It was a dream come true for a youth corps member, Gerald Nwokocha, as he clinched The Nation Campus Life reporter of the year.
Campus Life, an 8-page weekly pull out, inititated by late Ngozi Agbo of The Nation Newspaper, has since the last four years been readers’ delight every Thursday.
Held at the Bespoke Event Centre with over 50 students in attendance, other campus journalists were also awarded. They were Chisom Ojukwu of FUTO (Sports Category); Gilbert Alasa of UNIBEN (Opinion); Habeeb Whyte of UNILORIN (Personality Interview); Uche Anichebe of UNIZIK, Awka (Investigatory Reporting); Emeka Attah and Ngozi Emmanuel (both of UNIZIK, Awka) were announced joint winner of the Culture Category while Gerald, who had earlier been announced as winner of the Campus Politics Category, got the main price.
A graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, FUTO, Gerald’s works impressed the judges who were led by the Chairman of The Nation’s editorial board, Mr. Sam Omatseye.
Welcoming the students, the Online Editor of The Nation Newspaper, Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin charged them to be creative as the media profession needs people who are coming with new ideas and not what others have been doing over times. Citing the case of the the woman who brought the idea, late Mrs. Ngozi Agbo, she said they dont want graduates who, when confronted with which type of job they want, would opt for any kind.
While urging the students to see themselves as Nigerians and not as Southerners or Northerners, The Nation reporter who just launched his memoir, SERVED, Mr Joe Agbro Jr. said that as youth schooling at the Federal Government Girls College, Warri, his ambition was to have a bit of Nigeria as they’ve discussed among his mates who were from different religion and ethnic background.
He noted that the NYSC is an opportunity to learn adding that we dont understand our strength, as people.
In his keynote address, the husband of the late Ngozi, Mr Agbo Agbo, assured the students of his continued support, observing that his late wife had a dream for all of them. He said that he is happy that many of them are making waves in their various endeavour.
He added that Nigeria is gradually moving in the right direction without, we, noticing.
He charged the students to uphold the values his late wife taught them, adding that people are still mourning the late mentor for anything but for her uprightness and ways she impacted the students.
The guest lecturer, editor of Guardian Newspaper, Mr Martin Oloja who delivered the lecture on The Role of the Media in Nation Rebirth, posited that the forces of globalisation has changed journalism and its effect are irreversible. He said that there is disconnect between the tertiary institutions and the media industry.
He noted that in the developed countries, CNN, BBC, New York Times editors are journalism lecturers but the reverse is the case in Africa, most especially in Nigeria.
Maintaining that journalism is the best profession in the world, Mr Oloja who was until his appointment, the Abuja Bureau Chief confessed that most of those that are teaching them journalism and Mass-Communication are not practicing.
The effect, he affirmed, is what we have in today’s News Rooms. He advised them to apply for online journalism courses to improve their knowledge and skills.
He said: “Radion, Televison and Newspaper are in trouble as people gets news as they occur on social news feed. Nobody wants to wait till tomorrow to get news. When you can read every news online free of charge, how will the newspaper survive? We have to rise up to the challenges as the social network sites, especially twitter, are destroying investigatory journalism; as news considered classified, are posted immediately they happen.
“Most of the journalism school in the West are combining it with Computer Science in order to come up with digital platform, the latest.
“We should challenge our school authority over the old curriculum for the future to be saved as development and education go together.
“Many of us may end up as freelancers as people like me may not even survive it; you may be ordered to file stories from your homes and you will be paid based on your contribution(s). That’s how it is done in the West.”
He advised the students to read extensively saying that they can only write remarkable things from what they know. Reading good materials, he exclaimed, makes people powerful as there is power in what you know.
He observed that we are talking of rebirth because our birth has been destroyed; we are where we are supposed to be. “We are not telling you to be rebellious but to be critical through responsible journalism and analysis of vents and issues.”
He confessed that any Newspaper that does not respect public interest-what the people want-will die.
Digital journalism has taken over from traditional journalism because globalisation is an idea whose time has come, he said.
The representative of the sponsors, The Nigeria Bottling Company and Coca Cola, Mr. Emeka Mbah, charged the students to use what they’ve been taught to expose evils. He said that the company is happy sponsoring the projects, adding that efforst are in top gear to increase the page.
After the lecture and refreshments, the students, who were selected from various higher institutions of learning were taken to Campos Square, Lagos to watch the novelty match organised to commemmorate this year HIV/AIDs day, between celebrities and Ex-Super Eagles. At the match, they had the opportunity of signing autographs and taking pictures with former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Kanu Nwankwo, Austin Okocha, Daniel Amokachi, Celestine Babayaro, MI, Saka of Etisalat Advert, and host of others.