Journalism is the business of gathering and dissemination of Information professionally, and taking full responsibility of the outcome. Today, many people gather and disseminate information because of the desire to trend, make money, and not make sense, because there is no easy route to other professions. However, many scholars have argued whether journalism is a profession or craft. But until today, there has not been any logical conclusion as far as the debate is concerned.
“Why do people oppose having Journalism training before practicing the profession? Journalism is the only known profession for all comers, especially in Nigeria. If this, then, should be the case, the following questions should be answered: Why can’t a Computer Scientist be allowed to practice Medicine, or a Business major be allowed to practice Law? Have you seen where a non-Lawyer is appointed as Attorney General and Minister of Justice? Definitely not, and the reason is because they have to train to practice either of those professions.
Debunking the myth that newspapermen are born and not made, Joseph Pulitzer, founder of the Pulitzer School of Journalism, is quoted in ‘Interpretative Reporting’ by Curtis D. MacDougall, Professor Emeritus of Journalism, as saying: “The only position that occurs to me that a man in our Republic can successfully fill by the simple fact of birth is that of an idiot. Is there any position for which a man does not demand and receive training – training at home, training in schools and colleges, training by master craftsmen, or training through bitter experience – through the burns that make the child dread fire, through blunders costly to the aspirant?”
“The ‘born editor’ who has succeeded greatly, without special preparation, is simply a man of unusual ability and aptitude for his chosen profession, with great power of concentration and sustained effort… Even in his case, might it not be an advantage to have a system of instruction that would give him the same results at saving of much time and labour?”
You and others against training to be a Journalist to practice Journalism should chew the above declarative statement by Mr. Pulitzer”.That was the submission of Ehichioya Ezoma,who commented on a write up regarding journalism training by Amzat Ajibola,an Abuja based journalist with ICIR, in a post on Facebook.
This submission actually captures a lot as journalists should stop attacking each other and allow the profession to move forward. This is 21st Century; we can’t continue to remain in the back seat when other professions are scaling up.
It is time for the Nigerian Union of Journalist, Nigerian Guild of Editors and other professional associations to come together and support legislation. Those in the media with other backgrounds can write an exam or desire to take a postgraduate course.
The Nigerian Union of journalists can come up with a professional exam like ICAN,NIPR,APCON to train first timers on rudiments of the profession. This will go a long way in removing cracks from the profession.
Let us not forget the power bestowed on the press in the 1999 Constitution, Chapter 2,Section 22 which empowers us to serve as watchdog in the society,this has shown that our profession, is not just for people who can have access to social media but people who posses professional journalistic skills that can hold government accountable to the people.
Journalism training is not negotiable for anyone who wishes to practice the profession, enough of fake news.
It is never too late.