An award-winning environmental journalist and presenter at National Television Authority (NTA), Jennifer Uloma Igwe has encouraged campus journalists in University of Ibadan to participate in environmental journalism, asserting that it is not just lucrative but also humanitarian.
She said this in a journalism workshop themed “Fitting into the 21st Century Journalism” organised by the institution’s Faculty of Arts Press Organisation on Saturday, November 16.
Igwe argued that environmental journalism is lucrative as “students across the world are freelancing in that genre of journalism and are being patronized by international media organisations.”
She encouraged the students to strive for excellence and not be discouraged by testimonies that journalism is impoverishing.
While asserting that journalists are not well-paid in Nigeria, she claimed there are international organisations that encourage diligent and passionate journalists with grants.
She said, “when I go for international workshops and fellowships, I see very young people especially from China and Japan; very young! I later found out that they are students who freelance in environmental journalism. They are being appreciated and compensated by international organisations.
“Environmental journalism is not popular in Nigeria and it is one of the reasons our environments are polluted. The issue of climate change is now gaining recognition in the world, yet we seem to be indifferent in Nigeria.
“Although, I will be glad if you see the light in environmental journalism I want you to carve a niche for yourself. If it is entertainment you like, write on it; if you are interested in investigative reporting, go ahead. Just ensure you are driven by passion and be creative. Do not be a head in the crowd but strive to be a shining star.”
Meanwhile, an Editor with the New Diplomat, an online news platform, Dotun Akindele urged the students to make good use of the social media to convey good ideas to the world, as the social media has no boundary.
“As young writers, I would encourage you to use your social media platforms and possibly have a blog to publish your writings. Employers often check such platforms to form an impression about who you are and what you represent.”
Akindele also condemned the recent bill proposing death sentence to people who make hate speeches on the internet, which was sponsored by the deputy chief whip of the Senate, Aliyu Abdullahi.
“I think it is a plot by the government to gag the media. If they are indeed serious about reducing hate speeches and fake news, they should make use of gatherings like this to sensitise young people rather than threatening them with death sentences,” he said.
Odeyinka is a guest writer.