After 13 years at the Cable News Network (CNN), British journalist of Sierra Leonean descent, Isha Sesay has announced her exit.
Sesay who started working at CNN as a 30-year-old in 2005, with two suitcases and a one-year contract but stayed for 13 years; said, it was time she moved on.
In a chat with What We Seee, Sesay explained that she’s ready to lead her own life; write her own stories which used to be controlled by other people and have her own say in where she goes next.
Below are the four reasons Sesay gives for leaving CNN and they are commendable. We wish her the best in her endeavour.
The Chibok Girls
When the incidence of the Chibok girls happened, Sesay was in Nigeria to cover the story and it felt really personal to her. However, she’s sad that the media and the society has moved on quickly from the incidence.
“It’s an exciting time for me — and a nerve-wracking one. I’m writing a book about the Chibok girls, it’s being released in May 2019. It really speaks to where my head is at, currently — a lot more coverage about Africa, a lot more work on the continent, and a lot more focus on young girls. That’s what I’m about right now,” she said.
Sesay also feels that the Western media is so Trump-focused that they forget that there are many other things happening in the world.
“It’s all so Trump-focused. He sucked all of the oxygen out of the room. The media is following that lead to the exclusion of almost everything else, in a meaningful way. For me, personally, it’s not what I want to spend all my time doing. After a while, I want to do more coverage of the Ebola outbreak, of the elections in Liberia, or any number of things that are happening. I’m ready to take control of what I’m talking about,” she said.
On how Africa is being covered
Sesay doesn’t think that Africa is correctly covered and represented by the Western media, so, she’s taking charge and doing it the right way.
“I want to put a focus on Africa in the way I wish all international media would cover Africa. Now it’s either under-reported or not reported with the right nuance and context. I’m going to turn my attention to being one in this new army of people who are moving into this space, who are representing Africa in a new way. I’m not going to be the only one doing that, I’m one of a group of Africans… There’s a sense of responsibility, a sense that we have to do better,” she said.
Sesay feels the need to be present with the girls who are the focus of W.E. Can Lead, her NGO in Sierra leone where she mentors young girls. The girls of Sierra Leone face challenges, like teenage pregnancy, lack of education, and early marriage due to poverty.
“I want to spend more time with my girls. You can’t build things remotely — I don’t believe in that. I’ve built an incredible leadership team, but part of my organization’s DNA is fuelled by my own personal biography, by my own story. I need to be there with my girls,” she said.
It's really happening, folks!! After more than a decade behind the desk with those three red letters… I HAVE LEFT CNN. https://t.co/DzSQ3P9p2u
— Isha Sesay (@IamIshaSesay) August 1, 2018