Media scholar harps on continuous training for journalists

Dean, School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University, Ajah, Lagos, Dr Ikechukwu Obiaya

A renowned media scholar, Dr Ikechukwu Obiaya, has stressed the need for continuous training for practising journalists in order to meet the changing needs of the profession.

Obiaya, who is Dean, School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University, Ajah, Lagos, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday that training and more training was the only way to deal with the lacuna in reportage in Nigerian media.

According to the media academic, the training should not necessarily be institutional, rather, the individual journalist must be interested in improving himself or herself.

“Journalism is a field in which everybody thinks he or she can be a journalist, and they just jump right in. Whether you have been trained for it before now or not, there has to be continuing education. But are we really meeting the needs in the field?’’ he queried.

The don noted that the lacuna existing in Nigerian media bordered on lack of depth and rigour in reportage of published stories.

He said: “One of the things we have seen and which we are trying to deal with is the lack of depth in stories. The stories are not followed through. Many times, the reader is left asking why?

ALSO READ: Applications open for 2020 World Press Institute Fellowships

“Some other times, there is a bit of a lack of rigour. If you get a press release, for instance, you merely use it like that; it is merely reproduced like that instead of the rigour of putting it in your own words, of adding value or more bits that the audience will need to understand the story better or deeper. I think this is a key area in which there is a gap.’’

The dean counselled journalists in state-run media to be audience-focused to enable them to sell what the government is doing to the people.

“We need to know why is the government not looking after the road in this community. What are the issues? Why are they spending more money on this or that?

“All of these questions need to be broken down and explained to the people, and of course, they are in a better position as state-owned to tell the story of the state, the story of government, that is a key role of journalists in state-owned media,’’ he said.

Obiaya added that it would be a disaster for society if those who are running the media are not well-informed or have a negative agenda.

The dean added that the number of training the School of Media and Communication organised depended on available funds and the willingness of people to participate. (NAN)