This simply means that there is no human being on Earth whether blind, deaf or dumb that does not have the ability to communicate in one form or the other.
One fact you all probably may know is that communication is a primary component in Journalism and a Journalist is a professional practitioner.
This explains why despite having natural communication abilities one who hopes to tow a career line in journalism goes further to study mass communication.
Another example in this context is public Relations.
Virtually all Humans have a natural ability to relate with others via communication, project self, family or business as well as protect, manage and market its image positively to the world around him/her.
But despite the natural abilities inherent in man, one who wants to tow a career line in Public Relations would naturally opt to study Public Relations or communication studies with major or specialty in Public Relations.
Permit me to drop one last example:
Virtually every Human being had naturally by survival instinct learnt how to take care of he/her physical self. Bathing to keep clean, eating well to stay alive and healthy, carrying out some forms of first aid and sometimes major interventions in a bid to stay healthy using either traditional or orthodox means or both.
Now I ask………
Does the fact that one can communicate makes you a journalist?
Does the fact that you can manage, project, protect and market your image, or business entity make you a Public Relations practitioner?
Does the fact that you can give yourself, (your body) some form of care to stay alive and healthy make you a medical Doctor?
If the answers to the above are yes, why then do people study, Mass communication, communication Arts, communication studies or Journalism to become journalists?
Why then do people go all out to study Public Relations, communications, advertising and marketing to practice Public Relations?
Why then do people go to study Medicine for very long years in the colleges of medicine in our universities to obtain an MBBS Degree or an MBCH to practice medicine?
May I make it clear here that even the three examples I gave do not necessarily qualify you or permit you by law to be addressed as a member of that profession, most of which have a professional umbrella body.
Now, I’m sure you all know that even with your natural abilities to care for health of people or your medical School degree in medicine (even if it’s a first class), you can’t practice as a doctor untill you’re certified and registered by the Nigerian medical and dental Council. Only those registered ones are licensed to practice and are all inducted as members of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA. Outside this you’re a quack.
You may be good in the medical field, carrying out exploits but the fact remains you do so outside laid down regulation!
Same goes for Public relation practice! You personal skills or your study of relevant courses in the academia notwithstanding, you can’t practice as a Public Relations officer u till you are a member of the Nigerian institute of Public Relations, NIPR which has various levels. The full Fellow, or associate members category. In fact when seeking the services of the PR manager most reputable organisations stipulate that you must be a member of the NIPR.
So it is with journalist and journalism!
One’s recognised ability to communicate be it in writing, speaking no matter how good does not make you a journalist.
The fact that one gathers I formation and disseminates same does not make him/her a journalist!
Studying relevant disciplines in colleges may add to you in your knowledge about journalism.
After all everyone can gather information and disseminate.
Unlike yesteryears when you have to have access to a print or electronic medium or own one (newspaper or magazine, Radio or TV ) it’s a lot easier today as such information gathered can’t be churned up within a twinkle of an eye, real time. Thanks to new media!
It’s far easier to access, cheaper if not free! All you need is a mobile devise.
It’s worthy of note that the NMA for medical practitioners (Doctors), the NIPR for Public Relations professionals and the NUJ for certified practitioners in the journalism profession are regulatory in nature.
The broaden the horizon of their members in line with global best practices.
The bring decorum and sanity to their practice for a better society.
Imagine everyone who can render some form of medical care based on flare, or natural abilities running hospitals! Many would die untimely deaths!
Imagine everyone being image keeper, protector and projector! We could imagine the barrage of faulty presentations and representations most of which would lead to pitching one interest against the other’s interested! Fights and litigation for plenty.
Now we’re not just imagining but experiencing where everyone who can write, speak and use the cyber space to disseminate information they gather to the world and thus creating tension, apprehension and heating up of the polity.
This tend becomes so worrisome because the age long revered and noble profession, journalism which involves specialised training on how to gather information as well as how to professionally process such information to ensuring factuality, objectivity, neutrality and Fairness is being carried out by those who don’t have this training.
I refer to them as “incidental journalists” as they do so more out of personal necessity to survive than service to Humanity.
You can pay them to put out just anything you would have them put out.
Particularly, if you politically exposed personalities, celebrities and religious figures have fallen victim to these ‘incidental quacks’ who don’t bother about truth, objectivity, fairness, and all the ethos enshrined in professional journalism practice!
Such characters doing this in Akwa Ibom State hide under the broad name of bloggers!
They are not in the true sense bloggers because real bloggers don’t do this.
Ask Linda Ikeji!
My respect goes out to my brother Cavil Inwang, Atuekong Bassey, my friend Anietie James Ekah and a few others who I can’t mention here for lack of space, who have been consistent and gave carved a niche for themselves as great online influencers!
Perhaps the successes of these guys in the New Media world had lit up a bulp of mischievous
necessity for them to survive by using the internet with its vast acceptance as an effective information dissemination tool.
I must confess here that sadly even some of the certified journalist do engage in this malicious and damaging ignoble act in the cause of their practice!
But the difference between them and those ‘incidentals’ is that they belong and are accountable to a professional body, the NUJ which can sanction them using the instrumentality and ethics and disciplinary committees set up by the state Council, while the ‘incidentals’ are on the prowl and all on their own operating from the trenches, most times as faceless personalities with pseudo names online.
These are the one’s who argue that journalism is not a profession but a vocation.
Make no mistake about this that these ‘incidentals’ were the one’s the veteran journalist, Ray Ekpu was referring to when delivering a lecture at a seminar for Akwa Ibom journalists in Uyo.
Real bloggers please read the keep the good work! You better your lot if you want to better your news blog getting training in any journalistic appraisal programs like that offered by the Nigerian Institute journalism NIIJ in Uyo so as to be certified and up to speed with professional journalism trends globally.
For my dear professional colleagues and don’t lose touch with time and technology.
Keep up with every innovation Modern technology offers and master it, that way you will remain relevant and hold your own against the incidental journalist! .
Journalism is in upholding the ethics of the profession.
An indiscipline journalist isn’t a journalist. Once you are no more liberal, truthful, objective and factual you cease to be one. Once you begin to hold an opinion, you cease to be one.
For bloggers go and update yourselves and be professional and specialize either as a property blogger, history blogger, social blogger, and political or religious blogger!
Build your audience and grow,, make monetary gains and fame like the Linda Ikeji’s of this world.
News bloggers should ensure they put out content that are factual, and objective, to be unbiased,and fair to to the public. The engage professionals to manage your content.
But don’t say you’re a journalist because you have a blog.
By Charles Bassey Silas
Charles Bassey Silas is a broadcast Journalist with 24 years experience, a staff of FRCN and media for Development expert (EU) 🇪🇺
From Uyo local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State.