NAW | ON THE COVER
ISHA SESAY ‘We can choose to stop being willing players in the sexual objectification of women in the media’
For over a decade, she was the admired African female face in broadcast journalism as news anchor and reporter at CNN. Amid much speculation and hullabaloo, Isha Sesay quit that job last July. She sat down with our editor to set the record straight and discuss the deeper reasons why she chose to move on. What is in store for the much-respected Sierra
Leonean journalist? Will she be following in the footsteps of her politician mother?
Interview by reGina Jane Jere
Photography Eniko Szucs Styling Arnold Milfort Hair & Makeup Victor Noble
NAW: There has been a lot of speculation about your departure from CNN. Was the emphasis on Donald Trump the real trigger or was there more as to why you left the post that had made you a household name and one of the most admired broadcast journalists out of Africa? ISHA SESAY: It was one of the reasons yes. But there were many interwoven factors that made me decide to call it a day. I had been with CNN for an incredible 13 years. And I am grateful for the opportunity, the places I visited and the people I met. But after
13 years, it started to feel like just a job and just routine. Eventually I was in a place which I didn’t particularly like – more so when there was so much of this focus and over-emphasis on Donald Trump.
I am not saying that he doesn’t deserve scrutiny or coverage. My problem is that he doesn’t deserve coverage that excludes coverage of everything else happening in the world. That was my issue.
I found it increasingly difficult night after night and it’s about what Trump has put in a tweet, ignoring what was happening in Yemen, Syria or DR
Congo. When catastrophic events were taking place in the world, they were somehow minimised or sometimes completely ignored. It just did not sit well with me.
I had moved from England to America 13 years ago because at the time CNN was truly global. I packed my two suitcases back then because I wanted to be part of that. While I have immense respect for my colleagues and my bosses at CNN, and it was a very hard decision, there was something in my conscience that did not sit well and I had to make this decision to leave.
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