Female journalism students urged to seek ?tough? beats
Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu has urged female journalism students to aim for the best.
Mr Olaniyonu spoke at the opening session of a workshop for 50 female students studying journalism in tertiary institutions in the Southwest sponsored by United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), hosted by the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ogun State.
Olaniyonu, who is former Editor of Thisday on Sunday, said the students should not settle for the stereotyped soft beats often assigned to women journalists in the newsroom, but go outside their comfort zones to cover challenging beats.
He said opportunities abound for female journalists in the newsrooms of the Nigerian media industry. He said though there are few women editing mainstream newspapers in the country, it should not be assumed that the men do not want to give the women chance. On the contrary, he said many women settle for soft beats, such as fashion and style, women issues, intimacy and broadcast.
He urged female journalists not to limit themselves to writing on fashion, style and others, but to dare gravitate into the realm of investigative journalism, business reporting, citing the Editor of Thisday, Ijeoma Nwaogwugwu, as a woman who he said, was a skilful business reporter.
Olaniyonu recalled that there was a time in Nigeria when Daily Times sold 500,000 copies daily when there were few literate Nigerians with equally less purchasing power. He said one of the reasons of newspapers are not selling today is that the news they carry are not compelling enough to attract readers.
The Commissioner said media houses are looking for journalists who would file unique stories capable of standing one medium apart from the park, adding the upcoming female journalists should strive to make the difference readers are looking for in the nation?s newspapers? industry.
Underscoring the importance of the workshop, Olaniyonu said it would help the students hone their skills and help them secure good employment on graduation.
?This is a great opportunity that you have been offered. It is a thing of pride; it would help you to secure good employment. I am imploring you to leave this pace with determination of making use of it. By doing this you are restoring the glory of journalism,? he said.
The budding female journalists receive tutelage on the skills of investigative journalism from other resource persons ? including multiple award winner, Stella Sawyer of Tell Magazine, and the National Programme Officer and Command Information of UNESCO Abuja, Mr Oluseyi Shoremeku, who said investigative journalism is a service to the public.
He implored participants to take the challenges in the future toward investigative journalism.
Participants were drawn from the Universities of Ibadan, Lagos, Covenant University, Ota, Redeemer?s University, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta among others.
No fewer than 50 female trainee-journalists drawn from the tertiary institutions in the Southwest benefited from a training on Investigative Journalism in a workshop facilitated by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).