Nigeria’s Media Houses Affected By COVID-18 Before Outbreak Of COVID-19– Dickson
The traditional media houses across the country have long been suffering from COVID-18 before the global outbreak of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Edward Dickson, the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of African Newspapers Nigeria Plc, the publishers of the Tribune Titles, said this while featuring on a weekly radio show, ‘Ayekooto on Radio’ anchored by Olayinka Agboola, on Tuesday.
He said the media houses were already being treated at what he called ‘the proverbial intensive care unit’, adding that it was increasingly onerous and difficult to stay afloat in the business’s murky waters.
Speaking on survival strategies for the newspaper industry in the country, Dickson said: “Specifically, it has been hectic running the Tribune titles. Running publishing outfits like this has been onerous.
“As a business, it is one that has been so difficult to understand. One can never be able to understand it. I will tell you that every copy of our publications out there is being sold at a loss.
“Go to any newspaper house in Nigeria and find out. And, you see, it has been those of us that God put in charge that are doing our very best to ensure that we keep publishing even if we have to burn fingers.
“The newspaper industry must survive. It must not crash because if it does, then, our society will be in deep trouble. This is because the typical newspaper house has a constitutional role to play as the watchdog and the conscience of the society.
“So, an average media manager sees it as his or her cardinal responsibility to ensure that the newspaper under his care does not die.”
Going down the memory lane, Mr Dickson said his most embarrassing moment as a journalist happened during the turbulent days in the struggle for the actualisation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election presumed to have been won by the late Chief MKO Abiola.
“There was this day in 1994 during the struggle for the actualisation of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election believed to have been won by Basorun MKO Abiola.
“That day, I was in a Volkswagen Combi bus going to work at the Punch Newspapers. I was seated at the back and it was time for the noon news on radio and it was announced just shortly before we got to Onipetesi Bus Stop in Ikeja that the Punch Newspaper had been shut down by the then military administration.
“The reaction of my fellow passengers in the bus shocked me. They said Punch’s wahala was too much. Some asked if Punch was the only newspaper in Nigeria, adding that it was good that the government shut it down.
“I was so shocked. And these were the people the newspaper was trying to represent by fighting for their collective rights.
“I was embarrassed more because, at that time, I was the newspaper’s correspondent that was covering MKO Abiola’s house and activities surrounding him,” he said.
The MD/E-I-C of the Tribune titles, however, said he is very fulfilled as a professional journalist, adding: “I have always wanted to be a journalist or a lawyer all my life.
“Added to this is the fact that I was also resolute that I would work at the Nigerian Tribune Newspaper. I have enjoyed every moment of my life as a journalist.”