Experts who gathered at the public presentation of Business Journal Newspaper over the weekend in Lagos have identified the important role of the media in national development, urging media practitioners to adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance their capacity for sustainable growth and profitability.
The Keynote Speaker, Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in delivering the theme of the event, “The Media in National Development: Successes, Challenges & Prospects” highlighted the importance of the media and its contributions to national development.
Danbatta said: “The media no doubt has been the bastion of entrenching good governance and promoting development in the country. The media in Nigeria has principally played the protagonist role to midwife the path of the liberalisation of the telecom sector in Nigeria. We cannot, for instance, forget the contribution of the Nigerian media which includes the dedicated information and communication and technology pages in our national dailies and numerous related programmes of the electronic media which comprises the radio and television. The media have indeed paid their dues in initiating government policies in support of the growth of the sector.”
Danbatta who was represented by Mrs. Nnenna Ukoha, Head, SIM Registration Project at the NCC, noted that “the objective of development communication entails the media to carry out development tasks within the ambit of the society as well as advocating the essence of why the society should develop.”
The media, he said, “will continue to remain a veritable channel for the wide range of development campaigns which the NCC has effectively used. The media has also facilitated the achievement of government developmental goals and kept the public abreast of the state of development in the society.
The practitioners, therefore, must maintain ethics, standard, integrity, and ensure that professionalism and development guide editorial policy and conduct. The media has always played a double-edged role which will either enhance or derail national development.”
Danbatta enjoined the Nigerian media “to continue to carry out positive development tasks in line with national established policies and national ethics which are discipline, integrity, dignity of labour, social justice, religious tolerance, self-reliance and patriotism as stipulated in Sections 23 and 24 of the 1999 Constitution as amended,” adding that “the media should be socially responsible in carrying out developmental tasks in a manner that fosters national development and such developmental goals should be based on a bottom-top approach,” aimed at improving quality of all aspect of peoples’ lives ranging from economic, political, socio-culture and even technological strength.
In carrying out national development initiatives, the NCC boss charged that “the media shall at all times be free to uphold fundamental objectives contained in the Constitution by holding the government responsible and accountable to the people.”
Speaking on the topic “AI In Journalism: Where Is The Media Headed & What Becomes of Journalists?, Mr Tim Akano, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, New Horizons Limited, emphasised the need for media practitioners to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to remain relevant even as he called for the immediate establishment of www.Journalism AI.ng immediately with a view to making the benefits of AI more accessible and counter inequalities in the global news media.
Artificial intelligence (AI), according to him, is the simulation or hacking of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems, noting that as of 2020, over 40 percent of the top 70 news organisations worldwide used AI in the media.
Akano said: “Artificial Intelligence is the biggest disruptor of the Creation, Production, Distribution, Consumption, and Archiving of news Products and Services.
The functions of AI, according to Akano, include monitoring, discovering, predicting, interpreting and interactions while the benefits amongst others include improvement of the quality of engagement and programming based on customer interest, trends, and scenarios; Machine Learning can recommend personalised content based on user data on preferences. Matchmaking the right content with the right audience; Cognitive AI can help increase customer engagement and satisfaction; AI applied to video content helps to conduct visual analysis that tracks & captures emotions instantly and facilitates content; AI facilitates accuracy, speed, and efficiency Real-time analytics determine the ideal advertisements for the audience.
He said the new curriculum for Journalism that mirrors today’s realities is required urgently in schools, urging that publishers should embrace Platforms by “meet your audience where they are.”
He enjoined publishers to ‘publish at the convenience of the readers, not the newsroom; convert casual free readers to loyal partners who pay and recommend your content to others; experiment with different monetization strategies; embrace diverse strategic partnerships; integrate and encourage Mobile Journalism; be Data-Driven in your Decision-making; marry the AI Beast before it pushes you to join the rank of useless humans whose population is presently estimated at three (3) billion worldwide by the World Economic Forum (WEF).”
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Occasion and Commissioner for Insurance/Chief Executive Officer, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr. Olorundare Sunday Thomas, represented by Head, Corporate Communication and Market Development, NAICOM, Mr. Rasaaq Salami, said Business Journal coming out as a tabloid is going to add value to the system.
“We know that information is key and when we have a credible medium through which we disseminate this information, the people are better informed. Beyond the traditional role of the media which is to entertain and educate, I believe Business Journal has served this purpose in the past and I believe it can improve on whatever they have been doing,” Rasaaq added.
While congratulating Prince Cookey for achieving this feat, he said Business Journal has done well from being a magazine at inception, adding an online version and now creating a tabloid segment. He promised the Commission’s support for the success of the publication.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Lagos State, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho who was represented by the Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Mrs. Adeola Olagoke, commended the publisher of Business Journal Newspaper, Prince Cookey, for the publication which she said will bridge the gap of information dissemination in Lagos State and the country at large and pledged government’s readiness to support the publication.
In his opening remarks, the publisher of Business Journal Newspaper, Prince Cookey, said the vision of the newspaper is to be the largest media outfit in Africa, delivering value to readers, advertisers and other key stakeholders through both online and print services.
“We started off in 2018 as a magazine, added the online platform and today, we are showcasing the tabloid as a newborn baby. We have already started and no matter the challenges and obstacles, with God on our side, we believe strongly that we shall achieve our dream,” Cookey said.
While thanking all the companies and individuals that supported the company so far, he appealed to them for more support.