Need to Professionalise Online Publishing

Femi Adesina, president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, wants the Nigerian Online Publishers Association to bring professionalism to make it a credible medium

|  By Vincent Nzemeke  |  Nov. 4, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

ONLINE publishers in Nigeria have been advised to display professionalism in their jobs. The advice was given by Femi Adesina, president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, during an address to online publishers in the Lagos recently. Adesina told the publishers who gathered under the aegis of the Nigerian Online Publishers Association, NOPA, that the time has come to make online publishing credible in order to ensure that the business aspect thrives. He added that the infiltration of the online publishing business by all comers demands that standards must be set for those in it by the professionals.

Adesina said that the era of rushing to publish with half-facts should be over by now for online publishing to get the attention it deserves. He praised the members of NOPA, whom he said, have paid their dues in journalism, for deeming it fit to come together to set standards for online journalism. “The association has a heavy duty on its hands. You can make a difference through the association. Most of the things posted online now cannot be trusted because of the activities of some people who are not professionals.”

To stress how some half-baked journalists have highjacked online publishing, Adesina cited the examples of the air crash involving Associated Airline and the purported kidnap of the wife of the late Augustus Aikhomu. He said while some of the names bandied as having died on the ill-fated Associated Airlines crash were never on board, Aikhomu’s wife was also not kidnapped.

But in spite of these short comings, Adesina maintained that online publishing is critical to journalism. “Yet, the online is very critical now to journalism. There are certain stories that would not have seen the light of the day but for the online. The Oduahgate is one of them. Online will go a long way to guarantee freedom of expression and the Arab spring would not have succeeded but for the online.

He also cautioned online publishers to look at things critically before posting them on their websites and ensure that only professionals are allowed to join the association. “Every good thing is to be considered with the evil embedded in it. You as an association must check the evil in it by ensuring that anybody who is going to be a member of the association must have a pedigree. Such a person must have evidence of training, professionalism, track record. When such a person wants to join the NGE, we must be able to rely on NOPA for recognition.”Adesina also challenged the online publishers to improve the quality of editing of their stories adding that some sites parade poorly edited stories.

Malachy Agbo, president of NOPA, thanked Adesina for making time out of his tight schedule to address the publishers. Agbo said the association was formed to set standards for online publishing. He added that while it is true that no one can and will be sanctioned, the members of the association can act as models through their news sites for others to emulate.

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