It is indeed a paradox of journalism development that a weeklong conference organized by the aristocracy of the Nigerian mass media, the Guild of Editors (NGE) could be described as underreported. Unfortunately, that was what happened recently in Port Harcourt.
How should we contextually report that events organized by supervisors of reporters (editors) of other people, other organizations’ events could not supervise the same reporters that covered or should have covered their event? Should we say the reporters who should not be supervised to cover an open event failed us? Or should be say this lamentation is a reflection of the state of the newsrooms that have un-enterprising and unskilled reporters at the moment?
And, in the main, who should be blamed for the production and recruitment of young graduates of even Journalism and English language who cannot watch, listen and report on events, peoples and places these days? The answers to these few questions will blow in the wind for a long time until we come to ourselves, and begin to ask where the rains began to beat all of us. Yes, all of us that once upon a time attended good schools and were mentored too by excellent reporters and editors most of who were not graduates, anyway.
Let us move way from the book of lamentation on standards to the field where we almost failed the nation on an important theme of the just concluded All Nigerian Editor’s Conference (ANEC) in Port Harcourt.
The theme of the conference: Economic Diversification: Agriculture As Option For a Prosperous Nigeria (3-7 August 2016) was timely and significant and most participants said so. What’s more, resource persons were the ones even Peter Drucker could be pleased with and tag as “knowledge workers” even in global context. You would agree with me that topics on agriculture would not be attractive to reporters in a milieu where only most political people, places and events make the news all the time.
But the resource persons who are very educated commercial farmers in Nigeria (not from Zimbabwe, please) were the difference makers at the well-attended conference. But as usual, the politically exposed figures at the conference, notably the Governors of Rivers State, the State of Osun, the Minister of Information and Culture and representatives of the Governors of Plateau, Niger, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and representative of the INEC Chairman, etc stole the show.
Most people must have watched and read the opening and closing ceremonies on television and some newspapers.
Besides, the other story that must have caught the attention of most interested observers about Port Harcourt 2016 was confirmation of Mrs Funke Egbemode as President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors.
But most Nigerians at such a time like this when oil and gas sector as the mainstay of our economy is a cause for concern, must have missed the significant gains of the conference, no thanks to our reporters who might have escaped after the opening ceremonies and returned for the closing ceremonies and the gala night at the Government House (as usual) where the deputy governor of Akwa ibom, a veteran journalist was inducted as a Fellow of the Guild.
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