The Best of Times

Veteran Journalists Babatunde Harrison. Photo by Barbara Dimopolous

An adolescent man of 19 years graduates from high school and almost immediately lands a job as a cub reporter with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, in West Africa.


It was the best of times. The year was 1964. I was nineteen years old and in my final year at Winneba Secondary School in Ghana, West Africa. There was a wind of change blowing across Africa. African nations were fighting against British, French and Portuguese colonialism and Ghana and Nigeria had won their independence from the British.

Elsewhere on the continent, nationals of countries still under colonial rule were battling their oppressors for their freedom and Ghana had become the Mecca for freedom fighters. It was in Ghana that many of them came to seek financial and military assistance to carry on the revolution to free Africa from colonialism and apartheid.

It was during these radical historic times that I had the opportunity of being employed as a cub reporter by the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC). Recruiters had come to our school to conduct an entrance examination and I was one of few students who passed the exam. And that was how I got into this glorified vocation called journalism. I never looked back.

I was trained on the job and worked as a news reporter at GBC from where I started my career in journalism and worked for several years for the largest circulating newspaper in West Africa, Daily Times of Nigeria. In between times I traveled extensively and worked for other smaller papers, including the Punch group of newspapers, also in Nigeria.

In 1992 I was awarded a Knight Bagehot Fellowship at Columbia University, New York, where I did a one year certificate course in business and economic journalism. My last major journalism job I held was a press officer at the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN–DPI).

Times have changed and so has the vocation of journalism. I am a living witness of the evolution of the profession and have evolved with the on-going metamorphosis.

It is still the best of times. I am 65 years old and Journalism remains to me one of the most glorified of vocations. I am back in the classrooms, expanding my skills and journalistic persona. I am majoring in Photojournalism. In the process I am taking advantage of all the digital skills I can possibly muster and when I get my master’s degree in Africana studies, five years from now, I will pick up my laptop, grab my camera and gadgets and move to become a travel writer.

There is a fantastic story out there waiting to be told and documented. The story of how it came to pass that captive Africans carried their native religion to the Americas. And that is the journalistic work I plan to do for the rest of my natural life.


5 thoughts on “The Best of Times

  1. Wow! Sounds like you’ve seen more history than most of us ever will! I’d love to see your work as a travel writer when the time comes.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Best of Times « San Fran Beat --

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