By Emmanuel Precious
29th of July was a day I had been looking forward to. Press Club Mapoly had a Media Tour to Opera News and The Nation Newspaper which are both located in Lagos.
I, together with the executives and other members of the club moved from Abeokuta to Lagos in the early hours of that day. We first visited Opera News at Allen Avenue, Ikeja.
Opera News is a multinational brand and a digital news media in Nigeria. It is managed by the Chinese.
The Product Manager, Mr Hassan, was our Tour guide. He introduced us to the team in the organisation.
Timi’s team is responsible for editing before it goes online. Do you know the notification from Opera news that pops up on your phone every time? Yes, Kingsley’s team oversees it.
Every comment users make goes to the operations team for user feedback handled by Kenneth.
We were also taken to the video department, which is in charge of videos, quality of the video. They also control the users.
Still on Opera News Tour, we met Toyin who works on Natural language Processing (NLP). The NLP teaches the computer to understand human language. It controls content recommendation to Artificial intelligence (AI). They are also in charge of training the AI.
The AI is like a technical solution. It is a tool built for a purpose. It has been trained with a lot of experiments to make it work. It recognises images and satisfies human interests.
Lastly, we met the Team Lead for Opera News in Nigeria, Mr Collins Udoma, who charged us to go beyond our classroom wall, to be consistent and determined.
On our departure, we were given small chops and drinks. We were also gifted souvenirs — shirts, pens, and key-holders. We took a lot of pictures and, I must confess, it was a great time with Opera News.
We left Ikeja and headed to The Nation Newspaper at Mushin. On arrival at 2:30 pm, we were received by Mr Alao Abiodun, an online reporter who was our tour guide for the day.
He guided us to the Online room where we met Sunday Oguntola, an online editor. Later, we went to the weekend desk — it was given that name because they only produce content on Saturday and Sunday.
We also met an editor who happens to be among the early members of Press Club Mapoly in the year 1998. He made us understand that Newspaper is the bedrock of Mass communication — I agree with him on this.
“A newspaper must be attractive for sale, a news story must have a good design else it won’t be attractive.
“The weekend newspaper is basically a follow up of what has happened during the week and it is meant for relaxation, it is usually about sports and entertainment but recently there is politics and business.
“In the world of Journalism, there is always a Deadline, and The Nation is no exemption, the deadline for the story to come in is 5 pm.
“The Nation prints in Port Harcourt, Lagos and Abuja to serve the interest of the people,” he said.
Now, the part of the tour which I found most interesting was the Yoruba News Desk of The Nation Newspaper which is Gbélégbọ. Gbélẹgbọ is the opposite of The Nation Newspaper because it is majorly written in the Yoruba language with every necessary intonation through the use of software made in the Centre for African Language. We were gifted copies of Gbélègbọ for our library.
Its focus is to bridge the gap between the present youth and the Yoruba culture. The loss of culture in this generation birthed Gbélégbọ. After all, the first newspaper in Nigeria was written in Yoruba. So it is meant to showcase our language and heritage as well as entertain the youth.
Lastly, we were guided to the production section where newspapers are printed.
The Press Club Media Tour was indeed an eye-opener to the Media world. It was a remarkable experience. We made history.
Precious Emmanuel is a first-year student of MAPOLY and a member of Press Club MAPOLY.
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