21st Century Community Journalism Is Digital-Driven, Says Experts
-Enjoined practitioners to be statistically inclined to attract big patronages
Community media practitioners in Lagos State have been told that they have to be technologically savvy and digital-driven if they are to cover their communities effectively and remained relevant.
This was the resolve at the end of the 3day workshop organized by the Taiwo Obe’s Journalism Clinic and sponsored by the Lagos State Government under the auspice of the Office of the Special Adviser on Communications & Communications, with the theme, “Rethinking & Revitalising Community Media in Lagos State”, held between Thursday, July 7 and Saturday, July 9, 2016, at 2, Anifowoshe close, off Adebola Street, Surulere, Lagos.
The workshop was designed to help community media publishers, editor-in-chiefs and editors in the state rethink the way they operate and make greater impact on their communities.
Speaking at 3day workshop, the Special Adviser on Communities & Communications to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Kehinde Bamgbetan said that the Lagos State Government is poised to develop for Lagos State, vibrant communities with the community media playing important roles.
He stated that, “the governor’s resolve to protect, promote and propagate inclusive governance also requires partnering with the community media which are effective vehicles in the communities.
“His Excellency, Mr Akinwumi Ambode is thus very much bothered about the state of the community media in Lagos State which also constitutes major part of small scale businesses the government is working very hard to develop and made self-sufficient and this is why this training is being sponsored to help publishers, editor-in-chiefs and editors of community media in Lagos State in modern way of media practice with the aim of revitalizing and refocusing them and there is no other person to do that better than Mr Taiwo Obe’s Journalism Clinic which has trained many on the field”
The workshop coordinator, Mr Taiwo Obe who is also the Founder/Director, Journalism Clinic, emphasized that the aim of the training was to refocus the practitioners and armed them with necessary tools to develop a profitable media practice.
Mr Obe charged the participants to start owning their communities and explore the wide range of possibilities available to media practitioners in today’s world especially the ones provided by the new media. He added, “You need to start connecting with your people, make yourself visible, report what is important and valuable to them and embrace the new technology if you are to succeed in your practice”
Mr Omomeda Ashofor, the General Manager, Universal McCom and shrewd media agent shocked the participants during his class when he stated that they have no good news from him.
“I know that you guys want big advertisements in your publications but I have no good news for you. You can never make it to the big league by appearing on the same table which determines where I will advise my clients both local and international to place their adverts. But all is not lost if you can stop trying to compete with national dailies and adequately take control of your own space”
He however stated, “Your single biggest advantage is the ability to interact with the local community. Winning will depend on combining your local editorial content with proper demographic target. The media agencies are tasked with using scientific data to select and plan media to be used by the advertisers in exposing product messages” Mr Ashofor advised.
For the three days, community media functionaries were taking through intensive trainings by big players in the industry in areas of development of community media from 1859 till date, challenges, content development, modern art of graphics design, technology and the new media as it affects traditional media practice, digital marketing, developing statistics to show strength and weaknesses to attract advertisers, book keeping and accounting methods, and making community news medium point of reference in their areas of operation among many others.
At the end of the three day training in various aspects of modern day media practice, the resolve of the participants was that community media practice would have been more engaging and profitable if practitioners have been taken seriously and exposed to trainings like the current state government through the Office of the Special Adviser on Communities & Communications to Governor of Lagos State is doing.
The community media practitioners most of whom were experiencing such training for the first time could not hide their feelings about how impactful the trainings were on them.
Speaking at the end of the 3day workshop, Mr Oluwatoba J. Daramola, Supervising Editor, Town Watch, an Ikorodu-based community paper, said, “It was an eye opener and if many of us had being exposed to these kind of trainings we would have done many things differently and possibly we would have gone far in our practice”
Also speaking with THE IMPACT, Mr Fola, the publisher, Badagry Times, stated that, “It was a great opportunity that was provided by the Lagos State Government through the Journalism Clinic for the community media practitioners and I can assure you that our lives will never be the same again. The training though tough, was impacting and very helpful. We need more of it”
Other participants at the workshop are the publisher/editor-in-chief of Oriwu sun Newspaper, Alhaji Monzor Olowosago, publisher/reporter-in-chief, THE IMPACT Newspaper, Kunle Adelabu, publisher of Pivot Magazine, Mr Femi Adesanya, head of Town Watch Newspaper graphics department, Mr Tosin and Mr Tunde Bello among others.
Workshop Resource Persons
The coordinator of the workshop, Mr Taiwo Obe, is the Founder/Director, Journalism Clinic. He has a track record in world-class journalism both in local and international publications, including The Guardian, Newswatch international magazine, This Week and Media Review among others.
Other resource persons from which about 50 community media practitioners in the state benefitted from during the three day workshop are, Mr Kayode Awobadejo, Chief Executive Officer, HOA Ventures with vast experience in business development, production planning, marketing and credit control in the media sector. He had been part of the management in Concord Press, Peachtree Communications and Continental Broadcasting, Mr Paul Awofeso, a travel journalist, author and past winner CNN/Multichoice African Journalist Award in the tourism category, Mr Abiola Ayankunbi, a marketing specialist with at least two decades of experience in newspaper marketing in Nigeria and an author and Mr Omomeda Ashofor, General Manager, Universal McCann Nigeria. He had been Airtel as Senior Manager, Media Operation; Director, Media Strategy and Implementation and Head, Media Strategy and Planning at Capital Media among others.
Also, Mr Gani Kayode Balogun, a holder of MBA in marketing with over two decades of experience and pedigree in newspaper space sales and marketing and much sought-after for his pungent public affairs analysis on radio and television, Mrs Funke Treasure Durodola, the General Manager, Radio One, Lagos with eclectic broadcast experience in presentation, production, reporting and training. A multi-award winner, Mr Ogbenyi Egbe, ranked in the top 3 of master designers of publication of all forms in Nigeria and highly respected in the computer graphics industry, Mr Arthur Kunle Falayi, a certified multimedia and investigative journalist and multiple award winner who is also skilled in video editing, audio editing and voice-overs, Mr Niyi Obaremi, a quintessential and award-winning newsman who had worked as sub–editor/rewrite on NTA Network News; Line editor at The Guardian, Group News Editor at the National Concord and Deputy News Editor at Daily Champion, Miss Blessing Olisa-Akaeze, a young and outstandingly-creative multimedia journalist and digital content creator with The Nation Newspaper and Mr Olatunji Cole, a chartered accountant and consultant with vast experience in the field.
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