Following the fads, not knowing the basics as well as missing not promoting or showcasing quality in every news items produced will make an average journalist to be seen as one of the ‘wannabees’. Media professionals of today must rigorously pursue excellence, professionalism on whatever they do. The profession can no longer tolerate battering from charlatans who daily present themselves as journalists. But it is obvious the quality of news items they share betray their claims. Substandard are now everywhere. The call today is that if media professionals must do it right, they also need to know the basics and x=stick to these so as not to join the bandwagon.
The above and many others viewpoints were some of the opinions of experts who spoke at Africa Foundation For Young Media Professionals’ virtual meeting with the theme “Mastering News, feature, Op-ed and Exclusive story writings”
Dr Seyi Soremekun, the National Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre, Abuja Nigeria who represented the Country Director of the Organization (Roland Kayanja) started the session with his focus on ‘The Arts of Mastering Feature writing”. According to Dr Seyi, everyone who wants to write great feature story must understand the basics which include: “Planning the feature, finding a topic, focus on real people, facts and statistics must not be confused with conjectures, getting experts opinions and staying on the big picture must not be compromised”.
On her own part, Chioma Ezenwafor, a Broadcast Journalist with the Nigeria Info, Wazobia FM in Port Harcourt; who spoke on “The dynamics of News writings” emphasised that “news writing is fast phase and must be timely”. Beyond this it is not new writing if it does not follow basic principles of journalism”. Mrs Chioma Ezenwafor also stressed the need to ensure news writing has facts and major issues are presented first. It is no longer fanciful to have the best news items in a story at the bottom of the news writing.
Dr Jane Waweru, a journalist and lecturer at the Mass communication department, University Of Nairobi Kenya hammered on grammar and editorial issues. According to her “No one wants to read a piece that is fraught with many grammar and typo errors”. So it is the responsibility of any news item writer, which include Op-ed she focused on, “To first be sure that grammar and other basics issues are adhered to”.
On her part, Lois Udegbe of Centre For Investigative Journalism and Development(CJID) who spoke on Exclusive Story writing said “No one can write a great and exclusive report without facts, sources and lots of cross checking”. For an exclusive story, without quality sources and good relationship with relevant stakeholders, the goa; will be defeated”.
In term of sources protection, Lois Udegbe said “It is not every sources that should be protected. Sources anonymity should depend on whether naming can destroy or cause a harm or injury. Without this, sources must be quoted” so say Lois Udegbe. To Lois Udegbe, an expert who gave facts and figure to buttress the story does not need any anonymity.
While closing the session, Yinka Olaito, The Executive Director of Africa Foundation For Young Media Professionals that the faculty for such a rich in sights shared with participants of are about 40 and encouraged that the incorporate learnings in the writings henceforth, Participants were majorly early career journalists and a few undergraduates who are studying Mass communications or media.
The workshop was jointly organized by Nigeria Grassroot News and Africa Foundation for Young media Professional