Media Tribune #5, From palaces to muddy places, the rise of Carlos Kouande, a key voice in Ivory Coast
Carlos Kouande, best radio journalist in Ivory Coast in 2017.
by Diacounda Sene
A respected voice in Ivory Coast, Carlos Kouande has been named Radio Journalist of the Year in 2017, among 170 professionals. For this passionate young guy who started out as a radio host, the key to being successful are humility and continuous learning.
-What do you like most about sports journalism?
-I like above all the contact with athletes, meeting new people, travelling, visiting stadiums and discovering stories.
-What are the biggest challenges of the profession these days?
-One of the main challenges is the ongoing adaptation to the public that has changed over the years. But the biggest challenge is the confrontation with the Internet, where information goes very fast. As a media man, today we have to keep pace with this new tool that has changed many of our habits.
-What’s the most rewarding coverage you have produced?
-It is the coverage of the CAN 2015 in Equatorial Guinea. I commented the matches for our radio listeners. Ivory Coast, my country, won this Cup at the end. We started the competition badly, but we got stronger over the games. I have experienced great cold sweats and satisfactions with this CAN.
-What lessons have you learned throughout your career? From whom?
-I would say three: 1) Learning all the time: the reporter informs the masses, so he/she must know more, and the only way to know more is when you agree to learn. I got this piece of advice by my current Editor-in-Chief, Paule-Bénédicte Bolou. 2) Being humble: we must always keep this virtue, because in our profession, we meet many people, we enter palaces as well as muddy places. You have to know how to blend in all these places. This lesson is from Bakary Karamoko, our former Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Radio Yopougon. 3) Working with passion: when we do what we love, we do not feel like working. We do it without counting the hours. In the end, we do a good job that is appreciated by all. You have to be a hard worker. This, I retained from an interview with Lévy Niamkey, an Ivorian journalist, star presenter of the 8 pm news on Ivorian national TV. He later became Minister of Communication in the country. I always remember this thought of this great man.
-The profession is constantly changing. What is the current situation in your country?
-It is changing as everywhere else in the world. The press in my country has many problems. The print media is slowly dying with the Internet boom. This tool has also integrated radio and television that are now more and more direct from the Internet. Everyone thinks he is a journalist because he can post something online. Journalists face significant competition from enthusiasts trying to engulf them.
-What do you think about the AIPS Sport Media Awards, the first international prize of its kind?
-Winning this kind of Award requires to submit pieces that hold the attention, no matter the category. That means journalists will be forced to make good productions. This reward will push the next generation to work better.
"The AIPS Sport Media Awards will push the next generation to work better," Kouande thinks.
-What’s your preferred format for consuming news?
-I prefer, in order, radio, television and social networks. But radio above all. I am a former radio host turned to journalist. I was doing animation but I have always been interested in sports, economics (because I'm a commercial trainer), health (I started my professional career in a hospital) and society.
-How difficult was it for you?
-The transition was not difficult for me. From presenting news bulletins in the newspaper, to the big weekly sports show, to broadcasting matches (CAN 2015 & 2017, World Cup Qualifiers, National Cup Finals). I think if I had not performed well, I would not have been commissioned with new tasks. That said, we must continue to work to improve.
-In 2017, you have been named the best radio journalist in Ivory Coast. What does that distinction represent for you?
-That prize means that I have taken a step. Being the best radio journalist in the country, with more than 170 radios that exist in Ivory Coast, is an honour. I also received the Best Investigation of the Year award for my investigation about the lack of water in Yopougon Commune. These trophies mean that I must continue to produce at least the same level of quality that has got me recognition, or do better.
-Have you ever been a victim in your career of fake news?
-No, never until now, because I always cross check alerts that I receive. I would not like to be considered a liar in the eyes of my listeners, so I always check what I receive as any other news.
-What advice will you give to a young person who is just starting out in the profession?
-To work with passion and a lot of seriousness in this business because our mistakes are paid in cash. Our good work may not always be recognised or rewarded, but it is the rule of the game. The journalist does not work to wait for the congratulations. Our judge is our audience.