An interview with award winning Investigative Journalist: Locardia Mavhudzi

Where do you currently work?

I am a freelance journalist. I write for various publications. Currently I am writing for The Herald newspaper and Starfm radio. I have also recently did media projects with Thompson Reuters  Foundation and Earth Journalism Network.

What does your firm/ Organisation do?

Its all about information gathering and dissemination with the aim of informing, educating and entertaining the masses or audience.  For both Starfm and  the Herald I'm working as a correspondent for midlands province doing news and feature stories. Both media houses are under Zimbabwe Newspapers which has now become Zimbabwe's media giant as it has incorporated print , radio, broadcast and digital online media in its publications. The province constitutes urban and rural settings so I have to balance their coverage.

Tell us a little bit about your career history?

I trained in journalism at Harare Polytechnic and graduated in 2007. I have been in the media industry for the past 7 years. I spent 5 years with the Zimbabwe broadcasting cooperation ZBC and I was based in Gweru where I was at the voice of Zimbabwe radio station that was then closed in 2015. Throughout my career I have been exposed to various news beats including politics, business,  health,  environment and community development etc.

In 2016 I won a prestigious award in environmental reporting which was sponsored by Environment Africa, a regional organization.

During the same year I also got a prestigious international grant by the International Women Media Foundation IWMF where I was unearthing women under reported issues in Southern Africa.

Was this always your dream career or it changed somewhere along the line?

I had always wanted to be a journalist despite the fact that I did not know that there is an element of hard work that is required to make a name in the industry. When I was growing up I was fascinated by the news readers on television and I later realised that journalism is more than what I imagined then. And yes here is me still growing and learning a lot in this industry.

What qualifications do you hold?

I have a diploma in mass communication and an advanced certificate in investigative journalism from the university of Zambia. I also have a diploma in project management.

How closely does your academic education fit in with your job?

The basic journalism qualifications I hold are suitable for anyone to enter into the field of journalism. I believe journalism is an art and once you start writing, perfection follows.  This is one industry where I have seen people excel, not because of their highest university qualifications but because they master the art and have passion for communicating. It's all about identifying audience and communicating well with it.

Could you have made the educational path shorter?

Not really, the two year diploma training period is enough to equip one and usher them into the media world.

What are the tasks that you do regularly in your profession?

Reading, researching and writing. A journalist is someone who has to know something about everything.  So I have to keep myself abreast with various issues happening in Zimbabwe and abroad.

What is it that excites you the most when you are doing your job?

The beauty of journalism is that you get to meet and mingle with many people from the rich and famous to the poorest and almost forgotten ones. There is always a story wherever I go and with whoever I meet. This excites me because I get to learn every day.

What bits do you find boring in your daily tasks?

Mostly journalism is fun. However when covering politics one can be misled by excitement and  persuaded to take a factional approach.

Any advice to those studying or aiming at this job or career?

Yes journalism is fun but it is also hard work. The most important thing in this industry is to create a good brand for your name and this is measured by the quality of one's work. I urge all upcoming journos that there are no shortcuts to success in journalism. Cover the beats that you enjoy and this will certainly take you far. Do not imitate anyone. Be yourself.