Josephine Karungi on Telling Stories

It is always a dream come true the day you get to work in the area of your profession. Josephine wanted to be a writer and then a journalist. She wanted to be in print but when the doors opened, they ushered her to a TV station at NTV. The game was about lights, camera and action with a different kind of script. At that time she thought she was passing by as she prepared for her writing job but she realized she was about to stay for some more time.

She began out as a field reporter, a task she found so interesting. To go out and come back with a story was a very exciting experience. Before long though, she realised that most of the stories from the field had fewer women voices. Most of the featured stories had more men. This left a big question mark in her mind; why? It was always reported that women did not want to talk. They did not express interest in talking to journalists.

She wanted women to talk. She was deliberate about it and it had to be done in one way or another. She began a news segment called Women & Power that used to run every Monday during the evening news bulletin. “It’s not that women don’t want to talk, women want to be approached differently for them to talk.” The segment was only 4 minutes but it was worth the salt.

This feature went on for a few years but it was too brief. It could only cover so much. That is when the idea of Perspective was born. She wanted to create a bigger platform that could accommodate more women but also more stories. Luckily enough, the program was approved for airing. It had a simple objective to air when everyone was at home. The main target was women. But it later turned out that there were more men interested in the show than women. There was more vital feedback on how people had been helped. It was more like a family affair than just a women’s thing.

With this feedback, the scope was widened to make it an all-encompassing TV show beyond what was considered a women’s thing. People wanted to learn about business registration, marriage certification, agriculture, Small and Medium enterprises and more. There was so much. Of recent, there was has been a lot of conversations on mental health. “Before, many people were ignorant of most of these things but now they’re waking up to learn a thing or two about the reality of life.”

The show opened up space for such conversations.

Some of the stories are so emotional and personal. She has had to learn to look at stories from the side of the journalist but that does not mean that she gets to easily deal with all stories as they come. “Some stories are heavy and leave you very emotional.”

At the time she joined the newsroom, there were a number of child sacrifice stories which really weighed down on her. She learnt that she had to find a way of coping up. “You need someone you can always talk to. It’s dangerous suffocating all these emotions. You need to let them go.”

Doing stories on the challenges people go through on a daily, she has learnt that help comes in different ways. Sometimes the most assumed form of help is financial but that is not all that people want. Over the years, Josephine has learnt to be open. She has used her space as a bridge for those looking for help and those willing to provide the help. To her surprise, most of the help people need does not really have to do with finances. “Sometimes all that people want is to be heard. They want to be listened to. Others find their healing through helping others.”

Sometimes, even with a show like hers, she cannot take on campaigns which require her fulltime attention. Like the name suggests, there are so many perspectives to a certain story. Josephine has learnt that she has to continuously learn.

“As a journalist, every story teaches you something but you may never know that you are in position to give this information. It only hits you later that the one or two things you said were the solution someone was looking for.”

Ms Karungi believes there is need for more women in media. There are fewer women doing camera work for example. A lot of people won’t hire women because of their biological clock. Sometimes women are excused from some hard tasks that come with the job but the employer should be willing to get more women to take on such harder tasks.

There are so many challenges women go through naturally that hinder them from going up the career ladder. They just need to be supported.

Her advice to women especially those in media is to get smarter with the way they do their job. There are more ways to widen the scope of earning than sitting back waiting for someone to handpick you. Women should make themselves competitive with their skills. The way things were being done is changing and so should the people. Women should position themselves on how better they can be headhunted but also standout. “Equip yourself with new skills. Find a mentor to hold your hand. We all need a helping hand. Or at least be one.”


One thought on “Josephine Karungi on Telling Stories

  1. This is very touching Josephine, thank you for bringing out the voice of the unheard, some stories in perspective are so touching that I fear to hear it all. All our the same I love the program.
    Hope you invite her for coffee as well David. Would love to know more about how she does it

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