It’s one week into my internship at StarrFM and I’ve worked on many interesting stories that were read on air. Writing for radio in Accra is much different than longer feature, profile, and narrative non-fiction pieces that I’m used to freelance writing. It is also much different than academic writing, a style that is far lengthier, grounded in long-term research and theory, and created for a different audience. Radio news stories are very concise, containing only the basics of the story in an easily digestible form for the masses. Essential information on the topic is summarized, bits of colorful language are added here and there to draw in listeners to the lead, and interviews and natural sound are played in order to add a human feel and allow the story to emerge for the listeners. The common denominator for why I chose a career in journalism and academia is to have a way of finding and telling stories. Thankfully, interning at StarrFM is allowing me to hone in on radio news writing skills as another way to tell stories!
The first story I worked on covered Stonebwoy, a Ghanaian afropop, dancehall, and reggae fusion artist. He won the BET Best International Act (Africa). This award means a huge upsurge in international exposure for him, especially in America. This will be instrumental in bringing Ghanaian music into the American pop cultural psyche. Check out one of his more popular songs here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqLDGxLO3sY&list=RDSqLDGxLO3sY#t=42
The second story focused on the AllStarr Unity Concert benefitting the June 3 flood and fire survivors in Accra. EIB, which owns StarrFM, helped put the event on. The concert featured top Ghanaian artists like Becca, Shatta Wale, and VVIP, other artists worth checking out. The turnout was not too high and the concert didn’t start until hours and hours after the time it was slated to begin. Time is seen in a more circular, laid back way here. Nonetheless, it was an awesome opportunity to see the entertainment industry pull together to support the survivors and see the local artists in full force. I even ended up in some of the photos that ended up on various news outlets online in between photographing the event and enjoying the music.
The last story focuses on what was Accra’s largest slum, Old Fadama, known as Sodom and Gomorrah. The level of poverty here would be unfathomable to most Americans. Various news outlets have focused on it throughout the years as a digital dumping ground, a post war refugee region, and a manifestation of the extreme cycles of poverty. The June 3 flood exacerbated the clogging of drains here and sparked the mayor to approve demolition of the area, or take steps to clean it up, depending on perspective. What happened, however, became a major human rights violation that displaced over 50,000 poverty-stricken residents and destroyed the only possessions they had. Many living there were refugees of the Kokomba Nanumba wars of the 90s. The demolition and protests are ongoing.
Here are a few pieces that are particularly eye-opening: Life in Sodom and Gomorrah: the world’s largest digital dump; Irate residents vandalise parts of State House; and Sodom & Gomorrah demolition to continue today.
In my first week as an intern here I also had interesting experiences going on air for an interview regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage and the opportunity to photograph the President’s Cup played between the Asante Kotoko Porcupines Warriors and the Accra Hearts of Oak. I’ll save these for the next post!
Below are the radio transcripts for the three stories I worked on:
Stonebwoy calls BET award a victory for all of Ghana
Ghana’s dancehall artist Stonebwoy has described his BET award as an award for all Ghanaians. The reigning best artist in Ghana beat several others to win the BET’s Best International Act (Africa). BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards celebrates outstanding achievements in black entertainment in America with a focus on sports, acting and music. The baafira hit-maker who couldn’t hide his joy says he believes that his hard work earned him the award. Top artists like Sarkodie, Shatta Wale among others have already congratulated him on social media on his talent and the honor from BET. Stonebwoy says the journey has just begun and he is expected to win more awards at home and abroad.
That was the BET’s best international act Stonebwoy.
Musicians set to entertain and raise funds for June 3 flood and fire disasters at Allstars concert tomorrow
The power of music will be in full swing tomorrow at the AllStarrs Concert. The Entertainment industry is seizing the opportunity to raise funds and support the survivors of the June 3 floods and fire disasters. The singer Becca said she was inspired by those who suffered and is taking it as a social responsibility along with 34 other artists. The concert has been put together by EIB network together with UNAIDS to treat patrons to a night of good music. Ghana’s most popular musicians Becca, Shatta Wale, R2Bees, and more will be there. Here is Becca speaking about her involvement in the event.
Cue: BECCA ALLSTARS
Nancy Adobea Anane of the StarrFM events team tells us all is set for tomorrow.
Cue: NANCY ALLSTARS
If you haven’t gotten a ticket yet hurry before they run out. Join us at the Accra Sports Stadium at 4 p.m. for a full night of entertainment and way to support the cause.
Residents of Sodom and Gomorrah bussed north after demolition of makeshift homes.
Former residents of Accra’s largest slum (Sodom and Gomorrah) are beginning to return to the north. The mayor approved the demolition after waste problems reached a peak following the June 3rd flood disaster. Residents are accused of clogging the drains that merge at Odaw. This decision was met with criticism for lacking humanity. Most of those illegally residing were refugees of Kokomba Nanumba wars of the 90s. 15 busses have brought a small portion of the estimated 50,000 back.