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By Kunle Ogedengbe
25 October 2015   |   11:44 pm
THE second annual conference of Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals (ACSPN) held in Lagos, September 2 through 3, with the theme, “Communication Education and Practice in the Age of New Media” had participants from across the country.
Prof Idowu Sobowale

Prof. Idowu Sobowale

THE second annual conference of Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals (ACSPN) held in Lagos, September 2 through 3, with the theme, “Communication Education and Practice in the Age of New Media” had participants from across the country.

A special panel discussed the ”Challenges and Opportunities of the Digital Media Economy” with the Chief Executive Officer of Bytesize, Mrs. Bukola Akingbade, delivering the lead presentation on “Nigeria and the Global Digital Media Economy”.

Besides the benefits of networking, sharing of knowledge, testing new researches, and comradeship, the conference also brought past details that are seemingly lost to the fore. As underlined by the Chairman of Board of Trustees of the association, Prof. Idowu Sobowale, OON in one of the sessions noted that in spite of the fact that Daily Times was an household name in Nigeria years back, the newspaper was not a common knowledge in Akungba in the present day Kogi State of Nigeria then.

Relayed a personal experience as a reporter with the Daily Times during the Nigerian civil war, he said he and his colleague were in the area and they were mistaken for the enemy. He said their claim that they were journalists with the Daily Times did not ring a bell, because it was only New Nigeria newspaper they knew disclosing that the arrival a man who lived in the city and had about the Daily Times saved them.

Prof. Sobowale highlighting how financially buoyant newspaper business was said that Daily Times was ready to charter three planes to cover the burial of the Nigeria Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi in 1966 doubting if any media house could attempt that now.

The professor of journalism supported the position that success is not a function of enough resources but of determination. This, he buttressed with his experience of pioneering 24 hours broadcasting in Nigeria at the Lagos State Television. Then in the 80s, he said the station did not have all the needed resources but with its determination, the station pioneered 24 hours broadcasting in Nigeria through the Lagos Weekend Television.

Prof. Innocent Okoye of Kwara State University also underscored the place of news in humanity despite the threat to newspapering by the new media. He said that news will never die but noted that the job of the journalist is to provide news not paper; and that if paper is no longer acceptable as the catalyst of news, the journalists will adapt to the new platform as the journalists had adapted to changes in print production technologies from the Gutenberg era, letter press, lithographic process to the present computer to press technologies. “Paper may die, news will not die!”

The Group Managing Director, Rosabel Advertising Group, Mr. Ayo Oluwatosin stressed the need for scholars to provide the industry with quality graduates calling for a better synergy between the gown and town. This position aligned with that of Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye in his inaugural lecture that the gown appears not to be on the same page with the town and efforts should be made to address this.

The communiqué issued at the end of the two-day conference signed by the Secretary General of the association, Prof. Nosa Owens-Ibie made the following observations.
“The new media has come to stay and will continue to evolve and impact on communication processes – globally and locally; migration from analogue to digital application in editorial management requires organisational policy and corporate will of the management of the publishing houses; the Freedom of information Act should be used by communication scholars and professionals; some media houses have not pursued the tenets of gate keeping of information sourced through the new media; poverty, underdevelopment and infrastructural deficit in Nigeria are the general outcome of policy deficiencies; and information sharing between the government and the citizens should be improved.

The recommendations are: leadership in tertiary institutions across Nigeria should strive to ensure that the critical digital technologies are provided and also utilized for the advancement of communication education in their institutions; communication scholars and professionals should endeavour to be trained in the use of new media to enhance their on-the job performance and keep up with the trends; researchers should make use of Computer Assisted Content Analysis (CACA) in the process of data presentation and analysis for easy generalization and data management;

Kunle Ogedengbe is of Diamond Awards for Media Excellence (DAME) and was the Head of the Communiqué Drafting Committee of the Second ACSPN Conference governments must eradicate factors of distrust in its interactions with the public, otherwise, it will remain a difficult task to get the people to welcome government’s view on issues;
producers and young viewers should reconstruct all activities related to production and viewing in accordance with new technologies and the producers should increase revenue through digital media; government must improve on the country’s digital infrastructure to enable more students, researchers and practitioners to use the digital resource to improve on impactful research for the nation; in communicating information about disasters, managers of such situations should make use of the social media in disseminating the details as the people are very active on the social media; citizen journalists must be made to subscribe to ethical standard of the profession.

Others are curricula of communication education should be enriched with courses in on-line journalism and the social media; e-commerce sites must ensure that product quality and effective service delivery are fused with effective promotions in order to influence the target market; government should establish a body to specifically oversee the enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act across states in Nigeria to ease access to information; and government and the business community must actively collaborate on both the traditional and new media for effective and evenly distributed business and economic information.