MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) which are the two major umbrella bodies that control the affairs of media practitioners in Nigeria have indicated interest in strengthening existing beat reporting associations for more robust contributions to the overall growth and development of journalism in the country.
National Presidents of NUJ and NGE, Chief Chris Isiguzo and Mr Mustapha Isa respectively gave the assurance on Sunday in Lagos during the investiture ceremony of Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello as a patron of the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN). The event took place at the Colossus Hotel, Ikeja.
Both presidents noted that before now, there had been controversy over beat reporting associations as some practitioners saw beat associations from the prism of professional cult groups ostensibly due to the way and manner some beat association officials carried on.
The NUJ boss and his NGE counterpart pointed out that from the track record of CRAN which was founded about thirty years ago, it was obvious that the Association had contributed more positively to the journalism profession in Nigeria particularly through CRAN’s Annual Lecture and Awards.
It would be recalled that about two decades ago, beat reporting associations had come under serious criticisms by some veterans in the profession to the extent that some newspapers like The Guardian forbade its reporters from fraternising with any beat association.
Experience has however, shown that beat reporting associations have more to offer than the imagined negative contributions.
This is evident in the specialisation in beat reportage and the disciplinary measures put in place by the beat operators towards professionalism.
Isiguzo noted that such disciplinary posture of beat associations has gone a long to sanitize the profession adding that NUJ leadership cannot be every where in checking the activities of all journalists.
“With what CRAN and similar beat associations have done so far, I am beginning to feel that we would have a re-think on beat reporting associations,” he said.