Online Journalists Must Think Creatively to Succeed in Contributing to Nation Building – Professor Pate

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

Professor Umaru Pate of Bayero University, Kano, said for online journalists to succeed in contributing to Nation building, they must think creatively and creditably.

The mass communication lecturer who stated this in his presentation titled: “The Role Of New Media In Nation Building” at the ‘Maiden Public Lecture/Awards Presentation, organised by Arewa Online Publishers’ Association (AOPA), charge the online journalists to emphasize on visual contents, strong business element, earn trust of the audience, invest in technology, collaborate, use data and entrench use of AI in the newsroom.

He explained that Nation building is a process that requires many elements including credible journalism, adding “the future lies with the new media: let us understand its workings, invest in the technologies and use it to build our nation

“Our media (conventional and online) need total public support to promote democracy, accountable governance and nation building. When the media does well, the society does well.

“Our online media should know that it’s only the truth that can set us free to build a nation and there will be no human rights without justice, what matters is the information not what you think; the truth not the reporters’ political, ethnic or religious persuasion is the matter.

“Lets nurture our young ones; not confuse them about Nigeria, have in-depth knowledge of the complexities of Nigeria and the world; it is important for journalism of relevance. In a sea of disinformation and authoritarianism, let us stand for vision, mission and values”

According to him, most journalists in Nigeria (80%+) use the internet in news gathering and processing including audio and video and that no one buys newspapers anymore, as most people now read on the internet.

“There is a paradigm shift: increasingly the traditional media is loosing the young people as they go to Youtube, Google, etc. Focus on the underserved
Our media may need to intensify the following: Integrate content with voice, AI and assure feedback.

“Layered content: interesting stories, investigative reports, analysis, features, know your audience and how they interact with their devices; don’t underestimate the importance of prompts and use voices extensively and encourage multidisciplinary teamwork.

“The new media have extensively and profoundly changed the practice of journalism and other media related activities in the country especially in gathering, processing and dissemination of content in real time and across space.”

Earlier in his opening remarks, General Coordinator of AOPA, Dominic Uzu, said the association is a child of necessity which has come at this time that the country is faced with numerous challenges, ranging from Hate speech, Fake News, Yellow Journalism, Banditry, Kidnapping and other social vices.

“It is equally important to note that we are Online journalists, professionally qualified and practising across the 19 Northern states and Abuja with a clear vision of championing development through our reportage across the region, taken into cognisance the disadvantage position of the region as far as media coverage is concerned.

“Our main focus as journalists based in the North today is to try as much as we can to strike a balance in the lop-sidedness of media coverage of the region through our online medium. It is a known fact that the North is under reported and when it is been reported at all, Fake news takes the larger space.

“In trying to change the narrative, we AOPA since that seems to be the only alternative and we designed a template that will enable our members occupy the social media, hence the reason for this public lecture.

“As trained journalists who are committed to objectivity, fairness, factual and balanced reporting, the association is appealing to all stakeholders governments, corporate organisations, politicians etc, to
join hands with us to fight this monsters called Fake News and Hate Speech. We will be approaching the authorities in the region to device a better ways of training and recruiting citizen journalists who have no knowledge of journalism yet, they occupy the social media and
encourage practising journalists to embrace online journalism as doing so will help combat the ugly head of Fake News.” He explained.

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