Sippar, new monthly general interest newsmagazine, promoted by Obong Akpaekong, a former editor in Newswatch magazine, hits the newsstands
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Jun. 2, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
THERE is one thing which even the hardest critics of Newswatch magazine cannot wish away. It is the indisputable fact that its promoters popularised magazine journalism in Nigeria. Before Newswatch made its debut in January 1985, magazine journalism was not popular among Nigerians and that, perhaps, explained why the few that were established before then, namely Drum magazine, West Africa magazine and Newbreed, among others, hardly survived because they lacked the readership and advertisement patronage. But the arrival of Newswatch on the scene changed all that.
The arrival of Newswatch on the newsstands opened a floodgate for a sudden flurry in the establishment of magazines. Like those before them, some had very short life spans. Among them were African Guardian, African Concord, ThisWeek, The Week, Insider, Quality, Fame, The Scroll and The Westerner. Unfortunately, the trail blazer also kissed the dust after it was sent to the theatre of a ‘corporate surgeon’ on May 5, 2012 after more than 25 years of regular weekly appearances on the newsstands. Ever since, the corporate surgeon worked on it, it has become something else after leaving the operating table. Although a big vacuum had been created by the sudden exit of the trail blazer from the newsstands, the magazine market is not completely starved of service with the presence of Tell magazine, The News, the Source magazine and the Business Eye. Regardless of its vicissitudes, the Newswatch tradition of investigative and interpretative journalism lives on with the emergence, from its ashes, of Verbatim, a bi-monthly general interest magazine, Realnews, the first online weekly newsmagazine in Nigeria, and now Sippar, a monthly newsmagazine, promoted by Obong Akpaekong, until recently, senior associate editor of Newswatch magazine.
For Akpaekong, Sippar is a dream come true. It is a dream that has lived on as far back as 2000. Akpaekong said then that his dream was to publish a newsmagazine in Africa that would be read throughout the world. A renowned and respected journalist, Akpaekong has kept that dream alive until April 2014, when came out with Sippar, his own magazine based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
According to him, Sippar is another child of the strangulated Newswatch magazine which will thrive on investigative journalism. It aims to unearth exclusive stories about real people, religion and culture, politics, business, entertainment and rights issues. Sippar will thrive on exclusive stories with a strong slant on investigation. Hence, its objective is to use its reportorial investigative skills to ferret out information in the sectors it focuses on and thereafter produce an unbiased stories which will actually influence government policies and decision makers to take actions that will make the society better.
As the saying goes, coming events cast their shadows beforehand. The maiden edition of Sippar has cast a long shadow of what to expect in subsequent editions. For instance, the cover story focuses on the pouncing political game of intrigues and violence in Rivers State. Apart from the cover, there are other interesting stories which cover politics, trends, society, business, religion, Sanusi’s exit from the Central Bank of Nigeria, interviews as well as foreign reports.
The vision of Sippar is to build a reputable and world class media institution whose watchword is professionalism and integrity. Its mission is to become the cornerstone of investigative journalism in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. Sippar will focus specifically on the Niger Delta region and also report the east, the west and the northern parts of the country. It will cover Africa and the world. Sippar is not coming as another competitor in the market place of ideas, but as a delight to readers who appreciate real life stories and investigative pieces.
Akpaekong, managing editor of Sippar, has more than 27 years of journalistic experience. He has at various times worked in the Nigerian Chronicle, the Concord newspaper, News Africa magazine, Daily Independent newspaper and Newswatch magazine, where he rose to the position of associate editor. He holds a diploma in journalism from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, a Bachelor of Arts degree in French from the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.