The moment people have a first impression of you as a ‘cash and carry’ journalist, it will affect the integrity of your story, you as a journalist and the medium you are writing for. That automatically kills your future in journalism”.– Bisi Oladele, The Nation Newspaper Southwest Bureau Chief
Online journalists have been urged to change their attitude towards money while in pursuit of profitable online news media.
Mr Bisi Oladele, the South-west Bureau Chief of The Nation Newspaper gave the advice in Ibadan while delivering a lecture at a one day seminar organised by the Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria(OMPAN), Oyo State chapter.
The seminar, themed, “Online journalism and media integrity in Nigeria”, was held on Thursday at the Dapo Aderogba Hall, NUJ Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan.
He urged journalists to learn to delay gratification from their sources or clients and concentrate on creating a strong image for themselves and their media.
His words: “Many young journalists want to make money and fame within a year. Unfortunately things don’t work that way.”
“Everybody needs money but not everybody has the same attitude towards money. It is the attitude you have towards money that will differentiate you.
“If you want to exploit every opportunity to make money, you will never go far. Many journalists demand for money as if their clients are owing them, thereby damaging their reputation.
“If all you do is to run after money you won’t see money. It is those who pursue what can bring money that make money.”
According to him, the only thing that can sustain a journalist is the quality of his content and the integrity of his person. “You must learn to delay gratification so that you can keep your integrity as a journalist”, he stressed, adding: “The moment people have a first impression of you as a ‘cash and carry’ journalist, it will affect the integrity of your story, you as a journalist and the medium you are writing for. That automatically kills your future in journalism”.
Mr Oladele went on to explain other factors that online media practitioners need to pay attention to in order to build successful and reputable online media platforms.
He stressed the need to practise good and ethical journalism by generating and disseminating credible and quality content consistently. He emphasized the need for training and re-training by going for courses, lectures, seminars and personally updating oneself in the business.
Before concluding, the lecturer advised online publishers on opportunities available to strenthen their business and ownership structure.
He advised: “Business takes time to mature and flourish. Publishers should know that they won’t generate profit from it immediately. It takes time to build credibility and fame for yourself.
“Different online media can explore partnerships and mergers in order to be stronger by leveraging on individual strengths, sources, expertise and investments.
Speakers at the event include former Chairman of the Oyo State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Wale Ojo-Lanre; current chairman of Oyo NUJ, Comrade Adewumi Faniran, and the Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Oyo State, Barr. Mutiu Agboke.
Ojo-Lanre who was the second speaker, urged online journalists to explore the act of fact-checking which he described as the basis for ethical and serious journalism as well as the road to great news content.
According to him, the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act has opened the space for proper fact-checking by journalists. He described the FOI Act as one of the best things to happen to journalism in Nigeria.
Earlier in his welcome address, Remi Oladoye, Oyo state chairman of OMPAN explained that the seminar was organized to help online media practitioners in the state distingush themselves in the profession.
According to him, OMPAN in Oyo state is doing everything to ensure that nembers observe the ethics of journalism in the discharge of their duties.