By Nahimah Ajikanle-Nurudeen
Through a week-long lectures, the MTN Media Innovation Programme is an eye opener and a real innovative experience for the participants.
The selection of the 20 participants across print, broadcast and online media was competitive according to the organiser. However, despite the state of my health, I was able to make the list.
I was hoping to utilise my selection for MTN MIP programme to gain full recovery from seven months battle with severe anxiety but the situation was compounded with the loss of a co-wife to child birth on the same day I left my home in Ikorodu for Lekki to participate in the course.
The night at the hotel was kind of miserable for me because of the sad incident while striving to control my emotions to make the best of moments from my participation in the programme. By 7am on Monday May 23rd 2022, I went downstairs to the restaurant for a breakfast which I struggled to eat.
It was the first week of the six months fully sponsored Media Innovation Programme MIP by MTN Nigeria in partnership with School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University, SMC-PAU, Lekki-Epe Expressway way, Ajah, Lagos.
The programme officially launched on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 at Lagos Business School is part of Africa telecommunications giant’s contributions to changing the media landscape to assist practitioners in re-skilling processes that can drive innovative media practices in 21st century. MTN has committed a whopping 300 million naira into the programme for the next three years.
Activities started with brief formalities where the Dean, School of Media and Communications, Pan-Atlantic University, SMC-PAU, Dr. Mike Okolo gave a snippet of the MTN-MIP, followed by remarks by the MTN Nigeria, Corporate Services Officer, Mr. Tobechukwu Okigbo, while the Director Professional Education, SMC-PAU, Isaac-Ogugua Ezechukwu made a presentation about the ownership of PAU and listed Telecom industry; Media innovation, and Writing & Reporting as three focus areas for the MTN-MIP.
The Dean, SMC-PAU, Dr. Okolo congratulated us, the 20 media practitioners drawn from various print, online and broadcast media across the country for making it to the MTN-MIP cohort 1.
He said it was a tough process to draw 20 participants from over 1200 applications having taken about six months to design the course outline in line with relevant content generation and getting the right sponsorship.
The Dean said the course was as a result of SMC-PAU’s desire to make changes in the society with expectations that the participants would become SMC’s ambassadors.
He noted that the full sponsorship and support provided to the programme by MTN Nigeria is a demonstration of the teleco’s shared value to ensure an impactful media landscape.
Dr Okolo challenged us with a quote, “Never let the work stop you from achieving knowledge. Burn the candle.”
The Chief Corporate Services Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Tobechukwu Okigbo urged the participants to see the MTN MIP as an opportunity to re-skill and up-skill as media practitioners
He stressed the need for us as media practitioners to be independent in thinking to avoid manipulations from the industry.
He said: “As media practitioners, you must think for yourself, so we ‘the industry’ do not tell you things which are not as though they were. You must query some industry statistics; analyze certain claims to help the society make informed decisions by knowing the truth. Interrogate the numbers; that is what sets you apart.”
Also, the Director, Professional Education, SMC-PAU, Isaac-Ogugua Ezechukwu cleared out thoughts on the ownership of Pan-Atlantic University. He told us that PAU is owned by Pan-Atlantic University Foundation (PAUF), a non-profit foundation registered in Nigeria.
Ezechukwu, who is also the Programme Administrator, officially introduced the programme coordinators, Idu Oruamabo and Opeyemi Gazalil to us.
The sessions started with the first facilitator, Professor Emevwo Biakolo, who spoke on Culture, Society & the Media.
He discussed how society influences the media and how society deserves the media that it has, saying that journalists must learn how to fulfill their jobs without bias; according to the ethics of the profession without which the media will bow to authoritarian demands.
Professor Biakolo explained that the media practitioners must see themselves from the cultural perspective of human capacity in other to categorize and communicate experiences and share worldwide views, symbolically.
He highlighted the school of thought which believes that the ICT revolution and encroachment in the media space juxtaposes to a point in time in the Greek society when literacy influenced thinking which transverses the whole of Europe.
He concluded with emphasis on the concept of mediatization, stating that it is the process whereby all culture, social, political and economic life & operations depend on media forms and media technology, charging the society to use the media to better the worth of humanity.
