19 December 2011 1 Comment

Citizen Journalism: The other side of the divide

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

Citizen journalism in Nigeria or elsewhere is a slippery terrain. It can be compared to a two- edged sword: it has capacity to help and hurt at the same time. We now live in open universe where nothing is hidden anymore. The consciousness of this should help us to organize our brands’ lifestyle in a way that will be devoid of bitter criticism except if the goal of the brand is to delight in this avenue.Citizen journalism, brand communication, brand and technology, Citizen journalism in nigeria

As a professional, we must learn to observe, monitor the environment and gain great knowledge from happenings around us. A Nigerian proverb says ‘ability to learn from the experiences of others is a great wisdom’. In other words we do not need to wait until it happens to our brands.

For those in the know, there is a video making news within Nigeria and online wave now. It has to do with a clergy who was accused of ‘slapping’ a girl supposedly ‘possessed’ with witchcraft spirit in a bid to ‘deliver’ her from such oppression. Lots of people had made comments condemning the acts. The wild reactions came from human right activists as well as those who think they have a right to comment. I stand to be corrected and I am sincere enough to say I will welcome readers’ reaction-whether positive or negative without bad feelings.

I have taken time to watch the about one and a half minute video and here are my observations. But first let me make these clarifications. I am neither a member or in any way associated with that organization. Neither will I support any form of abuse especially to womanhood or girl child. For those who do not know, I am a child right activist and we have an organization championing that cause. This may not be obvious to many because brand communication/social media seems to have been projected more. click here

One, I do think judging the content of a plate with its cover may not always be accurate. I am aware that the one minute video is an extraction from nothing less than a two hour activities. Is it possible to have a clue to proceeding event before that one minute video?  Was any of the people who came out for deliverance forced or manipulated to come to the front row where the supposedly act took place? Sure, the people in the meeting would not have been less than thirty thousand. That is if what everyone knows about the brand is correct.Can we actually ‘cry out blood’ while the abused has not shed any tear? Will it not be right if all of us as human/child right activists first seek out the ‘abused’ lady and find out details from her? These and many more questions beg for answers. But having said this, the followings are lessons brand communicators, custodians and owners can learn.

Always, always watch your back:  As brand custodian, we must be in the fore front of serving as watch dog with regards to every activity our brands are involved in. Someone may have a smart phone. Good intention may be misconstrued and the brand will become guilty even with sincere intention.

Always remember journalist’s gate keeper role: Most journalists do not know how to place the overall interest of the people concerned as a priority. They take story from the angle that may sound appealing to their targets. The issue of objectivity will always remain a concern as long as human beings are involved. This account for why sometimes stories are written from personal perspective instead of a proper understanding of the context.

Be careful, sincere action may be misinterpreted: While I am not holding brief for the ‘accused’ clergy for slapping the girl, I do believe further digging deep of behind the scenes that were not covered in the video might have given us a better perspective. Let us all learn from this.

Monitor, control brand’s emotion: Emotions can go wild if not controlled. Be in control of feelings the brand emotion is communicating

Please let me have your reactions in tons.

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