Wahiba Baha, blind since she was 17 years old, made her first season on 23 June 2015 as a columnist on France 3 Nord Pas-de-Calais. With “Handi’namique”, she walks in the footsteps of Frédéric Zeitoun or Philippe Croizon.
Handicap.fr: Do you consider yourself more as a columnist or journalist?
Wahiba Baha: Good question. Chronicler, yes, of course. Journalist, I do not know … I’m journalistic, I’m curious. When I prepare my topic, it is me who questions the people on the phone, who writes, who seeks the guests … As long as the subject touches disability, writing leaves me carte blanche. And then I realize my daily press review, I read a lot to document myself. But I do not have a press card.
H.fr: Were you destined to animate a chronicle on TV?
WB: As a teenager, I wanted to make a career in psychology. In general, I have always been interested in everything related to the transmission of knowledge, communication, human relations. At 17, I became blind following a detachment of the retina. I had a BEP switchboard to learn Braille but, to find work, it was the galley …
H.fr: How were you put in contact with France 3?
WB: As part of my job, we set up an action to drive blind people. As press relations officer of UNADEV (National Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired), I had sent a communiqué to the channel, which then invited me on their set. After talking with several employees, I said to myself, “Well, they do not have a disability column . ” This is a subject that affects thousands of people in the North. I offered them the idea and they asked me to send them a project that was finally validated. (The chronicle takes place every other Tuesday in the Nord Pas-de-Calais Matin show, around 10 am, editor’s note).
H.fr: Neophyte, did you quickly feel comfortable facing the camera?
WB: It’s simple: the camera, I do not see it (laughs).
H.fr: What topics do you cover in your column?
WB: The first few months, I was dealing with positive information related to disability and current events: ski departures, Valentine’s Day, summer holidays … Now, I am more nuanced in my remarks.
H.fr: That is to say?
WB: All is not perfect in life, so when there are failures, it is important to talk about it. I try to say that we can always do better, while adding that there are things or actions implemented to get by. For some time, I have been welcoming guests more regularly. Also, I adapt and am attentive to criticism. It was only my first year.
H.fr: You intervene at France 3 as a volunteer …
WB: That’s true, but I’m still learning. As for the gesture, the way of expressing myself, I continue to gain experience and deepen my knowledge of the media world. And then the realization of my column enters my working time at UNADEV where, in addition to being in charge of press relations, I am trainer office and multimedia for visually impaired people.
H.fr: Do not you want to invest more in your function of journalist / columnist?
WB: Obviously, it’s something that interests me. But, as I said, I still have to learn. After, why not broadcast the chronicle on the national edition of France 3 or become a freelancer? I am a great reader, I am interested in a lot of things.
H.fr: Still in the disability field?
WB: Not necessarily. I would see myself dealing with fashion for example.
H.fr: Well, what do you think of these disabled models who are gradually appearing on the catwalks or, recently, this young girl with Down syndrome who made the buzz by saying that she wanted to make her profession?
WB: I want to say, “Finally! “. It reminds me of the Middle Ages where people with disabilities were exhibited because they were deformed, to make fun of them. It is a nice nose to the History to see that today some parade and symbolize the beauty, the dream …