By Ikeugonna Eleke
The Commissioner for Information in Anambra State, Mr Paul Nwosu, has advised journalists to step up their game of information gathering and dissemination, in order to beat social media users.
Nwosu said this when he hosted journalists from the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Anambra State Council, in his office on Wednesday.
He said the advent of social media seemed to be over shadowing regular journalism practice, but insisted that the owners of the job were journalists, noting that the only way to source credible news was to read articles by trained journalists.
He said: ‘Social media has not mitigated what you do in the mainstream media. The social media people call themselves journalists but we know those who are the real journalists.
‘You people are the real journalists. You are trained, you have ethics that guide your practice. There are doctrines and ethics that you abide by. Social media throws all that away, and they are not the journalists that we have always known.
‘Even as much as we think that social media rules the space today, people who are thirsty for the truth still go back to our good old newspaper. Nothing compares to holding the newspaper in your hand and reading it; that is the only way people can read and be sure that what they are reading is credible.
‘They know that only journalists will make phone calls, confirm and reconfirm to be sure that what they are about to publish is the truth, but the social media does not. No one sanctions them, so they do what they like.’
Nwosu said that most people just read the social media to titillate their minds and entice themselves, but never believed them because they were deceptive.
He said it was the coming of social media that brought the terminology ‘fake news’, adding that before now, news was always credible and that it was either news or it was not news at all.
The commissioner, who also applauded the chapel for the plan to hold a workshop on the forthcoming general elections, said it would also be good to inculcate trainings in the workshop to help journalists in the state upgrade their practice.
The journalists were led to the commissioner by the chairman of the Chapel, Mr Chuks Ilozue, a journalist with Daily Independent Newspaper; and Mr David-Chyddy Eleke of THISDAY, who is also the chairman of the workshop committee.