Ahmed Haruna Tswata is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Fortune World Magazine in Abuja. He speaks to TMG on how a childhood pastime became reality and he also shares what inspired a youth summit coming up soon in Mokwa, Niger state.
TMG> How did you become interested in Journalism?
Ahmed> My interest in Media started while I was in Nursery Class in NEPA Staff School, Jebba Niger State where I read the news in Nupe during our end of the year graduation ceremony.
At that period, I used to look for old newspapers to read, in fact, there were times that I would buy old newspapers from the street to read. This really prepared my mind to go into journalism.
TMG> How long have you been a Journalist?
Ahmed> Informally, I would say I have been a journalist since my years in primary school, (laughs). but I took it up professionally since 2007.
TMG> Did you go for any formal media training or school? And what is it like to be a journalist?
Ahmed> Yes, I studied Mass Communication. Being a journalist is a joy, as the fourth realm, one is saddled with a lot of responsibilities to get people informed about the happenings around them.
TMG> What do you like most about your practice?
Ahmed> What I like most about journalism is the respect that is accorded to the profession by the public; we are the eyes through which the public sees or hears the happenings around them. This gives me so much joy.
TMG> Is it difficult to be a journalist and how hard is it to reach out to your readers?
Ahmed> It is not really difficult to be a journalist if only you choose to be honest and stick to the ethics of the profession.
TMG> What makes someone successful in journalism?
Ahmed> A successful journalist is one who is proud of his profession, and sticks to the ethics of the profession
TMG> How would you evaluate your work and what kind of feedback were you receiving from your readers?
Ahmed> I have been able to command the respect of alot of people in my social handles, mostly on Facebook and Twitter. I do not engage in cheap popularity, my posts are very neutral and I don’t engage in any kind of negative story for popularity or monetary gains.
TMG> Tell us about your social media and Youth programs you also established as a social media influencer?
Ahmed> My stance on various social media platforms sts has been inspirational to a lot of people, most especially the youths. Majority of them look up to me as a motivating factor and they come for advice and encouragement.
TMG> Can you tell us how the idea to organize a Youths Summit came to be?
Ahmed> It is a summit that is being organized by my magazine (Fortune World Magazine) for the youth in Mokwa Local government. Recently, there has been a lot of violence among and by the youths and this is organized to educate them on how to use non- violent methods to solve problems, to take the youths off the street, help them get back to school and the need for the youths to stop electoral violence and so on.
TMG> What are the biggest challenges facing journalists today?
Ahmed> The biggest challenges facing the profession in Nigeria today is funding.
Most journalists are living from hand to mouth, some media organisations don’t pay workers or their payment is very poor.
Non- availability of funds for journalists has been a factor that has militated research and investigative journalism. This trend has made some media outfits to churn out news stories that are not reliable and do not conform with the ethics of the profession.
TMG> What do you do differently to ensure you deliver good quality to the public as a professional?
Ahmed> I make sure whatever I want to do should be in tandem with what can be obtained from journalists around the world.
I make sure whatever I do is done with utmost responsibility that comes with intergrity and deep honesty.
TMG> Who are your role models and people that motivated you into this profession?
Ahmed> My role models are Dele Momodu, Haruna Mohammed, Dan Agbese, Sam Nda Isaiah, Ibraheem Dooba,Toni Kan, Ibe Kachikuwu and host of others
TMG> Tell us about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career?
Ahmed> When I started my own magazine, Fortune World Magazine.
TMG> Tell us about your management style and how you handle your co staff?
Ahmed> We are a little company that is growing – no boss/subordinate relationship – we work as a group to make sure our aims are achieved.
TMG> Tell us 3 things that you consider to be your strengths as a journalist?
Ahmed> 1- My ability to stay neutral.
2- My diplomatic nature of handling issues.
3- My nature of wanting to get facts right before going to press.
TMG> What motivates you as publisher?
Ahmed> I have to make sure money is not the motivating factor to become a publisher. What matters is to be a goal-getter, get your priorities right, never get discouraged and never allow anyone dissuade you from aiming for the top.
When you make decisions, make sure they are well thought out before taking action.
TMG> What great plans and advice do you have for youths in your area?
Ahmed> I have always been a youth activist. I’ve always nutured the younger ones on the need for them to show respect to their elders. We are Africans and that we cannot take away.
I have always advised the youths to stay off any kind of violence, that violence has never effected anything good, that they should never allow politicians to use them for thuggery, anyone that asks them to do so should be directed to bring his/her own children.
I have been an advocate of using non-violent means to solve problems. I say to my fellow youths that there is no need to stone or harrass any of our elected leaders. The theme for the campaign is “Drop The Stone and Pick the PVC.
TMG> What way can you encourage youths to be independent in any profession?
Ahmed> My magazine in conjunction with some youth organisations is organising a youth summit for youth in Mokwa, Edati Lavun Federal constituency. We will be bringing the youths together to discuss and fashion out a way to put a stop to youth restiveness. There have been a handful of youth violences in and around Mokwa of late.
We have approached the Niger State Government and stakeholders like Deputy Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Ketso; former Speaker, Rt. Hon Adamu Usman; Hon Ahmed Abu, Alhaji Abdullahi Ndafogi Nasiru and Hon Mohammed Baiwa Banshe and responses from them have been very positive. They all want the youth violence to become a thing of the past, create meaningful ways to engage them and to be useful in the society.
TMG> How do you spend your free time?
Ahmed> I spend my free time reading and watching soccer. I am an avid supporter of Chelsea.