The Publisher of PREMIUM TIMES, Dapo Olorunyomi, was on Friday honoured by the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, NIJ.
The veteran journalist was conferred with the Fellowship of the NIJ at the institution’s 5th convocation ceremony held in Ogba, Lagos.
Mr Olorunyomi was honoured at the event alongside businessman and philantropist, Kesington Adebutu.
Speaking at the event, the chairman of the institution’s Governing Council, Ismaila Isa, urged the graduands to be of good character once they leave the school.
Mr Isa, represented by veteran journalist Ray Ekpu, noted that the social media had changed communication dynamics and journalism practice. He explained that the internet has made it possible for every owner of communication gadget to disseminate ‘news’ online.
“They practice what people erroneously call citizen journalism… (but) it is a misnomer to call (it) social media citizen journalism.
“It could be called ‘citizen conversation’,” he said.
He noted that journalism practice is more rigorous and strictly based on ethics, ”something totally different from the practice of how people circulate unverified information on social media.”
Mr Isa also advised the graduands to stay on the side of truth and facts.
He said, “Let facts be the article of faith. Do not circulate falsehoods because it can hurt your career and country.
“If you work hard, you will get there.”
In his address, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, urged the graduands to strive hard so they can succeed.
Mr Mohammed, represented by Bayo Onanuga, the Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, admonished the graduands to be creative and resilient because ”survival is very tough in the real world.”
The Provost of the NIJ, Gbemiga Ogunleye, in his speech said the institution has produced some of the brightest minds in Nigerian journalism.
Mr Ogunleye however called for government support for the institution through its Tertiary Education Support Fund.
He urged the graduands to be conscious of the challenges facing the media and hold the ethics of the profession dear in their practice.
The Chairman of the convocation ceremony, Kabiru Yusuf, in his speech urged the graduands to be passionate about the profession.
Mr Yusuf, Publisher of Daily Trust newspaper, said passion and commitment to the job would take the graduands far in the industry.
“Write to express, not to impress,” he said of an advice given to him by one of his editors which he implored the graduands too to hold dear.
He also challenged them to create opportunities ”where there seem to be none”.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to outstanding graduating students and conferment of Fellowship on Messrs Olorunyomi and Adebutu.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Olorunyomi said the two major crises facing the Nigerian media today are the challenges of sustainability and ethics.
The PREMIUM TIMES publisher who is also an alumnus of the NIJ said there is urgent need to fix the broken edges of the profession because the future of the country is in the hands of journalists.
To save governance and democratic practices, he said, ”the journalism crisis must be resolved”. He also thanked the governing council of the institution of finding him worthy of the fellowship.
Messrs Olorunyomi and Adebutu join past fellows of the institution including veteran media personality, Tony Momoh; Olusegun Osoba, veteran journalist and former Ogun State governor; Sam Amuka, publisher of Vanguard newspaper and the late Alade Odunewu.
Others include: Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State governor; Boni Haruna; Muhammad Goje; Veteran broadcaster Abike Dabiri-Erewa; Thisday publisher Nduka Obaigbena; Doyin Abiola; John Momoh; Maiden Ibru; Wada Maida; Kabiru Yusuf; Gbenga Adefaye; and the late presidential spokesperson, Remi Oyo.