accurate picture of media freedom in Uganda. I have worked in Uganda for more than ten years in different capacities. I venture to say. I am yet to fall into “serious collisions” with state machinery as some think about this landscape. It is simple as a journalist; it’s your onus task to get facts right and report with impartiality!
The media space is expanding and improving in most African countries! It might not be so in some countries, but on the brighter side of things-we shall get there!
How was your childhood?
Growing up, I always saw myself as an engineer. Somehow, however, journalism happened!
I spent part of my early childhood in Nairobi and Kampala. I still fondly remember going out every Sunday after church with my parents, one of those moments to treasure forever!
What’s one skill you have always wanted to have but haven’t created time for?
Tailoring. Don’t be shocked. I love altering my clothes’ designs and have always wanted to learn how to do it without going to the tailor.
What is your favorite African city?
I love Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. You need to visit and see for yourself. Friendly people, lovely places, and excellent food!
A top journalist you admire?
Patience Atuhaire. She works with the BBC in Kampala. I have worked with her in the field and even sat next to her in the office. She is a great mentor!
Bebe Cool, Jose Chameleone, or Juliana Kanyomozi.
Jose Chameleon. An intelligent artist right there!
How do you want to be remembered?
I am a Rotarian, and our motto is service above self. I want to be remembered for the difference I made in someone’s life. It could be through journalism or through helping the underprivileged in any other capacity.
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