By Daniel Adaji
Daily Trust Foundation on Monday, August 22, 2022, unveiled its latest project entitled Media Enterprise Lab (MEL), designed to equip media and journalism professionals with knowledge and skills for self-sustainability.
The new project was inaugurated at the headquarters of Media Trust Group in Abuja by the Chairman of the Foundation, Alhaji Bilya Bala, board members of the non-profit organization, and the Director (Africa) of MacArthur Foundation, Dr Kole Shettima. The project is being supported with funding from MacArthur Foundation.
The MEL project, which will run from 2022 – 2024, will provide journalists with the opportunity to be trained in six identified areas, including Digital Marketing, Film and Documentary Production, Book Writing and Editing, Document Digitization, Managing Non-Profit Organizations, and Multimedia Skills for Freelance Journalism.
The project commenced with a two-month training in Digital Marketing skills, and shall run till the end of September, 2022. Twenty-five journalists are undergoing the training.
At the inauguration, Malam Mannir Dan-Ali, a former Editor-in-Chief of Daily Trust and Chief Executive Officer of Media Trust Limited, encouraged journalists to make use of the opportunity being provided by the Foundation to develop skills that would earn them reasonable income, instead of waiting for some employers to pay them salaries that may not be enough the cater for their monthly needs.
Malam Dan-Ali gave an anecdotal account of how Daily Trust newspaper, started by few budding journalists, has become an established media organization in the country. “We didn’t have the skills you have today when we started Daily Trust,” he told participants.
On his part, Dr Shettima, explained that MacArthur Foundation supports media and journalism in Nigeria because without the media there would be no vibrant democracy, because the media remains the cornerstone of democracy, anywhere in the world.
Explaining why the Foundation decided to embark of the MEL project, Dr Theophilus Abbah, the Programme Director of the Foundation, said, “Many journalists have skills but do not know how to make use of them for self-sustainability. The training is a bid to help journalists develop their skills in several aspects of journalism and to enable them use those skills to earn income, without necessarily waiting for monthly salaries.”
Many journalists have skills but do not know how to make use of them for self-sustainability
He added that though there are many journalists who work as freelancers, many of them “do not know how to maximize the opportunities because their skills are not properly developed. That is why this training has been put together to expose journalists to several opportunities within the media enterprise and tap into them for maximum economic and professional benefit.”
The Consultant on the project, Mr Hassan Abdul, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Media Range Limited, also explained that the training would enable journalists to passionately embrace the digital space. He defined new media as “evolutionary and the forms of media that are computational and rely on computers for production and distribution”.
According to him, “Journalism is just a fragment of media communication and as the world evolves, there is need for media professionals to equip themselves with relevant digital skills in order not to be left behind”. He talked on the need for journalists to think beyond salaries in order to remain relevant in the fast changing media world.
There is need for media professionals to equip themselves with relevant digital skills in order not to be left behind
Hassan noted that journalists knew too many things but do very little, adding that that there was need for experienced journalists to learn new skills to help them stay afloat and brace up with the challenges in the new world of digitization.