Journalist Atta Poku on starting something new and returning home to Ghana

In this alumni profile multimedia broadcast journalist and educator from Ghana Atta Poku talks about how he is using his Mundus experience to better journalism practices and journalism education in Ghana.

2019.01.07 | Sabeen Jamil

Atta Poku

For many Mundusians, life continues to progress abroad after graduation. But Atta Poku has found his calling closer to home. After specialising in Media and Politics from Amsterdam, the keen broadcaster and avid football fan decided to return home to Ghana and became a multimedia broadcast journalist and communications educator. 

In his day’s work, Atta creates content for Kessben Media Group’s website and television and radio sports show. He teaches research methods and broadcast production to undergraduate media students at Christian Service University.  And he appears in political talk shows as a guest political analyst where he comments on political developments in Ghana and in Europe. 

In addition to his job as a journalist and educator, Atta spends a great deal of time motivating young Ghanaians among his students to apply for the Mundus Journalism program and venture out on a journey that, in Atta’s words, changes you for life. “And for the better,” he says.  

Atta himself was inspired to apply for Mundus after he read about Teke Jacob Ngomba on the Mundus Journalism Website. Teke is a Mundus Journalism alumnus (2006-2008) from Cameroon who went on to gain a PhD from Aarhus Universitet. He now works as an associate professor in the university’s media studies department - which has the added benefit of getting to teach Mundusians, a nice career circle for Teke. 

Says Atta: “I was a young broadcast journalist hosting a radio Breakfast show called Daybreak in Ghana, looking for opportunities to progress my career, when i read about Teke.” I was motivated by his story. Like me, he came from Africa too. I thought that Mundus could be my career progression like him.”

I wanted to help with the situation in Ghana. Here I could have more impact than I would have if I had stayed in Europe.

Atta graduated from the programme with the aim to continue to doctorate studies. But before he went on with his plans for PhD, he decided to come back home first. “I wanted to help with the situation in Ghana. Here I could have more impact than I would have if I had stayed in Europe.”

Atta is also using his impact in the media industry in Ghana to better the practice and education of journalists. His connections and learnings from Mundus Journalism have been a great help to this end, he says. 

In his classes, Atta uses literature that professors in Denmark and Amsterdam introduced. “All that material has been a very useful resource in teaching in Ghana,” he says. In his work, for example, Atta is using the writing and audience engagement techniques that he learnt during the Analytical Journalism course which was taught in Aarhus. “This has helped me to write in a way that engages my audience better,” he says.

In addition to literature, Atta uses the connections that he made during his studies to help his students write cross-national journalistic reports and conduct international interviews. What is more, Atta is using his Mundus Journalism connections to help establish a Center of Journalism Studies at his university in Ghana and start a master’s degree programme in communications which will be modelled along the lines of the Mundus Journalism specialisation in Amsterdam. Because of his academic activities, Atta has received the highest score of all lecturers at the Department of Communication in annual student evaluations for two consecutive years. 

With his background of living in two European countries and graduating in Media and Politics, Atta has also established his expertise as a political analyst on television talk shows where he is often invited as a guest. Atta’s insights on European politics receive special merit on talk show discussions. Atta credits his knowledge about European politics to courses that were taught at Amsterdam. One such course involved a trip to Brussels where Atta and other Mundusians learnt about the working and organisation of the European Union. Atta says that because of the knowledge that he gained through these courses, he is able to explain EU politics better than how he would have analysed issues before starting Mundus Journalism. He says this has given him a competitive advantage against other analysts on television.  

Atta is soon venturing out for a PhD in Hong Kong with a plan to finish his degree and come back to Ghana to supervise activities of the master’s programme and the  Journalism Centre that he is working to establish these days.  

As applications for the next round of Mundus Journalism Program close on 10th January, Atta encourages students from all over the world to apply. “I recommend everyone to join this programme. It changes your life!” 

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