In his lecture, Professor Juan Elegido spoke about Ethical Concepts for Media Practitioners.
He stated that ‘truth’ is a critical idea in the media’s duty responsibilities. He emphasised that the media must be viewed as a “reliable supplier of information” in order to maintain its credibility in the eyes of members of society.
He stated that “the job of a journalist is to put together the greatest account of events you can put together via hard effort.”
He closed by asking journalists to be wary of the ‘Pilate Question,’ avoid spreading falsehoods, and to conduct thorough investigation as well as avoid conflict of interest in our professional practices.
The next session was facilitated by Mr. Frank Aigbogun, Co-Founder and Publisher of Business Day Newspaper with an interesting discussion on ‘The Concept of Innovation and its Implications for Media Practitioners’. He delved into how the media is fighting for the consumer’s attention.
“From ad money to consumer revenue, the media must innovate,” he remarked.
He was of the school of thought that, rather than killing the market, promotes “new media”, using new media instruments to reach more people.
He urged that we should start seeing ourselves as a technology company beyond being a media company, stating that by the time we hear about an innovation, it is already late.
He concluded his section by emphasising that what sustains the media business is ethics, saying innovation without ethics is not sustainable.
Dr. Peter Bamkole spoke on Introduction to Entrepreneurship: Principles and Practices throughout his part. He elaborated on what entrepreneurship entails, characterizing it as a lifetime process, noting that the entrepreneur who endures the test of time is one who is willing to learn-on-the-go, since innovation and technological upheavals may make or break firms.
He explained the six essential stages to recognizing opportunity and starting the entrepreneurial journey, all of which must adhere to the SMART (S – specified; M – Measurable; A – Achievable; R – Resources; and T – Time bound/ time frame) philosophy.
Dr. Emeka Osuji facilitated a session on Management Principles and Practice by establishing the environment of business and commercial enterprise.
He made us understand that Businesses exist as the setting in which persons, ideas, money, materials, and machinery are united to create goods and services for a profit.
He also discussed sole proprietorship, partnership, and joint stock companies as different categories of businesses.
He highlighted the need for clearly defining where one’s/co-founders’ business belongs and regularizing it where and when appropriate.
He added that a great firm is one structured with defined goals, mission, and culture that reward performance.
Barrister Tomi Vincent spoke on Media Laws: Principles and Practice. He claimed that the distinction between laws and morals is that the former is a set of regulations that must be followed and to which punishments are connected.
However, when rules are broken, they are usually reduced to morality.
In his words, law is an order; without it, society would be in chaos.
Its purpose is to govern procedures and maintain order in society’s affairs. It governs rights, obligations, and duties; it directs human conduct in the society.
He concluded his session by listing certain issues of the legal side of the media, such as tort, intellectual property, defamation, seditions, privacy, taxation, and insurance, among others.
Tim Newbold, another facilitator, spoke on Interrogating Business Policies and Regulations.
Newbold stressed the media adage, “Don’t hurry to publish when the facts are unclear.”
He mentioned recent media stories concerning increased fees levied on telecommunications services such as SMS and phone calls as examples.
According to him, research demonstrates that the tax was not implemented as recently portrayed in the media.
He noted that fact-checking technologies and internet platforms may help journalists perform better.
Dr. Fredrick Ikpesu lectured us at his session on Taxation, Business Policies, and Regulation. He began the class with discussion on 9 principles of ‘Business Model Canvas’ which he described as critical pathways for a business to succeed.
He highlighted various types of taxes and the need for media practitioners to understand the taxes associated with their business models.
Dr. Ikpesu defined tax as a mandatory fee imposed by the government on products and services on which the government relies to supply basic necessities to the people.
He outlined the media tax requirements and urged compliance.
The courses emphasize innovation as the key to unlocking chances; yet, adhering to ethical values aids in the development of a long-term career, future or business.
I consider my first week experience as a tip of the iceberg because the programme’s curriculum is loaded with professional transformation learnings and relevant skills that will birth an innovative media practitioner.
The week was wrapped up with a presentation summary of what we learnt from all the sessions by group A members of the cohort.
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