Dangote Group and need for digital training of journalists

In the bid to showcase its corporate social responsibility to its host communities, Dangote Group organised a training on digital communication for journalists. BAYO AGBOOLA was there and he writes that the training attracted resource persons from the corporate world as well as the academia.

Dangote Group no doubt is a household name in Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world when it comes to business as well as influence in the areas of social responsibilities to its host communities.

In one of the gestures, the group between Wednesday and Thursday, July 19-20 organised a training for 53 media practitioners from across Ogun and Oyo states as part of its contributions to the growth of journalism in Nigeria especially with regular training and retraining of practising media men and women.

The training organised by the Centre for Financial Journalism and powered by Dangote Group was tagged Capacity Building for Journalists with the theme of ‘Ethics, Skills and Personal Qualities for Reporting in the Digital Age’.

At the end of the training, it stood out as one of the best needed trainings for journalists and others in the media profession at regular basis in order to be relevant and in tune with the modern day trend in the digital world.

Essence of the training

Welcoming the participants into the capacity building workshop, the CEO of Centre for Financial Journalism, Dr Ray Echebiri emphasized the importance of training and retraining for practising journalists in order to be in form and in tune with the practice of journalism especially in this age of technology and digital advancement. According to him, this would enable the pen professionals to be able to blend with best practices in writing and reporting.

The group head Corporate Communications Department, Dangote Group, Tony Chiejina in his presentation entitled, ‘Delivering an Effective Online Communication Strategy for Dangote Group’ said Dangote Group is a global business conglomerate with an extended product bouquet that affects the entire population, saying, “Recent demographics show that 48% of the Nigerian population are between 18-36. This group is highly influenced and thrives on social media. Some of the group’s target market also exist in this category which will have a profound effect on purchasing power in the next 10 years. There are opportunities to leverage the extensive reach of digital technologies in promoting product awareness and expanding communication and marketing mix for the brand.”

According to Tony Chiejina, “What is required is a well articulated strategy and roadmap that strategically positions Dangote as a brand of choice across the digital sphere.

Speaking further he said, “Social media combines a wide range of online, word-of-mouth forums including social networks (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok) micro-blogs (Twitter), discussion boards, email, product/service ratings websites and forums, internet discussion boards. Social media integrates technology and social interactions and it is powered by content in different formats including pictures, videos, text and audio.

With social media everyone is a publisher: People connect, share varying perspectives, information, stories and experiences. online with no restrictions.

Speaking further, he stressed that, “Advancement in digital technologies is evolving new ways of communication and marketing, transforming markets into conversations. Tapping into these conversations could provide opportunities for targeting and communicating with varied online stakeholders in a manner that sparks engagement and creates presence in the digital space.

Further Remarks

Ogun state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Wale Olarewaju in his remarks asked, “The question now is what does the shift to digital media means for aspiring and working journalists? According to him, “They (journalists) need to master a variety of journalism skills as the field requires new expertise to break in and stay relevant while the foundations of journalism endures.

“Today’s training will therefore examine these variety of journalism skills with a view to exploring how emerging best practices in digital journalism and required skills for reporting in digital age can enhance the application of ethical principles which, at the final analysis, will lead to better journalismexploring,” he said.

Appreciating the organisers of the workshop, Centre for Financial Capacity building and the sponsors, Dangote, the NUJ chairman welcomed all participants, the organisers and sponsor, and the major sponsor- Dangote Company to Ogun, which he described as the cradle of journalism in Nigeria.

From the academia

A Senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, Dr Folake Bejide in her presentation titled, ‘The Dos and Dont’s of Media Reportage :A case Study of Nigerian Media vs International Practice cautioned media practitioners against running foul of law in the course of reporting events or writing stories about individuals, corporate bodies among others. Dr Bejide, among others, emphasized the need for media practitioners to at all times equip themselves with what it takes to cope in line with International Best Practices.

The head of corporate communications, Dangote Group, Mr Francis Awowole Browne in his presentation tagged, ‘Impact of Dangote Group on Nigeria’s Economy, CSR Activities of Dangote Group’ minced no words in showcasing the positive impacts of Dangote Group to the Nigeria economy as well as Africa’n continent as a whole especially in the areas of transportation, food production and in the cement industry, among others.

The head Department of Mass Communications, Christopher University, Mowe in Ogun state, Dr Ayo Ajasa in his presentation titled, ‘Reporting in the Digital Age’ emphasized that the act of reporting is an age long activity and that ever since, man has been making frantic efforts at improving gathering
and dissemination of information.

“You will agree with me that any person or organisation in any legal
business seeks for the most effective platforms to reach their actual and potential customers,” he noted.

The capacity building for journalists has come and gone, but the lessons from it in the areas of exposing media practitioners to what is presently in vogue in modern day practice is inevitable. It as well make media practitioners to know more of the efforts of the Dangote Group in its social responsibilities to the society especially to its host communities in Nigeria and some Africa countries that hosts any of the Dangote Group plants.