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Entertainment of Thursday, 22 December 2016

Source: Graphic Showbiz

Eyram: A bright light in broadcasting

The conduct of elections in Ghana over the years has placed tremendous pressure on the media to complement efforts of election management bodies to collectively deliver a transparent, credible and fair process.

Arguably, the media shares the performance burden of the Electoral Commission from start to end.

It's more intriguing to discover that though a male dominated industry, some notable women are leading in this space. One face on the screen and behind the scenes working the grand master plan and execution is Mary-Ann Eyram Acolatse now Eyram Bashan.

According to Eyram, her first brush with elections was with Multimedia’s Luv FM in 2000 reporting from Kumasi. She recalls the nightmarish experience of dealing with threats on her life as she pursued her hard hitting stories which triggered the anger of government supporters.

“I was so fear stricken that I passed the nights in the office”, she told Showbiz.

In 2004, she got back into the trenches again but in another hot spot - Tamale in the Northern Region covering for TV3 and her bravery showed through her reports on violent incidents she had personally witnessed.

“I was at the Police Station in Tamale when the late CPP Northern Regional Chairman, Alhaji Issah Mobila was brought in and witnessed the scene of his body search and interrogation, few hours before he was whisked away and later reported dead”.

She moved on to lead a very comprehensive and telling coverage of 2008 elections after restructuring Metro TV news. Viewers still remember her tireless presentation on screen which run throughout the night till results were finally declared.

Eyram was hired as Managing News Editor for Multimedia's Multi TV in 2012 to replicate that success story through a converged platform. and together with her team, she delivered another epic coverage that lifted the ante of elections coverage in Ghana.

The story is no different during this year’s elections. Leading the EIB Network platforms as Group Managing Editor coordinating the project 'Election Hub', she proved her experience and skill one more time.

"People, Content and Technology were key strategic pillars we focused on to offer a compelling coverage of the elections", she added.

Her intuitive understanding of audience expectation and the nuances of local politics account for the uniqueness of her game plan.

According to the graduate of University of Wales, Cardiff, working with a rich pool of talents led by a driving results-oriented CEO and of course owners who demand nothing but the best, are definitely the push factors.

She argues that content and people make the difference but in all of that, working in a great family and class translates lofty strategies into compelling radio, TV and online content. .

“I salute men who back women up to dare and lead. A rising woman cannot do without that and I owe it to our CEO Bola Ray and indeed the team for rallying behind vision Election Hub and giving it their best shot. I have also benefitted greatly from the grace of God and support of family, home and church.

However, everything I have done is to outcompete my previous record. I love to reinvent myself and keep lifting the ante. Innovation in how to tell the election story, where to tell and when to tell it. I am particularly excited about elections because of the exciting space available to try so many creative things from production to content,” she said.

Commenting on the gender challenge, Eyram said she personally holds a strong view that rising to the top must be about the capability of a person and really not about their gender.

“I am constantly looking out for the interest of women in power even if they are not personally known to me more because I know just how tough it is to break the ceiling climbing up and tougher to stay there with the bruises. Nonetheless we will keep going, it’s always worth the pain and the praise,” she said.

Eyram Bashan has over 18 years experience in television/radio/online news media and possess an unrivalled depth of expertise as a television news brand and communications strategist, working with top local and international teams and individuals across a wide range of industries.

She has worked in various business leadership roles as senior news anchor, news editor, managing news editor and director working with Ghana’s major news brands including TV3 – TV & Online, Joy News – TV/Radio/Online & Metro News and currently the Group Managing Editor of the EIB Network.

Her grasp of communication and media organisational dynamics steered her to top consultancy and training jobs where she has spent 10 years coaching, researching and consulting for large local and international organisations such as IDEG, B4FA, WHO, E4A, Kettering Foundation, etc.

She holds a BA degree in Law and English from KNUST, MA in Journalism Studies from Cardiff University and an EMBA from the University of Ghana Business School among other training programmes.