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Experts task media owners on diversification for financial sustainability

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Mr Tshepo Mahloele, Chairman Arena Holdings, South Africa, has called on media owners in Africa to diversify their businesses in order to meet their financial requirements and ensure sustainability.

Mahloele said this while delivering his keynote address at the 10th Anniversary Conference of International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) on Wednesday in Abuja.

The event had its theme as `Media sustainability`.

Mahloele, represented by Mr Bongani Siqoro, General Manager, Strategy Alignment, Arena Holdings, said media owners should be focused and purpose-driven to ensure that their organisations contributed to the development of journalism in Africa.

He urged media owners to have clear strategy adding that, presently, social media had made almost everyone a journalist, hence the need for media owners to use technologies to take their news where they are needed.

“You cannot do it alone; you have to collaborate with others; if we want to grow our media as news makers in Africa we must collaboration with the international organisations such as Reuters, BBC, and VOA among others.

“The idea is to strengthen our finance, capacity building and reportage,’’ Mahloele said.

He advised media owners in the continent to diversify their media business from news content to other contents such as video, entertainment, audio and news documentary among others to make more money.

On the issue that newspapers were disappearing or dying, Mahloele said they were not dying but the pattern of the news consumption changed to social media.

He added that newspapers owners should also expand their frontiers to others areas such as motoring to make more money for their organisations.

Earlier, Mr Dayo Aiyetan, Executive Director, ICIR, said the event was an important conversation for the media houses, saying the mission of the organisation was to build capacity for Journalists to do investigative reporting.

According to Aiyetan, ICIR started with only two staff members but at present has 40 workers.

“The road to starting ICIR was very rough as the organisation faced financial challenges but with the donor funding it is able to survive; However, the funding is still not enough’’, he said.

He called on other media organisation such as Nigeria Union of Journalists, Nigerian Guild of Editors and others media organisations to ensure that media sustainability was continual.

He further advised journalists that if money meant for projects were stolen by government official(s) both private and government media houses must expose the individuals.

He added that a situation where some journalists failed to expose corrupt government officials was not good for the society.

Ms Kadaria Ahmed, one of the panelists, said that sustainability of journalism depended on the sustainability of our country first, because there could not be a sustainability of journalism without other social amenities.

According to her, a situation where there is no electricity and other enabling environments and media owners have to sources all these by themselves, media sustainability cannot exist.

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