Hajia Fatima Umar Buba the beautiful face that glows in every home on our screen has endeared herself to millions of her admirers in and outside Nigeria as a notable broadcast journalist.
In an interview with Trumpet International Magazine Editor,Oladipo Ibironke Duyile,The delectable screen diva bares it all.
Trumpet: Kindly introduce yourself to our readers
Fatima: I am Fatima Umar Buba, A Nigerian Nationale, From Gwoza local Government Area , Borno state, Northeast Nigeria
Trumpet: You are known as a Screen Diva, how has it been staying in the profession for sometime. How did you get to the level you are in the industry today?
Fatima: Well, it hasn’t been an easy, for the fact that it’s a very important profession that professionalism is key at all times, . It has come (and still coming) with ups and downs. Herculean tasks to the carried out on a daily/weekely basis. But in all I can say is that I get better at handling issues as the day passes by. God has been faithful, with my family, bosses and colleagues have been supportive and helpful..
Trumpet: As a woman whose day to day service delivery has to do with the general public, how do you cope with the expectations of your audience.
Fatima: Doing my job is one thing while my audience expectations of me is entirely another thing, but, since I have passion for the job I don’t feel any difficulties in going extra mile to get the best of me on the job.. another thing is that most times So, after my presentation or production, I follow up on my firms social media handles where our news are being streamed, especially on twitter, I look out for audience comments. By that, I get to see audience perception of me and their critics. I appreciate their impression of me but I work on their criticism. By that, I’m able to pace up. There is something we often say in my office that you are as good as your last production. That means, you have to double up not to fail at your next production. It helps me to keep my toes high and be better.
Trumpet: The field of Journalism and Communication are very challenging ones, tell us about the challenges you have had to contend with in the discharge of your duties.
Fatima: Well, challenges as a newscaster are normal and they usually come when I’m on air. Sometimes you could be live on air and all of a sudden the teleprompter fails. Sometimes you introduce a report but the MCR gets to role something different from what you introduced. It’s another person’s error but you still have to apologize to the audience because they can’t see the person who made the error, they can only see you so they assume it’s your fault. So, challenges like this are what I (and every presenter) come across often.
I remember a particular day, the news had just started so I was introducing/giving a teaser as to what we have to dish out on the news that night I was on it when I was told that the control room was down, power failure.. . Meaning that they wouldn’t be able to roll any film so even if I introduce a report it can’t be played, i had to keep talking until the time the engineers were able to rectify the issue, It was a very challenging day.
So, I come across these challenges every now and then but God has been helpful. And, I’ve always have a crew that are professionals that also believe and support me. So when work fails, we take responsibility for each other. And I think that is the beauty of team work.
Trumpet: Do you feel attached to a particular News Item when presenting.
Fatima: No I don’t. Even though there are stories that are peculiar in nature such as rape cases, death or criminal cases reports I get emotional, I have to compose myself but still, it tells through my expressions and emotions vice verse.Even when a joyous thing happens, you could see laughter and gusto all over my face and body. But I try all I could to give my best to every news item. I won’t say I’m attached to a particular news item when presenting but I get emotional sometimes.
Trumpet: What does being a lady of the tube entails as a popular face on the screen.
Fatima: It entails a lot. To me it means you have to be at your best always because people see you as a professional and they always expect the best for you, they expect you to be perfect forgetting that you’re human. You make a mistake, you see yourself all on every meme on social media, this happened to a colleague of mine. So, they expect perfection from you not just in presentation but also in the way you dress. Your outlook matters. Your humility etc Because some times people are compel to watch you when they see what you’re putting on. So, I try as much as possible to put on my best. I make sure I proofread my scripts before hitting the airwaves.
One thing that has helped me over the years is that I’m always part of the production. I mean the pre-production stage now. Instead of just coming to the station and walk in straight to the studio, I come in as early as possible, go to the newsroom and work with the producers, production editors and quality controllers. So, even before the news I know what story we’re taking and the one we’re not taking. So, if by error from the producer I see a story we’re not supposed to take, I quickly call his/her attention to it and drop the story. So, this is what joining the pre-production does to me. It helps me be aware and be grounded before going on air. Plus, I do research if I’m to interview anybody. Research help me a lot.
Trumpet: Have you ever thought of leaving the broadcast industry for another field. If yes, why?
Trumpet: With your long years of experience on the job, how would you describe the tasks and delivery obstacles.
Fatima: The tasks are often enormous but the fact is, it definitely has to be done. So, having it at the back of my mind that no matter how challenging and herculean the job is, it still has to be done, so I put up my best. Sometimes I consult senior colleagues to help me navigate through. The like of Mr. Cyril Stober. He’s been of immense help. I and my colleagues always run to him for help when the task is daunting and challenging. And he always come through for us. He has never failed us. He mentors us, he fathers us and assures us that we can do it and today, we are better at it. All I’m trying to say is, it has never been a one man show. It’s not ‘Fatima Umar Buba’s show’ We cry for help when need be and solutions always come.
Trumpet: Tell us the positive sides of the job and your takes in improving the profession among your colleagues.
Fatima: I think the positive side is the impact you make on people. You meet people who unknowingly to you are already seeing you as their role model and want to be like you. For me, that’s a lot. Also, the glitz and glamour. You get to meet people who appreciate what you do. The job exposes you to the world and connects you to personalities.
On improving the job, I think we need to just be at our best and deliver, failure isn’t an option
Trumpet: Are you really satisfied with the industry so far.
Fatima: To an extend yes, but there is always room for improvement, We need to do more in all the areas so that we can compete favourably with our colleagues in the western world./ developed countries..I believe we can do it.
Trumpet: Can you compare the Nigerian Broadcast industry to those obtainable in developed countries of the world?
Fatima: My answer here is YES and NO at the same time, now, The industry in Nigeria is blessed with Human Resources, we have very talented journalists and broadcasters here that I believe can be compared to others in other countries but technologically, Take for instance The BBC, CNN and Aljazeera, Fox News etc, they’re way ahead of us both technology wise and other areas. But who says we can’t compete with them? It only takes concerted efforts from us, the government and even private firms to make this happen. And most importantly, the press must be free if at all we want to achieve this. Press freedom is key here.