Mrs Moji Makanjuola, Chief Executive Officer, International Society of Media in Public Health, has urged journalists covering the health beat to be more aggressive, professional and proactive in their work.
“Many people can read and write, but not all of them are journalists nor do they have the news nose and analytics that we have for news and its impact,’’ she said to underscore the need for journalists to be professional.
Makanjuola made the assertions in a presentation at a-three day COVID-19 reportage assessment meeting held at Goshen, Nasarawa State, on“ ”Moment of Truth: Assessing the Media Reportage of COVID-19 in Nigeria.’’
According to her, practicing journalism in these modern times required elements of aggression and proactivity, especially in situations where “you have a good story and your editor does not use it, you should use your social media handles, provided of course it is true, verifiable and sound.
“We should have engaged researchers wherever they are in this our global village: we have enough researchers too; we should have engaged people everywhere to obtain a good story for our publics.
“We should have a new mind-set – a determination to rid our nation of COVID-19, – the media way.
Thus, she stressed, health journalists in their proactivity, should have authoritatively taken over the professional domain, tracking COVID-19 stories, their impact, mitigation, and an assessment of ”what works, what does not work. What is being done right and what is being done wrong.’’ .
`We should have searched, researched to give out genuine, authentic, credible and authoritative news all of the time.
“We should have been backed by evidence and data for believability. We have the pen, the knowhow and the authority to do so. That after all is what we are paid to do,’’ she said.
Moji also said health journalists should, along with playing their mainline role, taken over the social media since journalists are influencers in their own rights, and health journalists should have, over the years built their respective social media platforms to engage with their publics.
“We should have had active social media pages where our followers and likers listened to what we had to give and it would have been respected and venerated”.
She noted that since society had apportioned the traditional role of gatekeeping to journalists, a role that had also devolved to them by anthropology, “It is at times like this – in this pandemic, that the role becomes even more clarified and important,’’ she said, citing the traditional tools, camera, pen, paper, midget and microphones, as still being effective in conferring relevance to the profession.
In addition, Makanjuola encouraged the journalists to do more investigative reports to improve on their reporting, saying, “We could have been more investigative; we could have been more Vox Populi Vox Dei to find out how people felt.
“We could have bridged the information gap in a timely, concerted and organised manner– after all we are the professionals, hence “We should not have left our turf to the ignorant, the untrained and uneducated”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three-day conference, which began on Friday, is expected to end on Sunday. (NAN)