By Grace Obike
With nearly seven years of journalism experience under my belt, I thought I had it all figured out. I’d been writing for the Nation newspaper without facing much criticism from my editors, and my articles didn’t require many corrections. I’d even contributed a few reports to the Christian Science Monitor, so I believed I was doing just fine. That is, until I joined the fellowship and had the privilege of meeting a remarkable group of women.
I’ll admit, I was initially sceptical about the constant corrections and the insistence on providing evidence for my statements. It felt like I was back at the intern level, or that my write-ups were being overly scrutinised when I believed they were already of high quality. However, this relentless pursuit of high editorial standards and fact-based reporting has turned my world upside down, in the best way possible. I’ve come to understand that my mentors bring a wealth of experience, extensive connections, and, most importantly, have my best interests at heart.
Thanks to this experience, my writing has improved by leaps and bounds. I’m becoming more adept at asking the right questions and recognizing the critical elements during interviews, which, in turn, helps me craft better stories. My articles have taken on a newfound level of professionalism. Recently, I submitted a story to an international website, and there was no back-and-forth with the editor regarding corrections. This was not only a relief but also an encouraging sign of growth.
I firmly believe that there’s always room for improvement and more to learn. I eagerly anticipate seizing every opportunity that comes my way through this fellowship. With the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired, I look forward to collaborating with other network members. This fellowship marks just the first step in my journey toward excellence.