Media tribune #2, Fiifi Anaman, from blogger to TV presenter in just six years
Fifii Anaman is the face of Kwese Sport Xtra, in Ghana.
by Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam
From starting up a blog as a high school graduate to facing
the TV cameras as a core professional, Fiifi Anaman’s meteoric rise in sports
journalism in Ghana is one to be greatly admired. The young and passionate
six-year journey has seen him feature on highly acclaimed media outlets like
Goal, SuperSport, ESPN, Telegraph and the BBC. And in January, 2018 he became the
new face of Kwese Sport Xtra as presenter and producer. "I’m a young man
who is passionate about art and storytelling", says the 24-year-old.
What do you like the most about sports journalism?
I love how sports journalism captures and documents a phenomenon
that is as universal and powerful as sport. To be able to chronicle something
that people hold so dear to their hearts is pretty special. It makes you feel
like you are contributing to people’s lives, that you are leaving an indelible
mark. In the summer of 2012, I thought about merging writing and my passion for
football. So I began a blog and started sharing content on social media. The
feedback was encouraging and soon pushed me to apply to write for established
blogs and websites. Since then, it’s been a rollercoaster ride of experiences
that, admittedly, have happened at an unusual pace. I also got to ghost-write
the autobiography of Ghanaian football legend C.K Gyamfi (yet to be published).
Recently I was on a show and I was asked how long I’d been a journalist, and as
soon as the words “six years” left my mouth, my heart skipped a beat. I hadn’t
realized just how much had happened and how quickly.
What are the challenges you have encountered in sports
I would say access. I usually listen to a lot of veteran
journalists talk about how teams and players were more reachable in the past
and how that gave the profession intimacy and even integrity. Now access is
restricted and controlled: everyone is getting the same generic press conference
quotes and press releases. More often than not, as journalists, we find
ourselves writing on subjects that we are far from and thus relatively out of
touch with, which can compromise the authenticity and depth of information. Also, due to bad record keeping in these
parts, information is hard to acquire to use in storytelling – and for someone
like me who loves research, it’s been a major issue.
The 24-year-old Ghanian started as a blogger.
What's the most rewarding coverage/article you've done?
My last, which was a long form piece on Ghana’s second ever
Winter Olympian Akwasi Frimpong from December 2017. I absolutely love articles
that take time and research to create and this took six months of deliberation
to develop. Luckily, I also managed to find a texture and story feel that I
felt could have only happened it the piece was meant to be written. Another one
that I’m proud of is an article on a forgotten Ghanaian footballer called Chris
Briandt. That also took two years of on again, off again research and I ended
up unearthing information from decades ago that made the story engaging.
What lessons have you learned (and from whom) that are worth
I have learned, especially from Mr Kent Mensah (former
editor, Goal Ghana), the man who gave me my big break in journalism, to always
remain humble and noble, as well as to use my blessings to extend a helping
hand. In July 2012, before my journey began, the internationally known Gary-Al
Smith, who I’ve long admired, was so kind in responding to an email in which I
had called on him for career guidance. He went out of his way to meet me when
he’d come around to cover a Ghana game in Kumasi, where I was based, and we had
a conversation that set me off on this path. He told me dream big and never sell
myself short; to always look ahead and not be slowed down by achievements or
failures, to use intimidation as motivation to achieve, and to eschew a
figurative fear of heights.
Anaman thinks AIPS Sport Media Awards "serve as motivation for people to aspire to operate at levels beyond themselves."
What's your take on the current state of the industry?
I think that the industry is now on the leash of the
powerful news cycle – it’s now always about what is hot and trending, and what
is likely to gain more hits and comments, and not what is carefully researched
and presented. People are fast making speed and popularity the gods of the
trade when I feel efforts can go much deeper to explore pieces that stand the
test of time.
What do you think about the AIPS Sport Media Awards and how
can it help the future generations of journalists?
I think it is very important to have a reward structure
because it serves as motivation for people to aspire to operate at levels
beyond themselves. The reason why an actor, for instance, will seek to outdo
himself in a film is because he is most likely motivated by the prospect of an
Oscar nomination. Even if he does not get it, it still made him reach for
excellence – so it’s a win no matter how you look at it. The AIPS Sport Media
Awards can only elevate performances, which is what the industry needs to
thrive. It is true that we work for a cause and not applause, but every human,
at a point, needs a pat on the back. It’s only natural.
What impact did it have in your progress as sports
journalist winning an award for best column?
if you’ve seen the acceptance speech, it would be clear to
you that I was all over the place. I realize now, in hindsight, that at the
time, I didn’t quite possess the maturity to understand or deal with it. A few
months before, I had been nominated at the 2015 CNN Multichoice African
Journalist of the Year awards in Nairobi too. I was runner-up in the sport
reporting category but that experience was equally as humbling and motivating.
The Sport Media Pearl Award, without a doubt, has been the highlight of my
career. It came at a point when I was just three years into the trade and
immediately put me on a pedestal that continues to define me everywhere I go.
Media tribune is presented by AIPS Sport Media Awards, a
bridge to the future of sport journalism. Divided in 6 main categories, the
Awards are a celebration of the best sport storytellers from around the world.
Submissions for professionals are free and open until September 17, 2018. Find
more and submit your work in www.aipsawards.com