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Twelve days at Asaase: an intern’s view (II) – AFCON, Bawumia, live on air!

Angela Kwao, Manya Krobo SHS/Drive to Inspire Africa+Asaase internship, February 2024

Listening back to news clips in the studio

Monday 5 February

It’s back to work. After the 8am meeting, I have an introduction to news management. Mr Carlton Cofie, the news editor at Asaase, shows me how he works on all the news stories coming from the news team, and the stages the work goes through. I learn about scripting and editing.

Then Mr Anass Seidu, the senior news producer, explains how he decides the order in which the reports should go into a news bulletin.

In the afternoon I go to the master control room (the MCR) to observe how the news team produces the 12 o’clock news. It’s presented again by Ms Gemma.

I take part in the afternoon newsroom editorial meeting and then have my lunch.

Later in the afternoon, I spend a bit of time with the digital team, which runs Asaase’s social media pages.

Tuesday 6 February

Today, it’s on to news production. I attend the 8am newsroom editorial meeting as usual, after which I work on my own story ideas. While I’m doing this, the Asaase Breakfast Show (ABS for short, which runs every weekday from 5.45am to 10am) is going out on air.

Then Ms Yaa takes me to the ABS post-production meeting, where the producers and presenters discuss how that morning’s show has gone and begin planning for the next day’s programme.

The stories that catch my attention are to do with violence in Bepong and the NPP regional reconciliation committees. Ms Gemma is working on that story. She explains how the report is changing as she calls people to contribute to a report on the committees and they accept or decline. She has to rewrite her report at least twice.

After working a bit more on story ideas and reporting back to Ms Yaa, I monitor The 12 O’Clock Report from the studio itself. It’s interesting to hear the final version of Ms Gemma’s report; I can now see how the news moves.

Later in the afternoon, I join the newsroom editorial meeting.

After lunch, I use the rest of my time to talk to junior members of the team about their work. I am so engrossed that I miss my first appointment with the team for Rush Hour, Asaase’s drivetime show! There’s a big event coming up tomorrow in Accra and the whole news team is very excited and busy talking about it. So I ask Ms Yaa if I can go to the event with the team.

She says she will check with the political editor and let me know if I can go. But it will be difficult, Ms Yaa tells me. I’m still keeping all my fingers crossed.

Work ends for me around 4pm as usual.

Wednesday 7 February

It was a big day for the newsroom because there were the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) happening in Abidjan. The sports team, who work in the newsroom, were going to be presenting live coverage of Nigeria vs South Africa. And for the later match Côte d’Ivoire would be playing the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Not only that, but Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the NPP’s presidential candidate, was to give a big speech at the University of Professional Studies, Accra. This was the big news event I wanted to attend.

I spent the morning shadowing Ms Clankson, who presents News at 6 and the morning news on the hour for Asaase. She showed me how she takes the raw news stories and turns them into short news bulletins. Then she took me up to the studio with her to assist as she read the news.

I’m really starting to enjoy my time at Asaase and I wish I could stay. I talked to Ms Yaa about it and she said she would ask the people at Drive to Inspire if I could stay in Accra until it’s time for SHS2 to return from holidays. She doesn’t think they will agree but will still ask. If they don’t agree, tomorrow will be my last day.

But some other good news! Ms Yaa said she had asked Mr Wilberforce Asare, the political editor at Asaase, if I could go with him to the event and he said yes.

So, after The 12 O’Clock Report and the news meetings, I went with Ms Gemma and Mr Asare in his own car to UPSA for the speech.

The venue was packed and the security was very tight. So packed that I couldn’t even go into the hall where Dr Bawumia was giving his speech. But I was able to observe the interviews Ms Gemma and Mr Asare had with guests who were in the audience for the speech.

The speech didn’t end until about 8pm. Then there were so many cars trying to leave the venue at the same time that it took two hours to get home in a car with one of the office drivers and other members of the Asaase News team.

I was very tired, so I slept well.

Thursday 8 February

But I don’t get that much sleep! The office driver comes to pick me up very early in the morning – at 5am! – because he has to get me to the office first and then pick up some reporters who live far away.

I feel a bit tired. But it’s interesting to see how much news the team has made from the speech by Dr Bawumia. It’s the top news item for discussion at the 8am meeting. There have been reports on all the news bulletins with reactions to the speech. It’s the main item on the Asaase website and social media pages.

After lunch, I work on my notes. And then a surprise: Ms Yaa tells me that the chief executive officer, Mr George Andah, who has been out of town visiting Asaase’s other stations, wants to see me. We go upstairs to his office and I meet with Mr Andah, Mr Asare (the head of programmes), Mr Cofie and Ms Yaa.

Mr Andah has just got back to Accra and he is sad that he won’t get the chance to work directly with me. Ms Yaa has asked Drive to Inspire about me staying longer and they think I should return to Manya Krobo as originally agreed.

Mr Andah says he will have a conversation with them to see if anything can be done.

After the meeting with the CEO, I spend time talking to Dennis, Woedem and James, who work with the digital media team. Before I know it, it’s 4pm … and Woedem hasn’t even finished telling me about her work. And I’ve missed my second session in the studio with the Rush Hour team.

