Dangote Group, recently held a capacity-buildingsession to equip journalists with the requisite skills knowledge needed toboost their reporting and adapt effectively to the dynamic media landscape.
The president of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote chargedmedia practitioners on professionalism and high ethical standard in thedischarge of the duties as the watchdog of the society.
He gave the charge in Abeokuta during a three-daytraining sponsored by the Pan-African conglomerate, for journalists from acrossthe South-West geo-political zone in the country.
Speaking through the senior general manager, Branding andCommunication, Dangote Industries Limited, Mr. Sunday Esan, Dangote said therole of the journalists is very critical in the society as both the governedand the government rely solely on the media for information to better thesociety.
Therefore, he said media practitioners could not affordto be less professional and ethical to meet the yearnings of the societypointing out that was the reason for sponsoring the training which aimed atfine tuning the journalists for modern day expectation in view of the evolutionof the social media.
Meanwhile case has been made for the journalists oftoday to cultivate entrepreneurial spirit and skills in the use of newtechnology in order to remain relevant in the media and communication. The media practitioners were told to always look at the business side of thepractice while discharging their duties.
Speaking one after another during the training themed;‘The Convergence Journalism’ organized by Folio Media & Creative Academy,the resource persons stated that though the ethics of the profession ofjournalism remain sacrosanct, the practitioners must not lose sight of themarketing side of their job.
A communication and Brandmanagement expert, Dr. Victor Ogwezzy, said marketing in the media is everybody’s business withoutwhich no media organization would survive. According to him, mediapractitioners should be mindful of their own personal survival and that of theorganizations in which they are working and take marketing seriously.
He mentioned some newspapers which bothered less aboutmarketing side of the business, but which today are now off newsstand and thusthrowing their workers into the unemployment market.
Besides, Ogwezzy, who is the chief responsibility officer of B2B Matrix Limited, said journalists also have the responsibility toensure contents in their newspapers, radio and television are good enough toattract quality readership and audience which will translate to income throughadvertisement.
He explained that gone where the days were thebusiness of marketing was left purely for the business development executivesin the media organizations and that journalists equally have roles to play inmarketing. He added that some media organizations’ inability to pay theirworkers could be partly attributed to non-recognition of seriousness andimportance of marketing in the media.
Another speaker, a seasoned mediapractitioner who is the director, Special Programmes at the Nigerian Instituteof Journalism (NIJ), Dr. Jide Johnson, underscored the importance of the media in the society,saying no one can do without Newspaper, radio, television, phone, data,airtime, which are examples of media, saying that “Imaging waking up in a dayand there was no more radio, television, newspaper or internet, it would lookas if the world no longer exist.”
According to Johnson, journalists should be consciousof the huge responsibility put on their shoulders by the Nigerian Constitution,which is holding government accountable for its actions and serving as thevoice of the people.
He said journalism today thrives much in technology,making a journalist a global correspondent. He, however, warned journalistsagainst being too emotionally attached to their present employers but learn todevelop their own blogs and upload their works there, which they can laterdevelop into books written by them.
Johnson spoke about the convergence media as asituation where new media platforms have all become major source information somuch so that a modern day media practitioner cannot wish away and of theplatform.
He explained that media practitioners should see thesocial media as a tool to be deployed for efficiency and effectiveness as doingotherwise will impact negatively on the journalists’ job.
Concluding the training session was Mr. LekanOtufodunrin, a former managing editor and a media career development specialiststressed the importance of new media in journalism work and the need for allpractitioners to rise to the occasion.
He regretted that some media practitioners stilldelude themselves by thinking they are gate keepers arguing rhetorically thatsocial media had since dismantled that gate and the access to information hadbeen wide open.
“Without using social media functionally, some of uswill soon be irrelevant in the media profession. With social media, some of uscan be bigger brands than the companies we work for. There is more to socialmedia than social, it is a professional tool for the new age journalist,” hedeclared.
Otufodunrin explained told the participants that usingsocial media is not an option for modern day journalists or media professional,as it can make or mar the progress, they can make in the profession noting thatpublishing online without using social media will not give you maximum reachfor your content.
“There is more to social media than sharing yourcontent, you need to engage with content of others. Social media platforms arenow one of the major sources of information we need as journalists. Replacingpress statements; It is complimentary; It is liberating; It makes us a globalbrand and It enhances our reach,” he noted.
Dangote Group hascontinued to grow its vision of becoming the leading provider of essentialneeds in Food and Shelter in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Group continue to sustain andimprove on its market leadership in Cement Manufacturing, Sugar Milling, SugarRefining, Port Operations, Packaging Material Production and Salt Refining. Inline with its philosophy, it will continue to provide the basic needs ofNigerians.