When editors spoke on business for media survival
Editors and media managers from around the country discuss in Port Harcourt, Rivers State the need to encourage the business aspect of the sector. From Victor Edozie, Harcourt
FPort or five days, from September 20 to 25, over 300 editors under the platform of the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE) were in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to deliberate on issues that will chart a new course for the survival of media industry in the present harsh economic recession.
The conference, with theme “Nigeria Media, Balancing Professionalism and Business,” tagged All Nigeria Editors Conference and Extra Ordinary Convention was the 13th edition. It was also the second hosted by Rivers State government.
The conference afforded participants the opportunity to look into issues that affect the industry as it concerns its survival in a dwindling economy and the welfare of practitioners.
The president of the Guild, Funke Egbemode, stressed the need for editors to be mindful of the demands of the work in a point that they may retire broke.
She said it was time for editors to think of entrepreneurship to take care of themselves just as they think of working professionally. She revealed that an “Editors Business Group” had been set up to guide editors in entrepreneurship.
Egbemode lamented that the media is a besieged and beleaguered industry where the profession and the professionals are not in good standing.
According to her, the recession may be receding in other sectors but not in the media, explaining that media predates the nationally recognized one.
On the whole, the President noted that plans are underway to offer scholarship to children in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp and establish editors farm states in some states and Abuja as part of its corporate social responsibility.
A media expert and chairman, Nigerian Institute of Journalism Governing Council, Mallam Isma’ila Funtua, urged the editors to curb abuses in online and social media platforms.
Funtua who was the chairman of the conference said the media was being attacked by unqualified individuals and Nigeria is the only country where online news is free.
He also enjoined publishers and media owners to pay salaries of their workers, adding that prompt payment would discourage gratifications in the profession.
The keynote speaker and Managing Director of The Interview Magazine, Mr Azubuike Ishiekwene, said for a medium to survive, it has to hire a proven executive director that would have specific measurable business targets.
Ishiekwene who was onetime editor of Punch newspaper and Group Managing Director of Leadership Newspapers Group, said media owners should get sponsorship from any of the global media giants with interest in developing countries.
He also called for the rejuvenation of the ethics and disciplinary committee. He advised that the public should be carried along by providing channels through which they may approach it when they have complaints.
According to him, editors must raise the game as singleminded focus on journalism is the strongest for advocacy.
“Until and unless you get your journalism right and pursue it with single-minded focus, you will be wasting your time. If our profession is in trouble today, it’s because we the professionals have sacrificed on the altar of business poor ethics,” he noted.
The Chairman, Board of Directors, Media Trust Limited, Mallam Kabiru Yusuf, delivered a paper titled “The media as business, the print aspect.”
The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, represented by Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, in a paper titled “Legislative Efforts and Focus on Pro-poor issues, National Assembly perspective,” assured that the National Assembly was alive and sensitive to its constitutional responsibilities and roles.
He said the lawmakers would continue to create the enabling environment to produce “the greatest access to opportunity in a united and prosperous nation for generations yet unborn.”
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom
Funke Egbemode, President, Nigeria Guild of Editors