CNN is launching a new multi-platform operation in Lagos, Nigeria, with Stephanie Busari as the head of the operation. In this interview, Busari, who will be the network’s first responder for all platforms, spoke on what her key functions would be as regards content development and news dissemination. Excerpts:
Congratulations on your new appointment as Supervising Producer, Africa at CNN’s new multi-platform bureau in Lagos. What does this mean to you, having worked for so long outside Nigeria?
I am thrilled and excited to be back home after a long time away. Although, I have always kept close links to Nigeria and have a considerable network here already from the work I have been doing on CNN’s digital platform on Africa. CNN is investing here because we believe Nigeria is a globally important nation with enormous potential, and it is very exciting that I have been entrusted with helping to tell the story of my country to the world.
What would your key functions be, as regards content development and news dissemination?
I will be in charge of coverage out of Nigeria and in some cases West Africa for all of CNN’s platforms (TV, mobile, digital). I believe being here and having a digital-first approach gives us unique opportunity to engage directly with our audience.
In what ways would your previous experience as a reporter in England and Northern Ireland help you discharge your new duties?
I have covered a wide variety of beats across hard news stories and features. I have even worked on the party scene as a showbiz reporter, and at the other extreme, I have worked as a court reporter, so hopefully all of this experience will stand me in good stead in such a diverse country as Nigeria. There are literally stories to tell everywhere you look here!
How will the new bureau operate as a conduit for information for CNN?
Our emphasis will be on producing the world class and engaging content that CNN is known for. In addition, I want to get under the skin of life in Nigeria and the West Africa region beyond the usual narrative. Social media will be a key component of this. In fact, we are launching a new Facebook Africa page this week where our audiences can find and follow all the powerful content that CNN produces from across the continent but in a more concentrated way than you would find if they went straight to our website.
How does the platform tie in with the global shift toward digital media?
I am bringing with me a decade’s experience working in the digital media space, and I know that people are consuming news and media content on whatever device is handy for them. CNN’s approach is what we in the industry call, ‘platform agnostic’. We want to be able to reach the audience whether they are sitting in front of the television or browsing on their smartphone on their commute or at their desktops at work. Sometimes, even a combination of those! That is exciting, and I think there is still a big part to play for all of those platforms.
What challenges and opportunities do you expect to face as you begin to work in a different environment?
Well, Nigeria has its well-documented infrastructure problems. Anyone who lives here will be familiar with power and traffic issues, for example, so those are the everyday challenges. But like most Nigerians, I am very used to being resourceful and making the most of any situation. In terms of opportunities, over the years, I have met so many dynamic Nigerians and Africans who are working to transform their countries and the continent. I am looking forward to chronicling their achievements and highlighting their successes. There is nowhere in the world I would rather be.