Omawumi is all the rave at the moment. Everyone has an opinion as to the interview where she walked out on her interviewer for asking uncomfortable questions.
We love Omawumi (I mean, who doesn’t), but this incident raises an opportunity to share with celebrities the 9 ways that they sorely misunderstand the people whose job it is to tell their stories
1. We are not your PR
It is the work of your Public Relations agent to make you look good. News flash: that’s not my job description. My job is to report what needs to be reported. Sure, there are many hacks who have blurred the lines and spend time hanging around you begging for pennies.
Well you don’t see us claiming that every musician is as wack as Tony Tetuila do we? Every profession has quacks. Much of us aren’t. It’s not our job to make you look good. That’s yours. Ours is to tell the public whatever it is you are, and can be.
2. If we are there in good times, we will be there in bad times
If Tiwa releases a hot album called RED, you would notice we were all crowing about it. It’s simple: Tiwa is Nigeria’s biggest female music star not named Asa. You would also notice that when her husband ran mad on the road, naked, we had to report it. Why? It’s simple: Tiwa is Nigeria’s biggest female music star not named Asa.
If you share your ‘hot new photos’ when you lose weight and we report, stop whining when you step onto the red carpet after 10kg and we report it. It’s not mean. It’s life.
In which case, stop praising us when we write good articles about you.
It is usually a trap. And we don’t like traps. When we see something good and we say it, don’t thank us for it. We did it not because we have any interest in your praise, we did it because that’s what has to be said.
Asa’s concert was incredible. Has nothing to do with the fact that we all love her. If it was bad, we woulda said it. If she got upset about it, well tough luck.
3. ‘Support us’ is not a request I can heed
If you do a movie like Half of a Yellow Sun, and you totally destroy the beauty of the book, don’t expect us to support it simply ‘to support our own’. When last did you buy a newspaper to ‘support our own’. Stop eet! We are here to do a job.
If your shit is good, we tell it like it is. If it’s bad, it doesn’t matter if it was manufactured with ofe onugbu from the deepest part of the Anambra river, we will call it.
4. We are not wicked because we published what you said we shouldn’t
I hear people say this a lot about Linda Ikeji and it truly worries me. Listen, you might say your father is not a thief, but if the EFCC says he is, then we have to report it. Stop saying we are wicked simply because we publish something that saddens you, embarrasses you or makes you uncomfortable.
5. It’s fair game to bring up rumours
Not everybody is an investigative journalist. Some of us hate that job in fact. Some of us are features writers, some of us are gossip journalists, some of us deal in opinion. Every field has its own requirements. If you go on an entertainment show, stop expecting the reporter to be Christiane Amanpour.
I don’t see you asking Ryan Seacrest to publish the Panama Papers. If there is a rumour, and people are talking about it, we reserve the right to ask you.
6. If it’s not true, just say so
If something is a lie, what’s the problem? Say it. Seriously. Stop twisting and turning and issuing press releases to announce your age.
Stop lying and expecting me to make it easy for you to get away with your lie. I don’t know if you smoke or drink, and if my reader wants to know and I ask, why are you so mad?
Say it isn’t, put on a smile, move on. The more you dramatise it, the worse it gets. Unless of course that was your entire plan all along. In which case, welcome to the field of play.
7. All of us don’t sit together to hate on you
I keep hearing people say ‘these journalists hate me’. Excuse me please. If you want to insult me, say it to my face.
There is no place where all journalists go and meet to hate on anyone. If you’re hated upon, check yourself. Did you try to deceive your baby mama and fly her baby to Dubai without permission?
Did your landlord pursue you from the house for not paying house rent? That’s not my fault. Go and deal with your problem please. If we see news, we will report. If all of us see it at the same time, we will report it. It doesn’t mean we have agreed to hate on you. It means you are news. Period.
8. Seriously, we have a job to do
It is the job of the journalist to stand in the gap for the reader or the listener or the viewer. We are supposed to ask questions they want to ask, find answers they need to have, and provide context that akes the world go round. It’s a job.
You might not like what comes out of it, but you have to start respecting it dammit!
Written by Chi Ibe