Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Ignite the mind.

Journalism in the Shadows of Truth: My Story

A Perspective.

In this special Perspective Features by LightRay! Media, we invite journalists to tell their stories in the line of duty. We explore the themes, scenes, circumstances, and vulnerabilities that makes them review and reevaluate what Journalism means in the age of AI, clique bait, disinformation big money market, as we ask: Is Journalism Achieving its Aims?

In this Edition, Roland Bayode shares a profound insight from which we begin this piece: “At the core of journalism lies a profound axiom: “News is what someone wants suppressed. Everything else is advertising.

In the midst of tumultuous times, journalists stand as sentinels of truth, warranting our steadfast support and gratitude.

But what do you think?

By: Roland Bayode.

One harrowing afternoon, while covering a conflict zone, I stumbled upon a scene of unimaginable horror. The remnants of a brutal attack lay scattered across the ground—a human head, severed and lifeless, with the brain exposed and floating in a pool of blood. The body it once belonged to was nowhere in sight, leaving behind a gruesome reminder of the fragility of life in the midst of violence.

In another unsettling encounter, I found myself amidst the chaos of a busy street. A mentally ill man, in a state of agitation, was chasing a group of terrified men. Their frantic attempts to escape led to a tragic collision with a pregnant woman. She fell to the ground, clutching her abdomen, as blood began to pool around her. Her cries of pain and fear filled the air, echoing through the streets as bystanders watched helplessly, a stark illustration of how madness can shatter innocence in an instant.

One of the most horrifying incidents I’ve covered involved a case of what my people call jungle justice. A man accused of theft was caught by an enraged mob. They decided to take the law into their own hands. I watched in horror as they set him on fire, his screams piercing the air, his body writhing in agony as flames consumed him. There was no one to intervene, no hope of rescue. The crowd stood by, some even cheering, as if this barbaric act was a form of entertainment. The smell of burning flesh and the sight of a human being turned into a living torch are images that remain with me, haunting reminders of how easily humanity can devolve into savagery.

These experiences are not just stories I’ve reported; they are vivid, real-life nightmares that I’ve witnessed firsthand. In the heart of disaster zones, I’ve seen the faces of people who have lost everything, their eyes hollow with despair. I’ve walked through the rubble of homes destroyed by earthquakes, where families sift through debris with bare hands, searching for any sign of life or a cherished possession.

In the aftermath of hurricanes and tsunamis, I’ve waded through streets turned into rivers, where the water is filled with the remnants of shattered lives. I’ve seen survivors perched on rooftops, their eyes scanning the horizon for rescue that seems endlessly delayed. The sheer scale of destruction, the loss, and the desperation of those affected are overwhelming, painting a sobering picture of nature’s unrelenting power.

I’ve reported from refugee camps, where the stench of decay hangs heavy in the air and the sight of emaciated children with hollow eyes is all too common. The queues for food stretch endlessly, with families clinging to the hope that today might be the day they get enough to eat. The stark contrast between the abundance enjoyed by some and the scarcity endured by many is a jarring reminder of the inequality that plagues our world.

In the realm of human trafficking, I’ve listened to the harrowing tales of survivors who were treated as commodities, their lives shattered by the greed and cruelty of others. Their stories of abuse, manipulation, and hopelessness highlight the urgent need for awareness and action to combat these heinous crimes. The brutality of gang violence is another grim reality I’ve documented. I’ve stood on bloodstained streets, the walls around me riddled with bullet holes, and spoken with families mourning loved ones lost to senseless brutality. The fear and hopelessness that permeate these communities are in stark contrast to the safety and security many take for granted.

Environmental disasters have shown me the devastating impact of human negligence. I’ve reported from oil spill sites, where the once pristine waters were coated in a thick, black sludge, and the bodies of wildlife washed ashore, victims of our recklessness. The long-term damage to ecosystems and the livelihoods of those dependent on the environment are sobering reminders of our responsibility to protect our planet.

Have you ever wondered about the stories that unfold beyond the headlines? I’m Roland Bayode, not your conventional hero—far from a soldier or firefighter, but simply a journalist. Our world, my world, is a mosaic of truths and tumult, where we stand as sentinels of reality. We’ve encountered walls, not those of Jericho, but barriers of conflict and chaos. These narratives aren’t just tales; they’re vital revelations that hold a mirror to society. Picture yourself, drink in hand, delving into stories that stir the soul, amidst the storms we navigate to bring them to light.

As journalists, we endure much unseen by those who read our words or watch our broadcasts. Often criticized and misunderstood, we persevere to uphold our duty to society. Despite the harsh words thrown at us, we remain committed, balancing the weight of the world on our shoulders, often at a cost to our mental well-being.

Learning journalism on campus was a battleground in itself, preparing me for a world where madness reigns, demanding a resilience that borders on madness itself. The real world proved even more daunting, a place where chaos and resilience collide daily. Yet, amidst this madness, journalists continue to shine a light on truth, even when it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable. We’re more than just names behind bylines; we’re guardians of truth. Beyond awards, what we truly deserve is understanding, support, and respect. It’s our courage and dedication that ensure the world sees beyond the darkness, revealing the stories that shape our understanding of humanity.

At the core of journalism lies a profound axiom: “News is what someone wants suppressed. Everything else is advertising.” In the midst of tumultuous times, journalists stand as sentinels of truth, warranting our steadfast support and gratitude.

Dear friends, amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, take a moment to connect with a journalist. Seek one out today, extend a handshake, and commend their dedication. Better yet, show your appreciation with a warm embrace.

To further brighten a journalist’s day, consider these gestures:

Share their articles and broadcasts on social media to amplify their impact.

Send a thoughtful thank-you note or email expressing your admiration for their work.

Support media outlets that prioritize investigative reporting and ethical journalism.

Attend public talks or events where journalists share their insights and experiences.

Advocate for press freedom and the protection of journalists’ rights globally.

Let’s celebrate the unsung heroes who bring us the stories that matter most. Your support and encouragement mean the world to those who tirelessly pursue the truth.


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