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ICYM: Good journalism, surest way to survival, profitability, media experts insist

Media stakeholders have said that good journalism remains the surest path to sustainable business survival and profitability and therefore, news media operators must strive to produce and deliver content that their audiences and consumers must consider worth paying for.

They also unanimously agreed that journalism practice must be both mirror healer of the society by regularly driving issues of public concern and significant social impact such as ensuring safer and cleaner oceans in the country.

In a 10-point communiqué entitled: “The Ogere Declaration” issued at the end of a two-day summit convened by The Journalism Clinic in collaboration with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, at TCC Resort and Conference Centre, Ogere-Remo, Ogun State, September 16 – 17 2019, stakeholders observed that though digital technology has disrupted the news media business, the principles and purpose of journalism remain largely the same.

The stakeholders, who comprise media owners, chief executives, editors-in-chief, editors and directors of print, broadcasting, online and community media, and a select group of other media practitioners also agreed that there cannot be digital journalism without the reconfiguration of newsrooms to enhance workflow.

Guest speaker at the event was Mr. Juan Senor, President, Innovation Media Consulting Group based in London. Other resource persons include Founder/Director of The Journalism Clinic, Mr. Taiwo Obe; Tara Agbakoba, legal consultant, PwC and Oba Ayodele Kupoluyi, an ex-officio member of the Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria MIPAN, among others.

It was also resolved that in addition to promoting good journalism, media operators must ensure that advertising revenue must not remain the only source of revenue for the media. Media houses were therefore encouraged to build their brands such that they can leverage them to generate revenue from sources such as events, festivals, book publishing, merchandising, licensing, affiliate marketing and club membership.

Other resolutions include that news websites and not third-party platforms must be the primary destinations for their audiences and communities because the money comes when the article is viewed, watched and touched. Platforms must not be allowed to make money off the operators’ talents and initiatives.

That after the news breaks, the media must continue to develop the story through various techniques made possible by the internet and digital technology to provide answers to questions the consumers want answers to, such as the why, the how and what next.

That the old ways of buying media space have changed as media buyers now deploy data and scientific methods to decide where to place their clients’ ads. Therefore, media owners must collectively work towards providing sales and marketing information which are measurable and verifiable.

That there’s a need for tertiary institutions offering journalism and mass communication courses to review their curriculum to meet the demands of the digital era and that media organisations must imbibe sound corporate governance principles and ensure that their staffers are promptly and adequately remunerated.

That journalism must not only be a mirror but also a healer of the society. Media organisations must therefore regularly drive issues of public concern and significant social impact through campaigns or crusade.

Such campaigns should cover how Nigeria’s oceans can be made safe, how the media should aid credible elections, reduce infant mortality, save indigenous languages from extinction and how to make Nigeria’s security agencies work for, and not against Nigerians.