The saying that “old habits die hard” could best fit the only female journalist on the Starr FM Sports desk – Elizabeth Yawson.
Betty, as she is affectionately called in the ‘Komla Dumor Newsroom’, was once a sales girl at Melcom and that trait still runs through her DNA. Lovers of popular drink ‘Sobolo’ – Hibiscus Tea or bissap – can grab a bottle from her for a small fee in the newsroom.
As she tirelessly prepares stories for the Sports News on Starr 103.5 FM, we managed to get the ever-smiling Betty on the sidelines to take us through some chapters of her life story on Starrfmonline.com:
HOW WAS LIFE LIKE GROWING UP?
It was really boring, I grew up with my dad, no kids to play with because my dad thought playing with kids from my community will have a toll on my moral upbringing. My parents separated when I was just three years hence my father was my friend, mother, and my everything. Entering into the primary stage of my education, I had to move from one boarding school to the other due to my dad’s regular travels which was in line with his pastoral work. I didn’t really care much about the boring aspect when I was a child, because my father gave me all the love I wanted. He was ready to spend his last penny with me and I always understood him when he had nothing to spend on me. In order not to put so much pressure on him after secondary school, I secured myself a job at Melcom Group of Company (Swedru branch) as a cashier and sales girl to save money for my university. So I would say I started working at age 17.
WAS IT DIFFICULT GROWING UP WITHOUT A MOTHER?
Definitely I did, because there were issues I couldn’t discuss with my dad and had always wished my mom was around, especially when I got to puberty stage. I began to miss her at secondary school days.
HOW WAS LIFE LIKE SPENDING YOUR EARLY TIMES IN BOARDING SCHOOL?
Learning to live on my own was very difficult. I remember my first day at the boarding school (Swedru International School). I was in Class 4 then. I cried for a week, it was terrible. I could eat whatever I wanted when I was with my dad, but with boarding school, you are given money for the term and must learn how to manage it. You wash your own clothes and learn how to be organized without parental guidance.
Learning on your own without parental help was another problem, but in all I think that experience helped me a lot because I was able to learn so many things on my own. Though there were some domestic duties that I nearly missed out, but growing up I try to learn all that. Boarding School life, I will say it was a blessing in disguise. It exposed me to so many challenges not to mention peer pressure but I was able to overcome all.
WHAT ADVICE HAS KEPT YOU GOING?
Daddy will always tell me to take life seriously and make the best out of it.
HOW DID YOU CELEBRATE YOUR 18TH BIRTHDAY, ANY MEMORIES?
Wow, the only memory I have was that, it was my first day at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. I did not have any celebration for my 18th birthday.
HOW DOES IT FEEL BEING ALWAYS REFERRED TO AS A PASTOR’S DAUGHTER?
Annoying sometimes, but it has helped shape my life.
DOES IT PREVENT YOU FROM BEING YOURSELF?
Yes, sometimes, people criticise my move always hence I need to be conscious with my doings all the time.
WHY SPORTS JOURNALISM?
I hear many people saying they landed in the journalism profession by mistake, but I didn’t. Growing up, I had two professions in mind, an Air hostess and a presenter. The urge of becoming a presenter heightened while growing. Interestingly, I was the anti-sports type. I hated everything about sports, especially football. So the thought of becoming a sports journalist never crossed my mind. But thanks to one senior reporter who is now an editor at Graphic Sports, Daniel Kenu. He was the one who helped me to develop the interest when I was posted to his outfit for internship. Thanks to him I have this wonderful career.
HOW ARE YOU ABLE TO SURVIVE AMONG FOUR MEN ON THE SPORTS DESK?
When you have vision and you are focused you can survive everywhere and that has been my major tool.
WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER SPORTS JOURNALISTS?
My mindset. I hate to follow the trend. I always want to create my own style. Sometimes it might sound silly but that is me and that makes me different.
AS A FEMALE JOURNALIST, DO YOU SOMETIMES FEEL SIDELINED?
Yeah, I do. Sometimes working with colleagues who have been in the system longer than you puts a lot more pressure on me to deliver.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH FEARS?
My worst fear is losing the man I have always loved and that is my Daddy and I can’t deal with this because death is inevitable, I just have to be ready anytime, though I just don’t want to even think of it.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT LIFE WHAT WOULD THAT BE AND WHY?
My social life, my upbringing has made me the anti-sociable type, but because of my job I am working hard at it.
ANY REGRETS IN LIFE?
Being Daddy’s girl growing up. It has made me find it difficult to be independent.
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU?
I know what I have been through in life and I always use that to inspire myself. I will never let my children go through same.
WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO?
I look up to God, He is the only one who will order my steps in my chosen career.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WISH TO CHANGE ABOUT SPORTS JOURNALISM?
Many don’t see Sports Journalism as a serious career. They feel it is a profession for vagabonds. And I think the actors (Sports journalists) have made it so. It is about time Sports journalists changed that perception. We need to upgrade ourselves to meet the global market demand. Be factual and not speculative.
WHAT DO YOU HATE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I love every bit of my job. It has changed my social life for the better.
HOW IS A DAY LIKE ON THE STARR SPORTS DESK
I get to the office by 8am and produce stories that will feed the Sports news bulleting for the day and the following day. I do live reports from assigned events. I also help with the production of guests for our three sports shows and manage the social media pages (Twitter and Facebook) for Starr FM Sports.
WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING DIFFERENTLY IN FIVE YEARS?
If I am alive by then, I will upgrade myself in the Sports journalism career, thus venture into Sports marketing.
Source: Ghana/Starrfmonline.com/103.5FM/Miriam Hayford