Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Digital technology critical to successful journalism practices – expert 

The Provost of the International Institute of Journalism, Abuja, Dr Emma Shehu, has said that digital technology remains  critical to a successful news agency journalism in the emerging new world order.

He said this on Wednesday in a presentation he made virtually at the ongoing five-day Editorial Management Retreat of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna.

The theme for the retreat is “NAN: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”. Shehu spoke on “The future of news agencies in the era of digital journalism”.

According to him, what is certain is that digital technology should enhance the essential characteristics of news agencies.

“Each minute becomes a deadline because of the multiplicity of competitors, so reports must be transmitted at the earliest; non-stop flow of information – coming as close to real time situations as possible.”

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He said that content complementarity, feature stories, interviews, background articles, opinion pieces, analysis, lists, tables, raw data, ratings, charts, transcriptions and many other materials become even more important for the needs of the clients.

He further said news agencies from developing economies, such as Nigeria, “should see this as an opportunity to reverse the existing information imbalance between the global north and global south”.

He added that a digital era provides a unique opportunity for an online presence on a global level, which must not be taken for granted.

Shehu also sai news agencies from developing countries must explore practical means of publicising their existence consistently, starting with a website that is always current, plus dynamic presence on other social media platforms.

“Affiliations will also be profitable, just as targeted advertisements will be rewarding,” he said. He advised that globally, news content should no longer be in the established template that casts the developing countries in a negative perspective.

“No matter the disaster, civil unrest, famine, war, murder, accidents or political crises, the challenge is to look for those angles that humanise rather than demonise,” Shehu said.

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In addition, he said developmental issues should be brought to the fore, especially in the ways they impact on the lives of the citizens, be they government or private sector projects.

He said that digital technology helps to ensure that the national agency is better able to represent the media of the country at international level or events, and acts as an archive of national historical news and information.

Shehu said that such an agency should become a reservoir, where new media can source for historical news and also become a proper intermediary between government or its policies and other mass media.

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“The agency should consistently review its revenue generation model to fit in with the demands of the time, characterised particularly by a highly competitive media landscape,” he said.

“Human relations management should also be taken into consideration because a skilled and happy worker, equipped with the proper technology, will ensure productivity that brings success to the agency.”


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