Adapt To New Realities, Iwere Tells Nigerian Newspapers | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Adapt To New Realities, Iwere Tells Nigerian Newspapers

Posted: Jul 31, 2015 at 7:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Judith Eshemitan  –  Lagos


Nigerian newspapers have been urged to adapt to the challenges posed by today’s digital age, or risk imminent death.

Speaking on Thursday at the 80th Birthday Lecture of Uncle Sam Amuka, publisher of Vanguard Newspapers Limited, Mr. Ted Iwere, Managing Director of Independent Newspapers Limited, noted that the digital age, though a threat to the print media, is not supposed to force newspapers out of print.

In the lecture entitled: “Today’s Newsroom, Tomorrow’s Newspaper: How to Survive and Thrive in the Internet Age,” Iwere expressed optimism that Nigerian newspapers would not die.

He said: “If my optimism becomes unfounded and our newspapers die, my hunch is that the coroner’s report will not be that they were killed by the internet.

“The cause of death will most likely be suicide. It will be that, like the dinosaur, our newspapers failed to adapt to the demands of the time.”

He disclosed that this is the idea behind the ongoing “digital first” transformation at Independent Newspapers Limited, as it adapts to the internet age by first renovating and transforming of its “newsroom in readiness for tomorrow’s newspaper.”

Iwere pointed to the 30 per cent growth in circulation figures of the 127-year old Financial Times of London over the past five years to 737,000, with the digital edition accounting for 70 per cent of that and half of the traffic being driven by mobile.

This is one model for re-creation, marketing of products and services of the newspaper business, besides a re-organisation of the newsroom and reinvention of content creation and distribution in the industry.

This and other models, he continued, “call for newspaper publishers and journalists to keep informed and re-tool themselves on the opportunities arising from the continuing convergence of the newspaper and the internet.”

The event, expectedly, attracted the who-is-who in the Nigerian media industry to celebrate one of theirs.

A book, Voices from Within: Essays on Nigerian Journalism in Honour of Sam Amuka, an outpouring of tributes to commemorate the 80th birthday of doyen of the industry, was launched.

The book featured 22 contributors selected for their commitment to the continued growth of the media industry.

Among them are lecturer of the day, Ted Iwere; Frank Aigbogun, publisher, BusinessDay; Debo Adesina, Editor-in-Chief, The Guardian; Azu Ishiekwene, columnist, Leadership; Mrs. Tinu Odugbemi, former chairperson, Lagos Chapter of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ); Mallam Mohammed Haruna, columnist, Daily Trust and The Nation; and Gbemiga Ogunleye, provost, Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ).

Others are: Ben Lawrence, former managing editor, Daily Times and columnist, Tell magazine; Gbenga Adefaye, General Manager and Editor-in-Chief, Vanguard; Mr. Mideno Bayagbon, editor, Vanguard; Kunle Oyatomi, former editor, Sunday Vanguard; Muyiwa Adetiba, pioneer editor of Vanguard; Tunde Fagbenle, columnist, Sunday Punch; Mallam Ish’aq Moddibo Kawu, columnist, Vanguard; Kenny Adamson, editorial cartoonist and Lanre Idowu, chief executive, Diamond Publications, who also edited the book, among others.