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CAREER UNCERTAINTIES AND THE FUTURE OF MASS COMMUNICATION PROFESSIONALS IN A DISTRESSED ECONOMY.

By Chido Obidiegwu

 

“Daddy I want to be like you.They call you golden voice.You named me Diamond.I want to be called diamond voice.I want to be talking at events or radio or television like you.Please Dad allow me to study Mass Communication as you did”. That’s my first daughter Diamond Chimamanda speaking.

I refused and discouraged her resulting in a father versus daughter cold war.The war was raging when Prof. Angela Nwanmuo,the head of department of Mass Communication at Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu University,Igbariam invited me as a keynote speaker at her department’s students week event. She graciously gave me the latitude to speak on any relevant topic of my choice.That altercation with my daughter came handy and influenced my choice of the above topic.

I dissuaded my daughter from studying Mass Communication because of extant sordid experiences of Mass Communication professionals in Nigeria today ; be they practitioners of Advertising,Public Relations,Print and Electronic media journalism, other talk service providers and and their likes.

I therefore thought it germane to provoke thoughts and possibly instigate action towards battling the threats to my profession inspite of the diverse opportunities inherent therein.

To this end,I firstly diagnosed the fundamental problem which hinges on the deficiency in the curricular of our Mass Communication Schools.They are more theoretical than practical and are devoid of entrepreneurial armament.

The vexatious advent of social media which gave rise to upsurge of a colony of half baked ” influencers” whose main qualification is ability to own an Android phone and load in some data also came to the fore for scrutiny.
The disheartening demise of drives of Advertising Agencies,Public Relations Companies, Newspaper publishing companies ( especially government owned), irregular or in some cases non payment of salaries of the ones that survived, suffocating non payment for services rendered by government media houses by the governments were dexterously pin pointed.

I also brought to the fore the violation of creative concepts copyrights of practitioners by prospective clients as well as shortchanging of practitioners in their rightful placements and Advert commissions.

The perplexing abuse in the issuance of Radio and Television ownership licenses
to cronies,politicians and non professionals which has obviously affected industry standards was not spared in the intercourse.

Being an unrepentant solutionist advocate who would not want to be typed a prophet of doom,I posited that all hopes are not lost afterall.I marshalled out some postulations that could help in managing the perilous times we are in.

They include:
1.Expedient review of the curricular of Mass Communication schools to equip fresh practitioners with the weaponry to face the new world information,communication and technology order,become self motivated and gainfully employed entrepreneurs.
2.Collapsing and forging the plethora of professional Associations into a united pressure group to lobby and sponsor bills for the birthing of laws that will truly and genuinely professionalize Mass Communication professionals in the National Assembly. Some of the legislations to be pursued include and not limited to:

a.That Mass Communication professionals must head the media desks of all government Ministries, Agencies and Departments as well as similar units at all medium and large scale Corporate Organizations
b.Placements and Advert commissions must be specific privileges and preserve of professionals
c.Copyright laws must made effective to the letters on the protection of creative concepts and proposals developed by professional members
d.Professionals must be given the first right of refusal in the issuance of broadcast stations ownership licences while already issued licences not in use should be revoked
e.Federal and State governments and their parastarals must promptly pay for services rendered by their media houses to guarantee their survival
f.The social media law must be given greater bite and phangs and fake news culprits should be made to face the Law.

Concluding,I submitted that my recipes were not in anyway exhaustive or sufficient and urged my audience to devise their own approach to tackle the menace asphyxiating and harmorhaging our trade.

I also called for further studies or indepth research on the subject matter noting that”uncertainties can either enrich our lives or diminish our lives”.

I pray that the uncertainties we experience now enriches our lives such that I will be encouraged to reconsider my stance over my daughter’s desire.

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