In keeping with the corporate self-understanding as the medium without an editor exercising absolute control over content, Intervention has not shared much with the tradition of routinised line and staff who then determine and dominate editorial decisions. It is happy with volunteers, solidarisers and associates who help with links, hints and hunches. Interestingly, that has made easier the realisation of ‘journalism as emancipation’ which is about making visible those the system has made invisible, voiceless, without birth or death, without subjectivity.
One consequence of that is how tendencies and groups that do not send their materials to Intervention do not get reported. Of course, they are angry because they assume it is a deliberate decision to exclude their own stories or the platform would have assigned reporters to their own zone, interest or agenda. Well, there are no such reporters, for the reason of the above doctrine of practice but also because it is nearly impossible to get functional reporters nowadays.
It is not because anyone is looking for a graduate with brain the size of Albert Einstein’s. Just about anyone who can attend a typical news event and come back, not necessarily with a story, but with basic details that someone online somewhere else can stretch out into a meaningful message. Such graduates are there but too few and difficult to come by in contemporary Nigeria. There was one but he had also imbibed so much of the counter-cultural proclivities on offer on the campuses today. So, even as he could identify a storyline, clip and write it, all by himself, he couldn’t stay. Since then, it has been a wasted journey seeking or getting a reporter worthy of that name until yesterday when Victoria Abakpa demonstrated stuff.
Miss Abakpa is a 2016 graduate of Mass Communications from Benue State University, Makurdi. She has demonstrated a presence of mind, a discerning capacity and ability to strewn words together in such a manner that an English speaker in Barbados, London, Delhi, Australia or any other parts of the Commonwealth is at home with.
Like one other staffer who left the Research arm of Intervention recently, Miss Abakpa would also soon leave because Intervention has not got the resources to even pay but ‘starvation’ wages. However, she is here for now, a big news item given the scarcity of employable graduates. Her Abuja Municipal beat will widen our spaces of intervention to a major space of the everyday such as Abuja, the capital of the black world and its ensemble of extremes of wealth and poverty; the rural and the urban; the black and the white; patriarchy and matriarchy and so on. That way, we are able to live according to our name – Intervention: the actor which comes along when society is helplessly lost in one of its many stalemates.
We do not do this objectively because we do not trade in such expensive, diversionary incantation. Rather, we do it with critical distance. That is to say that, although, we are partisan, we have absolutely no problem with our Others using this very platform to canvass their own position, a sign that we privilege the inter-subjective space. It is in that sense that we call ourselves and are known as Intervention.
It can be costly insisting on raising the bar but some people must do so, whatever the price, because society is really at risk of being completely and irretrievably overwhelmed by the triple evils of mediocrity, myopia and mindlessness!
The arrival of an additional hand to strengthen this is, therefore, a newsworthy item.