Fatoumatta: Public Relations (PR) and Journalism are not the same. Actual civic Journalists educate and inform the public. PR practitioners inform the public intending to change attitudes and perceptions, and citizen journalism is a catastrophe. It does not take you into critical thinking; instead, some of them feed you on “fake news,” misinformation, disinformation, rumors, and a natural hazard to civic engagement journalism.
Suppose a business person or politician appoints a citizen Journalist or a talk show host blogger to do PR. In that case, the result might be catastrophic and disappointing and vice versa. On the other hand, Mr. Lamin Njie and Ms. Sarjo Barito are actual journalists and 21st-century, robust, pragmatist realist and perfect journalist in today’s Gambia who does not dip their pen in gall. May they continue to soar to limitless height in the craft of journalism undistracted.
Fatoumatta: You do not go into journalism to live an affluent life and be famous. The role and job of a journalist are to seek the truth and put constant pressure on leaders and politicians until you get answers. I have read and watched and observed Journalist Lamin Njie. He engages in investigative reporting. I can tell you without equivocation that Lamin Njie and his style of investigative journalism have always been ethical, impressive, and professional.
Perhaps some of you doubters and cynics do not even know what honest and trustworthy journalism is about what it all entails. Mr. Njie is a patriot, please, and his journalism falls within the purview of patriotic journalism. I can vouch that Mr. Njie is one of the most detribalized, humane, and cultured practicing journalists in the Gambia. He is incredibly humble despite his considerable accomplishments in the field of letters. If a journalist also wears the hat of an activist, he is either hated or loved. The activist-journalist will be loved by people whose agendas they highlight through the work but will fail on an essential aspect of trustworthiness by the audience.
Provoking one group of people against another or advocating for a specific cause can compromise the ability to win trust. A true journalist is always answerable to his audience. Still, an activist journalist is always interested in supporting the agenda of a particular group. Therefore, there is every possibility that an activist-journalist could harm journalism. I know a work of art and historical conjectures when I see one. I also know an investigative piece that meets most journalistic standards when I see one. The latter is suffused with hardcore evidence and does not leave the reader confused at the end.
However, on the other hand, an investigative piece does not leave the reader to his imagination. It is clear-cut, and all the linkages are crystal clear to the extent that the reader can begin to think of himself as a prosecutor who is willing to take the one being investigated to the cleaners with all the facts supplied by the reporter. A work of art, mainly that of fiction, mixed with some fundamental realities, will always leave the reader to use his imagination to wonder which is which. So often, get to a cul-de-sac at the end of the piece. However, a work of investigation is not like that.
Fatoumatta: These two journalists are professional and ethical, and their reputation is as a prodigy in grassroots and investigative Journalism. They have a critical, analytical, and inquisitive mindset on all issues. Erudite journalists of a rare type will always be there for you to provide necessary information when called upon. Their sense of wit is superb, and if convinced, the ebullient journalists will never cease to attack issues rather than personality. Above all, they are a lover of details of ethical journalism.