Game changers #6, Carol Radull and her mission to change the face of sports in Kenya
Carol Radull is a presenter at Kiss 100 and Classic 105 in Kenya.
by Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam
Not many people realised that until about a year ago, sports was just a “side hustle” which Carol Radull gave up her spare time for. But due to her raw dedication and commitment to its reportage and development in Kenya, she is one of the most popular sports journalists in the country.
The former business, social and political journalist has worked for international platforms like the BBC and Reuters in the past, in addition to organising shoots for Swedish and Norwegian news agencies.
Currently a Sports Presenter at Kiss 100 and Classic 105 in Kenya, Radull is a social media influencer who is playing a huge role in ensuring that Kenyan sports improve while also contributing her quota in the fight against cancer, the disease that snatched her brother and father.
Radull is convinced that sports people are not appreciated enough in Kenya.
-What do you like the most about sports journalism?
-Well, you get to discuss, cover and broadcast something you are naturally passionate about. And you get to highlight issues that affect sport, and influence change for good. You are basically getting paid for your passion.
-What’s the coverage that you’ve enjoyed the most and why?
-There are many. The FIFA World Cup in Germany in 2006 was a joy to cover because it is the ultimate in competitive football. Watching from the stands as Ghana beat USA was a feeling I cannot describe, completely enthralling. I also covered games in the Bundesliga with SuperSport in 2010, and seeing how professional leagues are run was a great learning experience. Back home I have felt inspired by the Mathare Youth Sports Association, a slum project that nurtures talented footballers. I have interviewed some great sports people like Andy Cole, Peter Schmeichel, Thierry Henry, Nwankwo Kanu, Robert Pires, Daniel Amokachi… the list in endless. You learn so much about hard work and resilience from world class sports people.
-What lessons have you learned along the way to being who you are now?
-As a sports journalist, it is important to know your subject. Luckily I played so many sports in school that I know the rules and how to play them. I have sadly learnt that sports people in Kenya are not appreciated and that has led me to come up with ways of trying to improve their situation; and to get people to take sports as a business and not as a hobby.
Radull during her interview with Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.
-What do you think about the creation of the AIPS Sport Media Awards?
-I’m just hearing about these awards but rewarding excellence is always appreciated.
How can the Awards help the future generations of sports journalists?
-The awards can inspire journalists to go beyond just writing a story to actually trying to improve the industry and the landscape for sports men and women. When you are young, you need to have a passion for sports to get into sports journalism as it isn't just a job, it's a calling. I hire so many young sports journalists who want to be like me but who don't want to work on Saturdays and Sundays; but that's when sport mostly happens. If you have the passion for the job, it stops becoming work.
-Have you ever been a victim of fake news?
-It is easy to get caught up in fake news and I have believed fake news before. But then again having watchdogs on my timeline who also follow and read blogs allows for quick correction. Nowadays I simply google more and only believe the big networks or a source that is directly involved with a certain story. If they aren't reporting something, I don't believe it. But there are certain stories like "deaths" which no-one should be quick to report without verifying a source. So many living people have been "killed" on social media.
-What’s your take on digitalisation as it affects sports journalism and what do you do to be more creative in this era of social media?
-I am always in support of technology that speeds up the dissemination of information or even makes it live. There is a danger though that in our effort to always be first with the "news" errors occur, but personally I double check everything before posting. That said: I don't compete to be first anymore because with apps and social media everyone can be a "journalist" and share information, so I prefer to react to news as it creates more conversation. I give my opinion a lot of the time as many of my social media followers want to know what I'm thinking. I also engage my followers in conversations as many of them also have great and divergent views on issues that interest me.
-Do you think that being more connected to the readers and listeners through social media has made the profession better or more difficult?
-It has definitely made the profession better, as long as our focus isn't to give the news first, but to create conversations. Decades ago we had to wait until the next day to get a reaction to a story, now it's instant and that creates more content to go round. Social media however has or will affect the big broadcasting engines who have invested millions in infrastructure because journalists no longer need big networks to be heard. I can be my own little media outlet. The danger is, the lack of regulation of such platforms allows for any old quack to become a "journalist."
-Tell us about your fight against cancer #Cancersoldier?
-This is an emotional subject for me. My brother died of Hodgkins Disease, a form of Leukemia in 1987. Back then there were very few qualified doctors in Kenya and he degenerated very quickly and died within seven months of diagnosis. I got involved in cancer awareness and fundraising campaigns about fifteen years ago. It was almost the same time (Dec 2003) that my dad got diagnosed with prostate cancer. I didn't know cancer could be treated if detected early and I didn't know how much Kenya still lacked doctors in 2003 as we had done in 1987. So I linked up with several groups to create awareness particularly for youth to go for check-ups and live healthy lives.
-What progress have you made in this fight?
-Cancer is also very expensive to treat -my Dad was under treatment on and off for 10 years before he passed in 2013- so I took it upon myself to raise money for various cancer initiatives and to assist those who can't afford the treatment. In 2014 though we managed to raise KES 23,000,000 (About 230,000 US$) in one week on radio; money we used to purchase equipment needed to treat children's cancer at our main National Hospital. There is no reason why 90% of children in the first world get treated for their cancers while in Kenya only 10% survive as our government watches. It is wrong. My biggest challenge has been getting the government to listen and improve facilities and train more doctors.
Game changers 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 https://aipsawards.com/