As a young man growing up in Zambia, Charles M always had a strong interest in the media – and he got his first “break” volunteering for a community radio station shortly after leaving school.
Passionate about community service and the role of journalists in standing up for the rights of ordinary people, he pursued a career in broadcasting before embarking on the LSJ’s distance learning journalism course.
Although he gained plenty of experience producing programmes for TV and radio, he felt he needed some formal training to help give his career a clearer focus.
“Although I enjoyed my work, it was like a hunter going on a hunting expedition with a gun but no bullets,” he recalls. “I had the skill to work at every stage of production, from filming, editing to writing, but I was lacking in knowing the dos and don’ts of journalism.”
He was particularly keen to branch out into newswriting and develop his interest in investigative journalism.
“I found the LSJ course interesting and fitting for a busy person like me who has both work and family commitments,” he says. “The structure of the course and the guidance from the lecturer was excellent. At every stage I felt like I was in a classroom setup and I never wanted to miss any day without studying.”
He completed the course within a year, achieving a diploma with distinction, and believes his studies have helped him to reach a wider audience, both locally and internationally.
By the time he embarked on the course, he already had one major award to his credit, from the Media Institute of Southern Africa for his coverage of HIV/AIDS issues and women’s rights.
“I feel strongly that as a journalist my role is to tell the stories of people I have met, especially those who suffer various forms of violation,” he says. “I would like to help people know what their rights are – to investigate shortfalls and fill the accountability gap that exists between commitments and actions by those who govern us.”
In 2011 he scooped second prize in a World Bank sponsored national award for Zambian journalists – which in turn secured him a three-month placement at the Mail and Guardian’s Centre for Investigative Journalism in South Africa, where he has had various investigative stories published in the local and international media.
“I should say I learnt a lot from the course and the tutor's guidance was
brilliant. A lot has happened over the last year and my work has been published by international newspapers and online publications.
“This task would not have been possible without the training I got from the London School of Journalism.”