But Mr Kofi, the office driver, is ready to take me home. I’m glad to get back and have a rest. In the evening, Ms Yaa calls to tell her senior cousin, Auntie Amami, that Drive to Inspire and Ms Nana Adjoa have agreed with Mr Andah that I can stay – not until March, but at least until Monday.

Friday 9 February

The day starts in the usual way with the morning editorial meeting but there is A LOT to do and I am very busy.

Ms Yaa explains the plan for the weekend: I will be observing the newsroom tomorrow and then on Sunday there’s an outside broadcast from AFCON. I have to deliver some notes to Ms Yaa by 9am. And then work a bit more on story ideas. Maybe there will be a chance to record them on Monday.

At 10am Mr Joseph and Miss Winifred give me an introduction to the Asaase website. Ms Winifred shows me how she edits news reports from regional correspondents, interviews and celebrity profiles. She explains about why the introduction to an online story is almost always the same as the first paragraph and shows me how she chooses links and tags each story. Mr Joseph tells me about the general organisation of the website and the different subject areas.

It’s straight from there to translate some news reports from English into Twi and record them with Ms Clankson and Ms Nana Oye, the deputy business editor. Asaase Radio programmes are all in English but there is a new Twi-language station starting called Asaase Pa, which interests me.

I read the news reports and feel very confident about my performance. Then Ms Clankson and Ms Nana Oye give me some imaginary news situations where I have to play the role of the reporter. It’s quite difficult but I enjoy doing the tests.


Then I do a long recording session of live presenter mentions and news reports in English with Ms Yaa in the sound booth. It’s quite tough, and you can’t get away with any mistakes!


I’m glad to finish and get some lunch from the food sellers down the road who all the reporters buy from. But as soon as I finish eating, there’s something else to do! Ms Yaa says this is my chance to spend time on Rush Hour. Friday is the weekend version of the show, so the music is very high energy.

Mr Elvis Crystal, the on-air personality, gives me a warm welcome together with the producer, Ms Nana Akua, and the production assistant, Mughis.

The day has gone by so fast. Ms Yaa tells me about arrangements for the next day so I can see how the newsroom works at the weekend and assist the producer of their Saturday discussion programme, The Forum. I leave the studios at 4pm.

Saturday 10 February

Mr Andah had asked me to spend the morning observing how the newsroom works. But I am so absorbed in talking to the on-duty news editor that I completely forget to go upstairs to assist with The Forum!

But later, the senior producer explains to me how he plans the show and the kinds of guests he tries to attract.

I also go to the sound booth to record my voice and listen back to hear how I sound.

I go home in the afternoon, have lunch, and have a quiet evening.

Sunday 11 February

Sunday is here and it’s the big day for AFCON: the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations, with Nigeria playing Côte d’Ivoire.

Ms Yaa and I don’t leave the house until late. At 8.30pm, it’s back to Corridor Gardens, the sports bar where Asaase is doing its outside broadcast of the AFCON games with commentary on a live feed from Abidjan.

When we get there, the game is at a nail-biting point: well into the second half, more than 55 minutes gone, and Nigeria leading the Ivorians by 1-0.

Everybody is so tense!

Minutes after we arrive, Côte d’Ivoire equalise! It’s 1-1! Shouts go up from people watching at the bar. And then again, after another 19 minutes – Côte d’Ivoire, the tournament hosts, are UP by another goal! It’s 2-1 to the Elephants!!

Another nine minutes on the clock … and it’s all over. Most people at Corridor Gardens are relieved that Côte d’Ivoire has won because (they say) the Nigerians have been throwing shade at Ghana and the Black Stars since we crashed out of AFCON in the opening stages.

It’s a big win for the Elephants over the Super Eagles, making the teams’ records at AFCON equal – three wins each for Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria.

After the match, everyone is so excited by the football that we carry on talking for a bit. We all agree that the Ivorians really deserved to win.

Monday 12 February

It was my last day at Asaase. It was so sad, but then I realised everything has a beginning and an end.

So, I got to Asaase around 7.30am to attend my last newsroom editorial meeting. And then … a big surprise! I was invited into the main studio for an interview with Mr Kwaku Nhyira-Addo and Ms Yaa, live on the Asaase Breakfast Show, about my 12 days as an intern.

Then it was time to go to the media room to open my Facebook account and finish off my note. The Drive to Inspire – Africa team arrived at Asaase at 10.30am on the dot, just as they promised. We had a meeting with the chief executive, Mr George Andah. He told me to stay in touch and to come back and help out with the new radio station, Asaase Pa, when it launches officially.

I got to feel like a celebrity all over again as I posed for pictures in the reception area of Asaase with Mr Andah and all the senior managers. And there were gifts! I got some nice presents to take home with me and share, including a new way for me to listen to the radio.

Then it was goodbye to all the members of the Asaase family as we drove off from the Asaase forecourt, heading in the direction of home.

It has all gone by so quickly. Once again, I thank the whole team at Asaase. I have enjoyed my stay and I would love to see you all again.

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