Students of Mass Communication Department of ESGT-Benin University (Ecole Superieure De Gestion Et De Technologie), Republic of Benin, have been counselled to have passion for writing and to be ready to read wide, as well as develop the right communication skills to practice and function well as journalists, as journalism profession is not for all comers.
This advice was given by the Daily Editor of New Telegraph Newspaper, Mrs. Juliet Bumah, when the students, led by the Head of Department of Mass Communication of the university, Dr. Gloria Chigbu-Jacob, visited the Head Office of the Newspaper in Lagos on an industrial visit to acquaint and engage themselves in practical experience of news gathering, packaging and dissemination of newspapers in Nigeria.
For almost three hours, the students were taken through all the nitty-gritty of newspapering from news gathering, editing, production/ printing, marketing to circulation of a newspaper in Nigeria.
While engaging the students in practical experience, they were, however, informed that newspapering begins with news gathering through investigations, press conferences, seminars/ workshops, news research, interviews, press statements/ releases, which are presented as straight news, news analysis, features and interviews.
Besides, the students were also told that the newspaper, apart from its three titles – Daily, Saturday and Sunday, it is grouped into various sections such as Business, Politics, Sports, Education, Health, Metro, Crime and Insight, among others, while the newspaper is printed in three locations in Lagos, Aba and Abuja for effective and efficient circulation across the country.
Accordingly, the students were told that Lagos takes care of the South-West; Aba location takes care of the South-East and South- South, while the North is covered by Abuja printing office.
Bumah, who recalled that the advent of GSM and internet/ Google has made the practice of journalism easier than when reporters were using off-cut and had to visit libraries for research and information, said reporters nowadays resort to Google for information and research on their phones.
But despite the challenges that still characterised the profession, she said, as students, they should brace up for the best, stressing that they should embrace the opportunities thrown on them by working hard and committed to their dream.
“You must love writing and be ready to read voraciously. Journalism is not for lazy people. It is about your feelings and interest in what you are doing and love to do. Nobody can force you into any profession or journalism as students of Mass Communication.
But as journalists, you must know little about everything,” the Editor said. According to her, for them to succeed in the profession, they must be ready to uphold the tenets of the profession as the public rely on journalists as the watchdog of the society.
She, therefore, stressed: “As reporters, you must be sure of the facts of the news you are disseminating to the public; as journalists or reporters should not cook up stories for your Editors, or allow your opinion to override their news judgement, because your opinion is not needed.”
While reiterating that though journalism is very easy nowadays, it is still challenging, Bumah further stated that the profession requires passion and commitment, even as she urged the students to use their phones wisely as journalists