Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Journalists Urged to Embrace Online Media

Lagos — Journalists have been charged to utilise social networking media in gathering and disseminating news as digital technology have introduced new dynamics into the profession, warning that, those who remain as 'analogue newsmen' may lose the media space to bloggers and other content creators.

Speaking at the Summit with the theme 'Functional Social Networking for Nigerian Journalists' held at the United Bank of Africa, UBA Headquarters, Marina, Lagos, panelists and participants agreed that the monopoly of what is read, listened to or watched in the society is no longer the preserve of traditional media, hence journalists, editors and media entrepreneurs must adopt necessary digital media skills to reinvent the media and succeed as businesses.

The convener of the summit, Taiwo Obe, in his opening address, stated that there is urgent need for the Nigerian media to tap into the strengths inherent in social media so as to remain in business when the digital revolution is complete. He also called for financial intervention from the banking sector.

The Group Managing Director, United Bank of Africa, UBA, Mr. Phillips Oduoza in his remarks, acknowledged the potentials of social media and the role it has played in the bank's transactions. He said UBA will be in partnership with the Nigerian Media and help substantively in the financial intervention needed for the sector.

Dr. Anderson Uvie-Emegbo during a session " What Does it Profit Us?", said traditional newspapers must reinvent their business model if they have to remain relevant. According to him, "readers no longer wait till the next day when fresh newspaper prints are issued to know what is in the news. News is now at their finger tips because of social media."

He continued; "Newspaper proprietors and editors need to know that their competition is no more the next door newspaper but the reader himself. There is an insatiable thirst for news and they will go for it themselves if you (newspapers) do not bring it to them on time."

Dr Uvie-Emegbo urged editors and journalists to implement the 4Cs- channels, content, customer intimacy and collaboration to succeed in the digital age.

He noted that relay publication, whereby newspapers update their sites with news from the paper will not give them the desired impact.

He also said that the media must go beyond putting a paywall on their sites or marketing traffic but rather to create a dynamic metric-centred model where, according to him, "there are more than 15 ways to monetise content on a website, which traditional media can take advantage of."

Shina Badaru, publisher of Technology Times, said that rather than the media calling for an intervention fund, what the sector needs is a 'rapid intervention force' so as to tackle the problem of ethics. He faulted the situation whereby reporters take stories from online media without consent or give credits, thereby denying content owners the desired revenue.

"This is the reason why a lot of us are not getting paid as we should. This is why the banking and telecom sectors are more lucrative. People download stories from your website and when you asked, he or she will say, it was on the Internet. It is stealing. Calling it intellectual property breach is being decent."

Do you know anywhere you can download airtime of any telecom provider or a bank where you can download money or make free withdrawals? So why should it be tolerated in the media?"

Panelists at the summit spoke in four sessions; Does One Platform Suit All?, What Does It Profit Us?, What Can You Teach Me About Social Media? and Why It Matters In Social Media.

Panelists, editors and other media entrepreneurs at the summit included: Gbenga Adefaye, GM/Editor-in-Chief, Vanguard newspapers; Mideno Bayagbon, Editor, Vanguard newspapers; Tony Onyimah, former Managing Director, The Sun newspaper; Eniola Bello, Managing Director, ThisDay; Mumuni Alao, Managing Director, Complete Sports; Ayo Akikuotu, Simon Kolawole, former Editor, ThisDay; Muhammed Haruna of DailyTrust; Ted Iwere,Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher, Premuim Times.

Others were; Tolu Ogunlesi, Pelu Awofeso,Yomi Omogbeja, Prof. Emevwo Biakolo, Wale Ajayi, Dr. Pius Onabhayedo, Emeka Okoye, Dr. Ifeoma Ameobi amongst others.

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