COVID-19: How Nigerian news media can navigate through the raging storm

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By Abiola Ayakunbi

The invitation from The Journalism Clinic, run by its Founder/Director, Taiwo Obe, was couched in a few words: “Tough times are here, How should the Nigerian

Juan Senor

media navigate through?
Juan Senor, President, Innovation Media Consulting Group, may shared a few insights and ideas, which may help. Join him, Friday 22 May at noon.”

The facilitator, Taiwo Obe

Punch, chairman

Ted Iwere, publisher, Business Dispatch

STEVE OMANUFEME, MD, INL

Nduka Obaiegbena

A few minutes before noon, the meeting room on the Google Meet app had begun to fill up.
At full steam, the roll included Nduka Obaigbena (President, Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria and Chairman Leaders and Company); Ted Iwere, the pyblisher of Business Dispatch and a former Eidtor-in-Chief and Executive Director, Independent Newspapers Limited, Mrs Angela Emuwa (Chairman of the Board, Punch Nigeria Ltd); Frank Aigbogun (Publisher, BusinessDay); Gbenga Adefaye, (Editor-in-Chief/General Manager, Vanguard Media); Eniola Bello (Managing Director, ThisDay), Edward Dickson (MD/Editor-in-Chief, Tribune Newspapers); Steve Omanufeme (MD/Editor-in-Chief, Independent Newspapers), Musikilu Mojeed (E-in-C/COO Premium Times) and Aliu Akoshile (MD/Editor-in-Chief, Daily Times of Nigeria). Others were: Lekan Otufodurin (ED, Media Career Development Network); Debo Abdulai, (Editor, Nigerian Tribune); Azuh Arinze (Publisher, Yes Magazine); Adedayo Akintobi (Publisher, Today Communications), Emeka Oparah (Vice President, Corporate Communications, Airtel Networks Nigeria); Ray Echebiri (CEO, Centre Financial Journalism); Madu Onuorah (CEO, Global Upfront), Pelu Awofeso, Associate The Journalism Clinic), Abiola Ayankubi (MD, AbingMO3 Management Consultancy); Omayeli Diana Odeli, (a former broadcaster with NTA now based in London); Feyi Smith, Executive Secretary of NPAN and some others.
Senor, who had been guest speaker at the Media Leaders Summit, organised last year by The Journalism Clinic, outlined a set of measures the news media could consider; advising the leaders to ensure that they see the COVID-19 crisis as a great opportunity to effect changes in line with the “changing habits” of their audiences.
As he has always said, “only journalism can save journalism,” therefore the media must produce more content that add value to news that has been broken – journalism worth paying for.
It is imperative, now more than ever before, for the media to make consumers pay for what they consume. There may be other streams of income, he said, but “the most important is Reader Revenue.”
He suggested consolidation in areas such as printing and procurement of paper stock. Should the Federal Government bail out the media as being clamoured in some quarters. Yes, he stressed; because “newspaper is a public utility.”
He said the media could consider reducing not only their pagination but also the frequency of their offerings as some of the areas being covered such as sports and entertainment have been affected by the lockdown.

 



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