Journalists must re-invent themselves-Bayagbon, Publisher, TheNewsGuru
Publisher of TheNewsGuru Mideno Bayagbon has given journalists tips necessary for exceling in journalism.
Bayagbon who spoke at the February fellowship of Journalists For Christ (JFC) in Lagos at the weekend said, “To excel in journalism there are things you must do. You must get education, be literate, plan for tomorrow.”
A former editor at the Vanguard newspaper, Bayagbon began his journalism in 1980 and rose through the ranks before calling it quit to start his news website via a divine direction.
According Nationalwire.com.ng, the publisher told participants how his interest in journalism developed. “I didn’t get into journalism by accident. My uncle was an editor at Daily Post back then. When he died, they brought him home to the village so many people came wearing suits, he relayed.”
He added that, “Next time I saw the event on the television and I asked my dad who is this man that died whose story is on television? My dad said he was a journalist. I said okay, I also want to be a journalist. I started journalism in 1980.”
Reading from Proverbs Proverbs 4:7, the former Vanguard editor pointed that the world has never been exposed to the kind of information available today. “We never had the kind of knowledge young people now have today,” he said, advising journalists to “Take advantage of the information at your fingertips.”
In some of his points, he encouraged journalists to get educated and get beyond certification. “As a journalist you must learn to write and you must write very well. Today we are churning out educated illiterates; people who can’t write, people who don’t think and who don’t research but having great paper qualifications,” he reiterated.
The former finance reporter who also looked beyond reporting trained participants to look beyond their immediate environment to see what they can do more to better their lot. “I reported finance. I reported energy. You must learn to write, you must learn to invest in yourself. You have to be good in what you are doing. Second rate is not best or you go look for another thing to do. If you are reporting the airport you must be the best there,” he charged.
Continuing, Bayagbon also told journalists to be imaginative. He however shared the importance of running with ideas. “When God gives you an idea you must run with it because if you don’t run with it, the wind will blow it to another person who will run with it,” he said, stating further that journalists must not build their lives on brown envelopes which can never be enough.
“If you are a journalist who depend on brown envelopes you can never do well, you can’t build a house with it, you cannot train your children with it. Instead of brown envelope, depend on God. Don’t build your life on it,” he warned.
Journalists were also tasked on being literate. “Be literate,” he said, stating that literacy goes beyond lecture books and journalists must do everything humanly possible for self-development.
“Being literate goes beyond your journalism books. Ask God for ideas and when you are asking God for ideas, update yourself well with information. Educate yourself,” he advised, encouraging journalists to take advantage of information technology and maximize the social media tools. “Veer into IT, be conversant with Facebook, ask yourself what you can do to make money on Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools.
The world today is about IT, it is about the possibilities you can get on IT. Doctors who don’t embrace IT will go extinct. Think of what you can use your IT to do.” He also predicted that “In 15 years’ time the biggest insurance companies may not have an office. To excel in journalism and be poor is a curse.”
Bayagbon did not end his lecture without telling journalists to always have a future plan. “Plan for your tomorrow,” he said.
Worried about Christians’ failure to often plan ahead, the graduate of University of Nigeria, Nsukka observed that, “At times the plan is done by God for us. It’s so painful that we Christians are running away from having children, we are in serious problem as Christians,” he worried, adding that, “Islam is quietly spreading and Christianity is slowly dying.” He encouraged journalists to “Start planning how many kids you want to have. Plan to give your children good education. Plan for your house; your children and spouse.”
He also encouraged journalists to be interested in financial reporting. “You must begin to read business books, you must be willing to read books. God will give you miraculous helps but you have to be vast and knowledgeable enough.”
Talking about abounding opportunities, Bayagbon said opportunities abound around journalists daily which are also transient. “Opportunities walk pass us daily. Prayer is key. Times are bad in the industry, we must ask God what we can do extra.”