Watching the news every evening is a daily ritual for most people, or at least those that like to consider themselves ‘informed.’
Children are quickly hushed the minute it begins, or sent to bed altogether so that their parents can give ‘the news’ their undivided attention. But although we spend up to forty-five minutes each evening with our preferred TV news anchor, how many of us give any thought to what it is like being that person on our screens?
Margaret Wamanga decided to find out when she caught up with Andrew Kyamagero, the news anchor at Record TV, and allowed him to narrate his experiences in his own words.
I still remember my first news bulletin on January 3, 2013, as clearly as if it was yesterday, and even recall that my first story was on Erias Lukwago’s issues at City Hall. To describe that first broadcast, I would say it was crazy.
The lights felt too bright, and I had the eyes of the entire news team focused on me. For the first three to five seconds, I was overcome by nerves, but then I got over them, and for the rest of the 45-minute bulletin, I had fun swinging from one story to another.
I love the feel of commanding an audience that being a news anchor gives me. I am giving information that no one can question. After that first bulletin, the entire newsroom broke out in applause, and this reaction gave me confidence that I could actually do this.
I, however, kept searching for ways of how I could improve, and over time people began to believe that I was a prodigy after the revered Bbale Francis, saying that I had his style of news anchoring.
However, it is not all about me, as my job is a team effort. During a bulletin, I don’t just depend on what I see or hear, but on continuous feeds from lots of different people. News is pressure. I work under pressure, and have to be fast and make snap decisions, and it takes quite some time getting used to.
As I settled into the job, my sister Jackie kept pushing and encouraging me to continuously better myself, while at the same time reminding me not to get overly excited or confident as my fame grew, and for this I am eternally grateful to her as she has enabled me remain grounded through it all.
Of course, being on TV has, affected me in some ways, like in my dress code. Previously, I used to wear shorts, and was very comfortable in a particular blue polo shirt that had two buttons missing, but now that I am on TV, I have got to be presentable. Even the way I speak is censured so, you will not hear me indulging in discussions about a leaked sex tape, for instance.
It has also affected my private life, as I can no longer do things like buy maize off the streets. Actually, the only times that I shrug off my TV persona, is when I am with my good woman, my fianceacutee, Linda. I love making her feel special, even when we are in public. Other times are when I am with my sisters or brother-in-law, Sacha.
Still on a personal level, being a TV news anchor has changed my perspective on life. My workmates call me a sadist because I love disasters. I love hurricanes and accidents since they are what make news worth watching.
The only bad news that really moves me is if the victim involved is a girl child, because I grew up realising that the girl child was always sidelined. Sometimes I enjoy being on TV, like when ‘cool people’ recognize me while I am out, but at other times it is really bad, like when I run into people who say things like ‘so you think you are all that simply because you are on TV.’
I guess in this way it is like any other job, with its ups and its downs. I have never felt the pressure to upgrade my lifestyle in order to bend to social gratification, simply because I am on TV. I still live in my humble home in Kiwatule. I don’t drive and I use boda bodas or the usual taxis, because what happens if I lose the job? Then everyone will laugh at me and say ‘look at him, he is a broke ass!’
Have things ever gotten so bad that I actually regretted being on TV? Well, one night I was out with friends, and there was this really drunk girl at the bar who recognised me from TV, and kept calling my name.
She was extremely drunk, throwing up and all, and I was so worried, thinking of what people around me must be thinking, and if they were wondering exactly just how this woman knew me. But I guess at the end of the day, everything comes with a price.
Source : The Observer