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Taming blackmailers

As a cub reporter with The Punch Newspapers in 1987, I interviewed the first indigenous female professor of a university. I asked her how she felt about the feat. She said she felt “fulfilled and vindicated.” Apparently, she felt the professorship should have come much earlier. I was uncomfortable with the word, “vindicated,” but I quoted her anyway. Later when I saw her, she complained that “vindicated” came too early in the story. In fact, she would have preferred it left out all together. Then I gave her an advice: “Ma, if you are talking to a journalist, assume you are talking to the whole world. Anything you would not say to the whole world, don’t tell a journalist.” “Is that so?” She retorted. “Yes ma,” I responded. I left her feeling giddy that a small boy like me had given a professor a lecture.

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