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In conversation with Ayanda Nyathi

We go behind the scenes with your favourite anchors and reporters.
In conversation with Ayanda Nyathi

1. What led you to a career in news?

Firstly, it was never really my intention to be in news. I was an Economics & Media Studies student at the University of Cape Town when we were given an assignment in one of my courses to put together a radio-documentary. The project was not great, but I recall the lecturer saying, I should seriously consider broadcasting - radio more specifically. It was only from then that I started really entertaining the idea. Through this lecturer's help, I was connected to people at a Talk radio station in Cape Town where I got a shot at producing a current affairs show for the first time. I think that is where the journalism bug bit, and the rest was history.

2. What excites you most about Newzroom Afrika and where the channel is going?

Newzroom Afrika has been so deliberate with taking a chance on young black people, and it is honestly such a beautiful thing to witness. We work in an environment where fresh ideas and new perspectives are guided by those who are more experienced among us.

3. What have been your personal career highlights so far?

It must be when we learned that former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe had passed on, and I was still on air. Not only was this completely historic (an indisputable end of an era), but I saw a great effort from the team. They hurriedly turned the story around and brought it to our audience with the balance and credibility it needed. It was amazing to watch the so called “broadcasting machine” work.

4. If you could have dinner with five famous people from any period in history, who would they be?

Wow, Jesus Himself, Princess Diana, Anne Frank, Kofi Annan, and Frank Ocean. It would be great to have them around the same table and watch how they interact.

5. How do you feel about the regulation of social media and its effects on journalism?

This is a cliche, but it really has been both a curse and a blessing. But I think the overwhelming sentiment should be that the increased democratisation it has brought to information dissemination is a great plus for societies the world over. You do not have to be important to make news. And no-one ultimately has a monopoly over the space. That must be celebrated.

6. How do you manage the dynamics of breaking news day after day?

If anything, I have learned that it is the most basic and simple questions that get the most out of a breaking news story. And for me, it is about slowing down and taking things in bite-sizes as the details trickle in. With the right team, breaking news days can be the best days on the desk.

In conversation with Ayanda Nyathi
20 Dec 2021 17:04

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