Professional Online Journalists Admonished On Ethics, Fairness At Journalist Hangout Organizes By Ibadan Media

Journalists, especially those who operate online have been urged to embrace professionalism in the discharge of their duties.

This was one of the focal points at the Journalists’ Hangout organized by Ibadan Media in partnership with Pixels Digital Photography at the Kakanfo Inn, Ibadan on Sunday.

While driving home his point about journalism being the best profession, Mr. Femi Johnson, the Director of News, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Ibadan Network Centre, disclosed that journalists need to carry themselves with courage and dignity.

“Who says you must not dress well?” he asked rhetorically. “Who says you must eat everywhere you go? As a journalist, you are an image-maker. Money and fame will come, it will take time but you must remember your integrity”, he said.

In his keynote address, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to the Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde noted that traditional media have as much online presence as new media professionals. He, therefore, advocated for polish and finesse among online journalists.

He said, “you’ve got to do it well because if you don’t, they will push you out of the market”. He also made a differentiation between journalists and bloggers; “when you run a blog, you are not basically a journalist. Journalism has got its own line. It has to discover the w’s and h, if not you are just trying to converse with us. Professionalism is the key to distinguish”.

Speaking further, Adisa said “some of them (online journalists) have distinguished themselves in exclusives. They got them by professionalizing their activities. House style is a quality of the traditional media”.

He also posited that those with training in the traditional media do better when they come online because they have done journalism the hard way. “The training pushes them higher”, he said. Urging online media professionals to be cautious, the Chief Press Secretary gave some tips. “Make sure that your facts are facts; know that you cannot break every story and when you recycle stories, your traffic drops, so stick to the fact of the matter”.

Also speaking on ethical standards, Adisa observed that “a lot of online media outfits pick press statements and slam them just like that. When you do that, you have not put anything professional. If you do like that, you are not doing well for journalism. A press statement is a raw material”.

In his address, Mr Tunde Busari, the Chairman of the Tribune Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists urged journalists to avoid plagiarism, unverified stories, poor use of the English language and biased reports. He also appealed to journalists to get a proper understanding of Nigeria’s libel law.

One of the discussants, Demola Babalola of The Punch newspaper said journalists should run away from fake news, be credible and trustworthy. He also tasked journalists to take their security seriously. He gave examples of media professionals who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Former President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Lanre Ogundipe warned journalists against the ‘brown envelope’ syndrome as he harped on discipline and integrity as watchwords.

The event, put together by Olanrewaju Ola of Ibadan Media, sponsored by Pixels Digital Photography with inputs from Olanrewaju Agiri drew time tested journalists like Olayinka Agboola, the Publisher of Parrot Xtra Magazine, Bisi Oladele, the South West Bureau Chief of The Nation Newspaper, Alhaji Akeem Azeez, the Personal Assistant to Governor Seyi Makinde, Niyi Alebiosu, Chairman, Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Oyo State Chapter, Tunde Ayanda and Samson Akindele, News Editor, Fresh FM, Tunde .