Networking for media career was the theme of the July fellowship of the Journalists For Christ (JFC) held in Lagos.
President of the organisation, Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin enjoined journalists to maximize networking opportunities available in the media industry.
Participants at the event took turn to share their networking experience as they were opened to learn from each other.
For Seye Joseph, networking means “How to do one or two things and get engaged with people to achieve a career goal. Getting people who do the kind of things you do.”
He also stated that “networking is a group of people trying to come together to achieve a common purpose, by common goal we mean there is a focus.”
Other participants following online also contributed to the discussion. Sunday Oguntola, a correspondent at the Nation Newspaper sent his comment via the social media.
“From Ecl 4:9-12, we see that networking is multiplying geometrically. In his own online comment, Gbenga Osinaike, Publisher of Church Times Nigeria before getting to the venue commented that “Ecl 4:9-12 is a very apt scripture because we live in a world where networking is necessary.”
Osinaike at the event contributed from Luke 16:9.
“Some of these things must be intentional because when you belong to some useful networks, you can easily find help in whatever relevant project you are on.”
In another online contribution, Admin Secretary of Journalists for Christ and writer with National Wire Dayo Emmanuel commented that Psalm 133 is a ready example for networking.
“Dwelling together in unity is networking. There is no point dwelling together in an organization or union without unity, there can’t be networking, if there is any net involved, it can’t work. Networking like the world wide web is a net that is working together for a common purpose,” he explained.
Osinaike also added a thought from 1 Cor. 9:20. “Coming from the level of everybody, sometimes pride debars us from maximizing what God has given to us,” he said, stating further that, “That pattern has always affected productivity in the news rooms, it affects the younger colleagues, it prevents crosslinking of ideas and prevents productivity.”
David Ibemere relayed his experience at the Metro Desk of the Guardian newspaper. “My editor thought me that when I get to an event I should identify with that person people won’t naturally relate with. He said that person would download information to me.”
Ibemere however recalled another experience and how the trick worked for him while looking for a placement for youth service.
“I was posted to a polytechnic along with nine other guys. It was the gateman I related well with who told me to go back home and return the next day because the Rector was not in good frame of mind. I returned the next day and I was the only one accepted,” he relayed.
Osinaike also recalled when he was to talk with a bereaved family.
“I went to the bereaved family, I had to identify and networked with them. That was how I was able to get the story, but I had to identify with them. To the Jews I became a Jew, he said.”
Otufodunrin however added that sometimes journalists always appear to stand and talk above the people they are to cover.
“The danger of journalism sometimes is that it stripes us of humanity and faith. Sometimes journalists are too proud to identify with people, they only want to get the story and move but it doesn’t always work, you must feel the pulse of the people and try to network,” he said.
Meanwhile, Oseyiza Oogbodo had a slight contrary opinion. “It depends on your editor, he may say go and interview the ‘devil’ and he would not take a NO. It is either you do the job or you don’t come back,” he said, narrating further another experience.
“I was sent to get a story from a bereaved family and getting there, nobody wanted to talk. I went to the landlord association of the area and getting there the man said I should call a younger brother of the deceased. He supplied the number. I called the number and that was how the brother gave me the full story and even pictures. I think it’s an example of networking but a lot of editors are difficult and unsympathetic.”
In his own response, Publisher of Yoruba Express newspaper, Pastor David Odunayo explained that networking should be a follow up of an activity.
“There must be net before networking,” he said, meaning that, “You must be working before you can take advantage of a network. Many people just hear networking and want to participate, there must be something you want to achieve,” he said.
Participants took turn to explain what they do and how networking has helped their operations.
Evelyn Osagie who works at The Nation Newspaper advised Journalists For Christ to facilitate training for journalists on needed skills.
“JFC can organise training on infographics, video editing and other relevant skills where members who are good in those areas can facilitate, it will go a long way,” the writer, aspiring poet advised.