Recently, The Journalism Clinic (TJC), and telecoms giant, Airtel Nigeria, collaborated to train 100 journalists across four Nigerian cities in four weeks of in-depth training. In this interview, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, who was a guest at the event, gave insight into the ongoing transition in the Nigerian media. Ayorinde, a former editor at
The Punch newspaper, a multiple award-winning journalist, and CEO of Relentless Media, told DAYO EMMANUEL, a participant at the Lagos centre, that digital journalism is the ultimate future of the media.
I observed that just about three participants from the traditional media turned up for the Airtel Change Your Story training at the Lagos centre. Naturally, one would have expected more participants from the traditional media. What do you think is the future of the traditional media in the face of encroaching new media?
Going by the dynamics and the change we are experiencing, what is not in doubt is the fact that the paradigm has shifted. The digital is here and it would be our future ultimately. So there is really nothing like traditional media anymore; may be the carcass still exists and has not been buried yet, but it would soon be buried. However, when I say ‘soon,’ it is not necessarily going to be a year, four, or five years. But of course, we understand that change is a difficult thing to accept. Some are still a bit reluctant as it is with the profession, but we should understand that people are still slow in appraising the new media, but that is the reality of our time. By the time these things come, how many traditional media houses will still be existing? Without convergence, we cannot say all the traditional institutions will go down, they may adapt by convergence; it means they would embrace the digital reality. Part of what they would also realise is that digital is not just doing blogging or online publishing, all these things will come together and redefine journalism. I suppose it will be an interesting future in the near future. Like in everything, people adapt; but they would be forced to
adapt or fall out.
Have you also noticed that the beauty of prose we used to enjoy in traditional print journalism is being taken away by bloggers, who always prefer few words and large pictures? Are we going to live with the death of this beautiful media menu as well?
Good editorials, exhaustive features, will still have their place in the digital age; they would be the postal boys of digital journalism. What the majority want to read about are short texts, big pictures, but the traditional media that will survive will still have the beautiful prose, lengthy interviews and features on their online platform. Remember for example in 2012, 2013, President Obama made a case for bail out for media organisations in America. His argument was that we can’t leave journalism to the social media alone, because
there won’t be debate, voices about ethics and credibility. So the condiment which the traditional media have is the same good old journalism, beautiful prose, lengthy articles, will still excite you if you belong to the intelligentsia class. It will still be there, but it won’t be the way they are now, and they will still need to add
In the light of all these in the newsrooms, how do you advise media managers? There are few of them who are into training of younger journalists, but largely, it seems nobody cares about the transition period the media is going through. What is your advice?
They should wake up to the reality. Particularly those those are comfortable financially. They shouldn’t just mouth their readiness; they should also provide training to ensure that their workers are ready for the new dawn. So training is key, I know that The Guardian, The Nation to an extent are into it. They should improve on this. Those that are already doing it should be encouraged; those that are struggling also need to know that without necessary tools and training for their staff, the rate of survival is going to reduce, so they should wake up.