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A wide range of journalists who took part in Polaris Bank’s sixth Media Capacity Building Seminar for Journalists has expressed delight in the workshop’s results.

The annual media workshop held on Thursday, September 29, 2022.

At the workshop, participants appreciated Polaris Bank for the consistency in hosting the media seminar, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as they promised to put to judicious use the rich takeaways nuggets from the workshop.

The two-session workshop which was held virtually had over 152 participants including renowned publishers, editors, Managing Directors of Media houses, reporters, and other media-inclined professionals in attendance.

In their separate addresses, while declaring the workshop open, Head, Corporate Communication and Group Head, Strategic Brand Management of Polaris Bank, Rasheed Bolarinwa and Nduneche Ezurike said the Bank remains committed to its corporate ideology of contributing to the development of the media in Nigeria.

The brand custodians explained that since Polaris Bank voluntarily took up the task of empowering media practitioners in a value-adding manner back-to-back from 2017 to date not minding the catastrophe occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the media has been better for it. The duo noted that the highly engaging sessions, anchored by some of the very best in the industry, have helped media practitioners upped their game, while carefully avoiding legal landmines that could ruin their blossoming careers.

Simon Kolawole, Founder and Publisher of TheCable, a rated digital newspaper in Nigeria was on the ground to do justice to one of the topics: ‘Managing a Virtual Newsroom’ while ‘The CyberCrime Law and You’ was anchored by Eric Orji, a top legal practitioner.

In his presentation, Kolawole said while people tend to remember the COVID-19 pandemic that is gradually receding globally for its tragedies, the corporate world will mostly remember the pandemic for opening another chapter in operational functionality.

According to him, the corporate world has now fully adopted remote work models that were hitherto almost taboo before COVID-19 struck. He said the media especially, because of its importance could not close shop while other corporate entities were doing the same, hence the need to adopt a remote model that allows newsrooms to function virtually.

“Technology has elevated us, so it just makes sense for the virtual newsroom to be dominant. A virtual newsroom is a natural state in the evolution of Journalism that allows for a hybrid mode of operations (i.e working in the office and working outside the office). It is an advantage to the media. It is more secure. It cut down the cost of transportation, cost of fueling, among others.”

The experienced Editor noted that the hybrid model that enthroned the virtual newsroom format thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, is not without its challenges.

He identified some challenges of the virtual newsroom to include; Poor or lack of team bonding, difficulties in instilling values and growing organizational culture, communication gaps, and distractions.

In tackling the identified challenges, Kolawole explained that: “There is a need to be completely hands-on (taking interest in what people are doing), periodic check-ins with staffs, create channels for real-time communication, keep monitoring, create deadlines and have monthly/quarterly gatherings.”

On his part, Mr. Orji admonished media practitioners to familiarise themselves with CyberCrime Law in Nigeria as ignorance will not be an excuse when the law is breached.

“The court may compel publishers, reporters, and their medium to pay as much as N7m fine or serve up to seven-year jail term or do both, if found guilty of a Cyber Offence from Cyber Stalking to Cyber Squatting or Xenophobic contents. And ignorance as we all know is not an excuse before the law. It is, therefore, imperative that journalists in general, take precautionary measures while trying to serve the public so as not to be condemned by the very people they so wish to serve.

“As a Journalist, you must be abreast of all the sections of the CyberCrime Act & Law of 2010 as it is applicable to journalism practice, especially those of you who have chosen your ply your trade in the digital space,” Orji explained.

He also enjoined print/broadcast journalists to as a matter of necessity, cross-check their facts and leaves out where in doubt before going to the press or on air as libelous publications and slanderous statements, could land both the journalists and the media outfit, in a serious court case.

After their presentations, the facilitators took time to answer participants’ questions on issues bothering the themes of the workshop.

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