Rosetta Fourlagawo is a 27-year-old Sierra Leonean Journalist based in London, England working for Sky News as a Researcher on their Foreign desk. There, she assists the desk with; research into potential stories, pitching stories for the various platforms run by Sky, carrying out further research into stories, finding contributors for stories, visa applications, and more.
She recently published her first story at Sky, where she assisted Sky’s Africa Correspondent, John Sparks on his report on the hurricanes that affected Sudan and Senegal titled; Africa’s record rainfall stretches resources already struggling with COVID-19 and conflict. She has always been creative, inquisitive, and analytical as a child. Whilst studying from an early age she was naturally good at English, reading and loved anything Media related; anything from magazines, to music videos to TV, caught her interest.
Rosetta Fourlagawo is a first-gen British born Sierra Leonean. Her parents relocated to England over 30 years+ ago. Her maternal side is Mende and the paternal side is Limba, she can only identify few Mende words when she hears them.
Rosetta Fourlagawo studied BA Journalism & Media at university as part of her undergraduate degree for 3 years. Her first year, she studied at Coventry University and then transferred back to London to complete her 2nd & 3rd year at the Birkbeck University of London, an evening university. She studied there whilst working and loved the balance it gave her. She graduated in late 2015 and around that time, she got a 6 month TV Production internship at a BAFTA(British Academy Film Awards) award-winning Indie Production Company called, Swan Films. There she learned everything TV-related; from the politics to how to make it. In order for her to have got on this internship scheme, she needed experience and something to prove that she was working on her interest in the field. It’s then that what she did in her final year at University helped, she created a short film called; The Black Gay Conversation (https://vimeo.com/126261600) which was inspired by a documentary film called Paris is Burning. Her short highlighted the lack of community for Black Gay Men in the U.K at that time. This was the practical experience she had of creating something, which helped her get interviews and the 6-month internship.
Her initial Production based experience she found and got at a Comedy production company called, Meet The Adebanjo’s. Her few weeks of doing everything on that production gave her the opportunity to get interviews for productions that she was struggling to get at the time.
Now that she was at the BAFTA award-winning, Swan films she helped develop the documentary film. After this 6 month internship, she then started freelancing as a Researcher for various Indies which she says, was tough!
After 4 years in TV Production, last year she got into news/current affairs by freelancing at Five News(ITN Productions) as an Assistant News Editor.
Salone Messenger had an exclusive interview with her over recent achievement.
Tell us about your work at Sky News?
”I’ve just joined the Sky News’ Foreign team on the desk, I assist the various Correspondents with research into stories for their patch. For example, two weeks ago I worked on a story with our Africa Correspondent, John Sparks on the hurricanes that affected Sudan and Senegal. My part with helping get this story told was to find a voice of someone in Senegal who was experiencing this flood, some pictures & to monitor the hurricane forecast. Forecast watch was the first task I was given when I joined the Foreign Desk and it led to this story being reported on and me befriending a US-based, W.African Hurricane Expert. I say “befriended” because he really helped me out with understanding how to understand the graphics, as I knew little to nothing about hurricanes or how to read forecasts lol.”
Have you always dreamt of being a Journalist?
”Always! I always knew I’d be a Creative person as it was all I ever loved, enjoyed, and was naturally good at, without really trying. I was one of those children who was always very analytical, inquisitive & loved anything Media related; I was always reading & listening. Anything to do with Music videos, magazines, books, TV, etc I was so engrossed with!”
When did you get employed at Sky news? What would you say enabled you to secure your role?
”I started at Sky News early Sept. I’d say a combination of my experience, talent, drive, belief & network helped me get in there.”
What type/kind of journalism are you doing?
”My role is a Researcher on the Foreign Desk- I basically find more information about a story that might be of interest to our UK audience and help give it more flesh.”
How is it in the newsroom? What challenges do you face as a young journalist?
”The newsroom is busy! Everyone’s working on something. Sky News is a 24hr supplier of news so it’s very nonstop and especially now, with COVID we’re having video meetings regularly throughout the day with different teams, to ensure a clear and transparent dialogue is being had as a team about the stories that we’re trying to tell. Challenges- Hm, as a young Journalist the challenges I face, I’d say maybe involves me not using my voice as much as I probably should, I think. I’m growing though and have noticed a significant difference and it’s something that is improving as I progress & develop in the field. Another thing would be, COVID. COVID has and is affecting us all. I’ve just started at Sky & it’s really hard to meet people in the newsroom because of the restrictions. Human contact is important.”
Which local and or international journalist(s) inspired you?
”Christiane Amanpour from CNN. I LOVE her voice and her disposition.”
As changes are inevitable and everyone is entitled to one, where would you want to be in the next 5 years? What are your aspirations?
”I don’t have a “5-year plan” but there are things that I want to do and will do, one being; becoming a seasoned Foreign Correspondent.”
What would be your message to other young journalists coming up or those that are dreaming of becoming one in Sierra Leone?
”I don’t know anything about Journalism in the SL but what I will do, is reflect on what I’ve done & what I say to myself every day- stay focused. Remember what your younger self felt at the time you discovered your creative fire burning within you and to ensure it continues. Never stop dreaming, wishing, hoping, or having faith. Work towards the fire still staying alight, no matter what. Focus on God because people from all walks of life; friends, family, teachers, neighbors, colleagues, etc will try and make you change your course for whatever reason. Also, bring who you are (at whatever point you are in life), into your work. This is one of the few professions where this actually works in favor of you!”