Experts task photojournalists on professionalism

By Abimbola Mohammed 

Media experts and creative professionals in the Integrated Marketing Communication industry have called on photojournalists to apply professionalism, be creative and security conscious as they go about fulfilling their principal responsibilities and duties in the forthcoming elections.

This call was made during the Guild of Photojournalists Nigeria’s (GPN) 2nd annual Conference/ Exhibition & Awards, which was held recently at the Lagos country Club, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos. The theme of this year’s event was: “Visual Communication: Threat or Asset to National Security and Social Development in Election Year.”

Speaking at the conference, Lekan Otunfodunrin, CEO, Media Career Development Network, noted that visual communicators, photojournalists etc. should be security conscious, get quality gadgets and equipment to aid quality dissemination of information.

“I commend the effort of the Guild of Photo Journalists for organizing such a commendable conference. This initiative is a good example for every media professional to emulate and preserve the dignity of the profession. There is a need to improve the standard of practice,” he said.

The media guru noted that, in the multimedia age, it is incumbent on every journalist to be able to communicate beyond the previous narrow confines of specialization as a reporter, photojournalist and visual graphic artist.

Speaking on security in an election year, Otunfodurin noted: “It is apt for this year’s conference to be held at this time of the year. Communication is a very key factor that can make or mar the success of an election, even in a democratic country. As we prepare for the general elections, visual communication can be a great asset to national security and social development if properly utilized, as visual communication can enhance national security and social security in many ways.”

He averred that visual communication could be a threat if it is not done ethically. He warned that the use of visual communication should not distort the intention of a message or promote false impressions.

“Photojournalists should be properly equipped to perform the role expected of them, and media organizations shouldn’t rate visual/ photojournalists low in terms of price and service,” he said.

Otunfodurin also advised photojournalists to be security conscious while they brace up for the elections, as no photograph is worth their lives.

On his part, Lanre Adisa, CEO, Noah’s Ark, represented by Jesujoba Popoola, said photojournalism plays a very important role and will continue to eloquently play the role of visual communication in the industry.

“Visual communication is powerful because a single picture can tell a story that you can’t scribble down in 4 or 5 paragraphs. But with this new generation that goes everywhere with their phones and taking pictures, we now have very imperial or fake stories spreading around. We have people with no training or experience, who just happen to have a phone with good quality that can zoom as far as possible or crop out images from past events.

“Marketing communication practitioners know the importance of visuals, and we have copy led communication where we write what we want the audience to understand – some of the information can pass across with one single visual. For a professional journalist to cover a complete story there is need to understand what is happening in angle A and B. In the communication world your visuals have only communicated when you have given a balanced perception. It is our duty as professionals to censor, to safeguard the channels with which we pass communication across,” Popoola said.

He advised professionals/veterans in the industry to practice balanced communication and feed people with the right information.

In the same vein, Ozone Mbanefo, Provost, O2Academy, challenged the practitioners to be disciplined and authentic to place the profession on a higher pedestal, if they must be accorded the recognition they deserve.

“What you know gives you an edge, which is why it is called knowledge. When we become more principled with what we do, it will go so far in helping us where we find ourselves. As a photojournalist, you are the eye of the people. What happens out there is perception and perception is stronger than reality. You must be as authentic as possible in your job; not in one aspect, but in everything,” he said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    No comments found.