Students of the Mass Communication Department of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, have pledged to take up the challenge by Media Trust Group (MTG) to accord greater priority towards acquiring digital skills to enhance employment chances after graduation.
The students, who participated in career talks jointly organized by their department and MTG, publishers of Daily Trust, and Aminiya newspapers and owners of Trust TV and Trust Radio, said the practical orientation provided them has motivated them towards becoming practising journalists in the future.
The session, which was held at the university’s Post Graduate school, was anchored by Media Trust’s Group Executive Director, Editorial and Digital (GED), Naziru Mika’ilu Abubakar, General Manager, Human Resources and Development Service, Hadiza Ibrahim Bala, and Chief Operating Officer (COO)of Trust Radio, Muhammad Kabir Muhammad.
While appreciating the impact of the one-day training, a 400-level student of mass communication, Hannah Omokafe, described the forum as timely, as specialisation in one aspect of the media is no longer enough. She said that diverse digital skills are key in journalism practice.
“I have realised that while a journalist must work in synergy with other media outfits, diverse knowledge in different fields of operations makes a reporter more resourceful and relevant in the job,” she said.
Another student from the same department, Ladejobi Taofeek, said she learnt that digital skills provide an edge over graduates with only a certificate of journalism in this era of convergence and multimedia challenges.
“Being a cub reporter, one needs to acquire digital skills that will enable him/her to remain relevant in media practice. The biggest lesson I have learnt is the fact that, as a journalist, it seems all the media outfits are somehow interwoven, and saying you’re exclusively working for one media and neglecting others is no longer the job requirements,” she said.
Taofeek said another lesson learnt was that for added employment advantage, graduates must be conversant with digital trends in the media industry.
“Like learning how to operate a camera, video editing, broadcast techniques in radio and television as well as good writing ability,” she noted.
Dennis Doka, another 400-level student, described the forum as an eye-opener, especially for graduating students who are about to enter the labour market.
He said the presentations have inspired him more to go into journalism practice.
Similarly, Jamilat Aliyu said the Media Trust’s programme was exceptionally educative and provided her with the rare opportunity of tapping from the vast experiences of practicing journalists from the famous Daily Trust newspapers.
“I am overjoyed as I got to meet with its personnel one-on-one. It’s really exciting as I learnt a lot from them,” she added.
Speaking on the aim of the Media Trust career talks, the GED underscored the need for attracting more capable hands from institutions into the media industry.
He stressed that the convergence of the media industry necessitates the need for students of mass communication to adopt and stay versatile, learning relevant skills, and cross-media activities to remain highly employable after completion of their studies.
While speaking on the news aspect of the profession, he emphasised that the “flair and passion for writing is very important in the journalism business, because when words are twisted and put out in the right manner they simply compel audience attention.”
He stressed on acquiring digital skills such as video editing, camera handling, and audio production into the art of writing, explaining that it makes a journalist more valuable and employable in the media industry.
Abubakar also encouraged students to learn skills of navigating various social media spaces and master the art of telling a full story in a few words to grab the attention of younger audiences.
He pointed out that in today’s world, the issue of area of specialization is no longer a greater priority in the media industry as the convergence of mass mediums has established the necessity for multitasking.
He therefore implored aspiring journalists to harness their skills and specialize in various aspects in addition to the theoretical knowledge acquired from classrooms, which are strong foundation rather than relying on just declaring interest in one aspect of journalism.
Also speaking, Hadiza Ibrahim Bala said the importance of partnership between Media Trust and ABU has been in place for many years.
She noted that the company has provided employment opportunities to the best-graduating students of mass communication and will continue to recruit the best hands into the media industry, which is a critical factor for national development.
In his remarks, the COO of Trust Radio, Muhammad Kabir Muhammad enjoined all students to practice, learn and develop requisite digital skills to ease their entrance into the media industry.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Kabir Bala, who was represented by the Dean, Faculty of Social Science, Shamsuddeen Mohammed, pledged to enhance the collaboration with Media Trust for practical training of its students.
He challenged other media organizations to emulate the gesture by partnering with the university as part of their social responsibility to groom students for greater heights.
The Head of Department, Mass Communication, ABU Zaria, Dr Adama Adamu, while applauding Media Trust for the gesture and enduring partnership, noted that the collaboration has yielded positive results as students in the department have been gaining employment opportunities in the media company.
Adamu who described Media Trust Limited as one of the famous media companies, a conglomerate in radio, television and print outfits, said it has remained objective and uncompromising in its reportage.
She said the media industry has served as one of the reference points and case studies in their academic training of students.