The Arts

September 20, 2018

Audacious Journalism: Anietie Usen’s chronicles of art, style and depth

By Japhet Alakam

THE inability of some writers especially journalists, to document their write ups has been described as one of the major reasons hindering the development of journalism in the country. Cases abound where people will search for stories written by some seasoned journalists who made waves during their days but could not find it after they have left the industry. And as a way of correcting this anomaly, many journalists have gone into the business of documenting their write ups in book forms so that such mistakes of old will not continue. One of them is award- winning journalist and one described as a journalist of the highest caliber… and of extremely high standard, Anietie Usen who came out with a new book entitled Audacious Journalism: The Art, Style & Depth.

Anitie, who has been in the business for decades where he transversed Nigeria and overseas, in the 601-page book with beautiful cover published by Paresia brings thrilling stories, opinion articles, sports, political and other feature stories which he wrote over his long period of tutelage with some of the best editors and print media at the time for readers especially the younger generation.

Audacious Journalism, The Art, Style & Depth is the gripping and breath-taking real life story of Nigeria and other nations, told incisively, sometimes with unintended humour, by a curious eyewitness and captured so dramatically in snippets of well crafted and stylish prose.

According to Des Wilson, a Professor of Mass Communication who wrote the foreword, “Audacious Journalism is a compendium of articles written by Anietie Usen, one of Nigeria’s most decorated journalists, in the course of a distinguished career as a journalist.”

The book with over 97 articles is divided into eight parts for easy reading, the first part which is the introduction talks about how the author joined the Newswatch crew, the other seven which serve as the body of the works cover his articles on Nigeria,Columns, Africa, America, World, Interviews and Sports stories that reflect both his eclectic interests and the body of assigned duties.

The author begins with what he tagged: To Start With, an introduction of how he joined the Newswatch family and how he received his first baptism of fire, but to the glory of God, through hard work and dedication, he made it to the editorial level of the organisation.

The first part with 42 chapters featured inciting articles on Nigeria. They include such catchy captions as The Coveted Crown, A five star confusion, Death of the iconic Prince, Abacha’s last hours, His excellency the farmer, Who owns the land, Ray Ekpu in the dock, Eze goes to villa, The Abiola tragedy in context and many others.

Part two which features columns the author wrote at various occasions has 19 chapters with captivating titles that addressed issues in the land. They include Mirror on the coast, The magic economy,The cost of dying, Siren of good tidings, The character of victory, The school of nothing, War front by another name etc.

Part three which centers on Africa with 11 chapters has titles like The last day of a tyrant, The final hours of Samuel Doe, From peace keepers to peace takers, The fall of Addis Ababa and others. While part four covers six inciting articles on America. They include No to Reagan, No to apartheid, How not to commit suicide, No respite for Rambo etc.  Part five covers seven views on the world,  part eight highlights the interviews with prominent personalities like Ojukwu, Ekwueme, Obasanjo and finally in part nine, the author went to entertainment with articles on sports.

Audacious Journalism, which was originally published in various Nigerian and international newspapers  and magazines is a treasure trove of information you need to have on many issues, a sheer delight for all readers and a work of art with deep sense of style.

Written in simple English for easy reading, the book which can be described as an encyclopedic escapades is a very good addition to the books on journalism, and can be seen as the much needed tool for budding students and teachers of journalism. I, therefore recommend it to all.