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Traditional media already had COVID-18 before COVID-19, MD laments

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Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of the African Newspapers Nigeria Plc, Mr. Edward Dickson, has lamented that the country’s traditional media houses already had ‘COVID-18’ before the advent of COVID-19.

According to him, the media houses were already being treated at what he called ‘the proverbial intensive care unit,’ adding that it was increasingly difficult to stay afloat in the murky waters of the business.

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Dickson stated this while featuring on a weekly radio show, ‘Ayekooto on Radio’ anchored by Olayinka Agboola and broadcast live on Lagelu 96.7 FM, Felele, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The media executive, who spoke on survival strategies for the newspaper industry in Nigeria, said: “Specifically, it has been hectic running the Tribune titles. Running publishing outfits like this has been onerous. As a business, it is one that has been so difficult to understand. One can never understand it. I will tell you that every copy of our publications out there is being sold at a loss. Go to any newspaper house in Nigeria and find out.

“It has been those of us that God put in charge that is doing our very best to ensure that we keep publishing even if we have to burn fingers. The newspaper industry must survive. It must not crash because, if it does, then our society will be in deep trouble.

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“The typical newspaper house has a constitutional role to play as the watchdog and the conscience of the society.

“So, an average media manager sees it as his or her cardinal responsibility to ensure that the newspaper under his care does not die.”

The Tribune head honcho is also proudly enthused that he feels quite fulfilled as a professional journalist, saying: “I have always wanted to be a journalist or a lawyer all my life. Added to this is the fact that I was also resolute that I would work at the Nigerian Tribune Newspapers. I have enjoyed every moment of my life as a journalist.”

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Dickson added that the dichotomy between the traditional journalists and bloggers as well as those who operate on social media would soon disappear.

“This is because we are at the infancy stage of this development. If you take a cursory look at the names of the people behind the numerous online publishing outfits, you will find out that they are mostly our colleagues who worked with the traditional media outfits and have moved on to establish their own newspaper platforms online. All our traditional newspapers also have online platforms.

“Only those who seek fake news get fed with fake news. I belong to a generation of ‘old school’ journalists. Yes, I feel bad when I see folks publishing fake news. But then, if you see or read fake news, you will know. Most fake newsstands are only on one leg. It is taboo to publish fake news or one-legged story at the Tribune House. The reaction of the other side must also be published. If you are interested in authentic news, you know where to go, even, online.

“The media in Nigeria remains one of the most regulated.”

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