Some of the maritime journalists who attended the seminar organised by Maritime Industry Advocacy Initiative and the Nigerian Ports Authority last Monday in Lagos.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has been commended for partnering with the Maritime Industry Advocacy Initiative (MAIN) to boost the capacity of maritime reporters.
At a one-day training and seminar organized in Lagos by NPA and MAIN at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, retired General Manager, Lagos Traffic Radio, Mr. Yinka Adagun commended the initiative, saying that journalists are no longer being trained by their employers and that most of the time, a journalist is expected to equip himself from his meager income.
According to Adagun, who was chairman of the occasion, the Nigerian media industry is lacking in mandatory continuing development and capacity building programmes.
He observed that despite the higher number of journalists covering the maritime sector, this has not reflected in the reportage of the maritime sector and its enormous potentials.
According to him, there is a crying need for the maritime media to highlight various areas in the operations of the sector that could further unlock its potentials in contributing to the Nigerian economic rebirth
He urged all existing beat associations in the maritime media to come together and set up a single forum where they can be interfacing with stakeholders and speak with one voice. He said that this could be done while associations still maintain their existing structures.
He advised the media to constitute themselves into a repository of ideas in policy formulation and execution of programmes that can enhance the needed economic rebirth.
''My gladness to be here today stems from my appreciation of the effort of the Maritime Industry Advocacy Initiative and the unrelenting support of the Nigerian Ports Authority to check a declining trend in the Nigerian Media - Continuous Training and Self Development.''
He said the idea of specialization in news coverage transcends the media industry as various professions encourage this among their sub-groups in the various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
While still harping on the need for training and training of maritime journalists, Adagun noted that human capacity building should be paramount to any organization or sector in order to achieve a desired result.
He added: ''Capacity building has remained a major concern of various professional groups that have insisted on Mandatory Continuous Development Programme for their members. This however, is an area the Nigerian Media Industry is lacking. Employees in the industry today are so overwhelmed with the twin-problem of unpaid wages and rising production costs that the training needs of the employees are being left unattended,” he said.
While commending the MAIN for their efforts and initiative in bring up such capacity building ideas he said: ''By organizing this seminar, the Maritime Industry Advocacy Initiative should be commended for taking a leap in filling the void in professional development of journalists covering the industry. No one will deny the need to also commend the Nigerian Ports Authority for its untiring efforts to co-operate with stakeholders in the maritime sector on the growth of various groups within the industry.''
In an attempt to compare the maritime industry with the oil and gas industry, Mr. Adagun maintained that since the colonial era the maritime industry still one of the highest earners to the federal coffers.
''It needs not be stressed that with its values and prominence, the maritime industry, a prosperous octopus, has the capacity to harness the resources to re-grow the Nigerian economy.
''The sector has also remained in the forefront of public discourse in the recent past with issues like the collapse of the indigenous shipping companies on the heel of the demise of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL), operation or in operation of the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) and the Cabotage regime.''
Also speaking at the event, Lagos state Council Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ); Dr. Qazim Akinreti said that Nigerian journalists must continually conduct themselves with integrity and also seek exposure on the job.
According to him, the dynamics of news writing and reporting is changing by the day and there is need for the maritime media to following the emerging trend, especially the new media which has to do with blogging and use of the social media.
The NUJ Chairman stressed that “Journalists should not be poor, as maritime journalists, there are other areas of the blue economy that you can branch into, journalists need to rise up beyond the elementary and urn their skills”