Political parties come and go, but good stories are here to stay – Kokutse

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By Ellen Gyimah, Prosper Kofi Gepoase, Faustina Y. B. Appiah, Aisha Ali and Deborah Afful

Adabraka, ACCRA. February 16, 2022: A veteran international Journalist has advised student journalists to focus on accurate, balanced, and fair reporting. A good journalist, he said, must aim to tell stories from an objective point of view that readers will find credible.

Francis Kokutse made these calls at an Industry-Institute-Interaction seminar with students at African University College of Communications (AUCC) last Wednesday on the topic “How my opinion pieces have defined me”.  

Mr. Kokutse said when a journalist writes objective and accurate stories, he is able to build professional relationships with news sources in industry, government, and commerce.

“The credibility capital is more valuable than soli [payola],” Kokutse explained. “Many people will offer ‘tips’ to influence your reporting, but you must turn them down.  It is your accurate stories, columns and fair opinion pieces that will lead you to success in this profession.”

Fransis Kokutse has worked as a professional journalist for the past 40 years as a senior reporter for Ghanaian Times and several wire services. Currently he strings for West Africa Indo Asian News  and contributes to University World News and SciDev.Net among others.

The veteran journalist said accuracy in reporting is paramount to success in journalism.

“It’s important to be balanced in your reporting,” he said. “Political parties come and go, but the concerns of the people will stay forever. Great journalists cannot therefore be partisan in their reporting. They owe it to their readers to be truthful, fair and balanced”.

The media personality who has interviewed the who-is-who of world leaders including the late U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, the late Ghanaian president J.J. Rawlings, and ex-president John Agyekum Kuffour, advised student journalists to stand out, think out of the box, and chase unusual stories.

“This is how to open doors to greatness in the industry,” Kokutse urged. “When you are in the newsroom and they send you out to a district far away or some strange location, get excited and go.  It could help you to understand your environment and introduce you to new people”.

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