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Stop Allowing People Pay You With ‘Exposure’, Women In Media Urged

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Women in Media hangout

Women in media have been urged to be willing teachers and students and to ensure they get compensated for the work they put in at the Women in Media hangout organised by the Women In Media Development Initiative.

The maiden Lagos edition which held in Ikeja with women from media across the board including print, television, radio and online media discussed career development, mentorship, support, content creation, creativity, carriage and positioning extensively in a fun, relaxed environment.

Fielding women at the top of their careers in the different media worlds, they dished out sensible advice, spoke on the way forward and answered questions and proffered workable solutions to problems women in media face in Nigeria today.

One of the panelists, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, publisher of TW Magazine and media guru with decades of experience told attendees to build on natural abilities in order to be successful.

“Even if you are not well traveled, you can still make something of yourself. Build your skills in the area you have chosen and develop them to the best of your abilities. No matter how great you think you look like or are, if you don’t have the right skills, passion and desire to grow, it won’t work out well for you in the long run. You must be willing to learn, be your own mentor first and foremost.”

Going on to add that most young people today are not ready to learn and think they know it all, she said: “Humility is a virtue that most young people have lost today. You have to humble yourself and be willing to learn from others because no matter what, others would know something more than you.”

On stumbling blocks for growth, she said there are times women would be less available but “do not be so quick to give excuses every time.

A reporter’s work is a tough one and most women are running away from it. They also run away because of the poor pay, but we must be ready to do the work and be passionate. Know what you’re worth and determine your price from the start. Pay your price as you go along and build your brand.

Don’t settle for less because you need money as that money can and would devalue you in the long run. Stop allowing people pay you with ‘exposure’, you are delivering a service, demand payment for it and stick to that,” she said.

Ace Radio presenter, Shola ‘Schullz’ Mogaji spoke on the importance of mentorship for women. Saying she has always been a talkative and lover of music, she said these traits helped her land on radio.

“When I was in England, I used to DJ for people for free and when I came back to Nigeria, I was with some family friends and was approached by someone from Classic FM to come present on radio as he felt I was a natural. I was very reluctant initially as I didn’t want to be on radio. It took me a while to acclimatise but because I had a good teacher, he guided and nurtured me to greatness.

“Also, you have to be a willing learner. There’s always someone willing to give you a hand in life but are you taking it? Stop allowing people to pay you in exposure. If they cannot afford you, let them go elsewhere remember they came to you for a reason.”

CEO of Wfm 91.7, Toun Okewale-Sonaiya decried the fact that a lot of women are not ready to learn and start from the bottom. “When I started, nobody mentored me, I spent 10 years without pay, working in a radio station before I was given the opportunity to speak on the radio. I’m not sentimental; I don’t give room for silly excuses.” She went on to advise women to stop chasing ‘brown envelopes’, because “apart from the fact that it devalues you, you will never grow.”

The final panelist was Janet Mba-Afolabi, publisher of Scroll Magazine who said she wasn’t given a chance when she started in the now defunct Newswatch in 1989.

“I was a cub-reporter then and did leg work for many years and I was tested in every way possible. So many challenges will come your way as a woman but you must fight for yourself. Don’t be anybody’s propaganda mouthpiece, keep your integrity and be hardworking. There will always be challenges and turbulence but you have to find a way to overcome.

“The way you conduct yourself with your male colleagues is also very important, draw a boundary with them and ensure none of you cross it. Stop waiting for them to give you things, go and get yours and spend your money, it leaves little room for abuse and manipulation.”

Special guest at the event, Chairman, Punch Nigeria, Angela Emuwa, advised women to be self-driven in their chosen careers. Speaking on the theme, Career and Personal Development In Media, Emuwa urged women to learn how to project themselves with confidence, adding that they should continually look for ways to develop themselves.

The Coordinator of Women in Media Development Initiative, Lola Oladimeji, noted that the programme was organised to help women in the media to become better at their job. “Women in Media Development Initiative was set up to enhance the capacity of women who work in the media, to ensure networking, bonding and help one another grow in the media. We hope to host many more editions and make it bigger, better and more involving,” she said.


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