By Our Reporter
The need to ensure online journalists operate within the ambits of the ethics and the path charted by the traditional media has been described as the key to maintaining the integrity of the journalism profession as online media phases in.
The Special Assistant, Media to Cross River governor, Benedict Ayade, Mr. Solomon Asha stated this Saturday, while delivering a paper on “Basic Tools of News Writing” at a capacity building workshop organized by CrossRiverWatch for their reporters and other online media platforms owners and their reporters in Calabar.
Asha stressed the need for online media outfits to get the basics right in news writing amongst other things in order to be taken seriously.
“The irrefutable and immutable fact that the future of the 21st century and beyond lies in the new media, and certainly not with the traditional media cannot be over-flogged, bearing in mind that the new media can reach global audience by a snap of the finger, and almost instantly getting global reaction within few minutes of passing out the news or information.
“It is a reality that we are moving forward and not backward in the field of journalism. It is also true that journalism appreciates innovations and moves with the changing tides, but do not forget the beautiful and long lasting things and order of the past which helped in making the profession respected globally and became the undisputable fourth estate of the realm”.
Asha who until his appointment was the Editor of CrossRiverWatch also stated the implication if the standard news writing format was not maintained.
“These basic order, direction and laid down procedure of news writing, if dropped on the premise of moving with time, then it will amount to destroying the very foundation of the profession, which will reduce news writing to mere prose writing” he said.
He further lectured participants on the standard news writing format often called “the inverted pyramid”, where he differentiated between the types and elaborated on news sourcing, gathering and writing where he warned that fallacies be avoided to ensure the reportage is objective.
Asha who says it may take less than 10 years from now for the traditional media to phase out posited that despite the advantage of reaching a global audience instantaneously, online journalists have “a greater burden” and “moral obligation” to ensure that their reportage is not just the truth but must also be “objective, fair, balanced, clear, brief, punchy, flowing with language and build rather than incite crisis”.
The capacity building workshop which held at the mini conference hall at the Secretariat of the Association of Cross River Online Journalists, ACROJ according to the organizers, CrossRiverWatch is now billed for every Saturday with young people interested in online journalism urged to attend.