By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Recently, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, through the office of his Special Adviser on Communities and Communications, headed by Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, took an unprecedented step in the development of local content through community reportage.
The office had organized a three day workshop with the theme: “Rethinking and Revitalising Community Media in Lagos State,” for community media executives, broadcast and print, from July 7-9, at the Hub, 2 Anifowose Close, Off Adeniran Ogunsaya Street, Surulere to give fillip to local media coverage in the state.
Mr. Taiwo Obe, workshop Coordinator, fellow of the Nigeria Guild of Editor and founder The Journalism Clinic, led other facilitators, such as: Pelu Awofeso, Abiola Ayankunbi, Gani Kayode Balogun, Omomeda Ashofor among others, through sessions of the three days event.
Some of the notable community media in attendance included: Oriwu Sun, Ikorodu based, Mushines, Mushin based, Pivot, Epe, Ilupeju Today, kosofe Today, Townwatch News, Lagos Panorama, Epe Times, Isolo Voice, Badagry Prime, Grassroot Newspaper, The Impact, Agege Pulse, among others.
While two representatives from national dailies, namely, Vanguard Media and Guardian Newspaper also represented metro and community aspect.
“The move was borne out of Ambode’s administration stance on government of inclusiveness, where everyone will be carried along irrespective of class, group, sex, religion, ethnic background in the developmental processes of the state.” Bamigbetan stated.
While welcoming the participants, who were over 40 in number, the Special Adviser explained that the workshop was part of effort of the state government to make them participate in the governance of the state. He urged the participants to take full advantage of the workshop saying, “it will benefit you in particular and the state in general.”
According to him, the present administration sees inclusive governance as the process of determining who gets what, how and why from the collective resources of the state and residents to demonstrate commitment by ensuring that all hands are on deck in the task of delivering public goods and public values.
The three-day interactive and hands-on workshop was designed to help owners of community media in Lagos State rethink the way they operate with a view to, not only revitalizing them, but also ensuring they have greater impact on their communities.
“When that happens, they may not even need to close down. The symbiosis would be so tight that even the communities would rise up to helping the media, when the times are hard. Yes, indeed.” Bamigbetan stated. The topics also dealt with the evolution of Nigeria news publishing from the first community newspaper, “Iwe Iroyin Fun Awon Ara Egba.”
Niyi Obafemi, a facilitator, lectured on news-content, features, opinions, among others, on how they are being offered to audiences and communities. He explained how the stories being published could receive sufficient treatments with backgrounds, contexts and appropriate visuals.
They stressed that with introduction of smart phones and tablets, with access to the internet, more citizens are playing the role of journalists by information gathering and dissemination through the social media. Participants agreed that the barriers have literally been pulled down, with many platforms, free tools and applications, the publishing world has become liberalized.
Participants hail LASG/relive experience
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, largest selling community based newspapers in the state, Alhaji Monzor Olowosago, described the workshop “as an eye opener,” to the world of modern ICT in community reporting. Olowosago said: “I want to appreciate our visionary and achiever, Governor Ambode for making this happen through the office of Communities and Communication led by Kehinde Bamigbetan.”
Also Mr. Obafemi Adesanya, Publisher, Pivot Africa Magazine expressed his appreciation to the state government, describing the workshop as apt saying “this workshop has challenged me in revitalizing my ailing business of running community paper. I was on the verge of quitting the business because of the daunting challenge of accumulation of unpaid debts by clients and inadequate fund to run the business.”