From Chido Okafor, London


THE Delta State government has said his interest in the practice and future of journalism in the state and Nigeria informed its sponsorship of 10 journalists for training in London, United Kingdom (UK).

The beneficiaries are being trained at the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Canary Wharf, East London.

Information Commissioner, Chike Ogeah, who spoke on the initiative yesterday in London, explained that it was to acquaint the media practitioners with the latest processes, skills and equipment used in the 21st Century journalism practice.

Ten journalists in the state and four information workers, including the Director of Information, Mr. Austin Mowah, are participating in the scheme.

According to the Editorial Training Director, Belinda Goldsmith, Reuters is the world’s largest news organisation, employing over 60,000 with 2,900 journalists reporting from over 200 countries.

Ogeah, who represented Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan at the event, said the government embarked on the exercise because of the conviction that it can help improve the standard of journalism practice in both the state and in Nigeria.

He said: “In Nigeria, especially in Delta State, we are talking about human capital development and I don’t think that any gesture can be better than this. It is just government own way of saying we want to see how we can help in improving the standard of journalism in Delta and by extension in Nigeria by adding value to what journalists do because we are aware that we have some of the best practitioners in the country.”

The commissioner said the programme was designed to expose the media men to the latest facilities to enhance their performance, adding that at the Thomson Reuters’ Building, it is nothing but modern gadgets and equipment, which journalists use to do their work.

Ogeah said the emphasis of the Uduaghan administration is that in the 21st century human capital development is central to job creation and realisation of the three-point agenda of the government.

He lauded the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) for keying into the synergy between the government and journalists in the state. Ogeah said when the NUJ came up came with the initiative, the governor scrutinised it and declared it a worthy cause.

To sustain the programme, Ogeah said the state would begin a “train-the-trainer” scheme where the beneficiaries of the London training would be encouraged to impact the skills they have acquired on the others because not all the journalists in Delta could be brought to London for training.

The commissioner added that since the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) runs a similar scheme with Reuters, the state government would partner with NAN because “they are our own local Reuters” to train more journalists.

He said very soon the state-owned media outfits, the Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS) and The Pointer Newspaper would be 21st Century compliant in terms of availability and application of modern equipment.


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