Author: Jossy Nkwocha,
Publishers: Zoom Lens Books, Lagos
Reviewer: Mezie Ekenna, ANIPR
Price: Not stated
As public relations battles
for relevance in the current global economic milieu, practitioners of the profession, as well as students and lecturers are seeking new strategies and techniques to confront emerging challenges. One area of public relations that requires special attention is media relations. Because of the media’s awesome power, corporate organisations and networth individuals such as political office holders want to handle or manage the media more professionally, effectively and efficiently.
The third edition of Jossy Nkwocha’s PR management book titled Effective Media Relations: Issues, Strategies & Dynamics (2009) comes handy. It is both scholarly and professional in nature, apparently to serve the needs scenarios of both academics and professional practice. Many PR books available in Nigeria are written from foreign perspectives, but this one is immensely Nigerian in context and content.
The author rightly identifies media relations as one of the functional branches of public relations. He defines it as “the strategic public relations function which establishes and maintains mutual understanding, goodwill, cooperation, respect and support between an organisation or networth individuals and the mass media practitioners/owners with the aim of achieving maximum positive publicity and media support, as well as other defined corporate and PR objectives.”
A critique of this book, recently released by its publishers, would be based on certain basic criteria which a new edition should satisfy. Such criteria would include needs scenario analysis, infusion of new sets of information, fresh insights, updates, new chapters, fresh perspectives, and so on. Indeed, one could ask: what is new about the new edition? This is the task of this review.
The book has 15 chapters spanning the gamut of specialised media relations with an introductory chapter on the history and dynamics of public relations practice in Nigeria. Each chapter ends with a set of questions to task the reader.
Perhaps the most refreshing chapters are the ones on media relations research and planning (chp. 3), specialised public relations writings and interviews (chp. 4), new techniques, tools and strategies of media relations (chp.5). The author in these chapters reveals why many press releases, for instance, end up in editors’ trash bin.
Other outstanding chapters of the book are on evaluation mechanisms in media relations (chp. 7), budgeting and costing (chp. 11), laws and ethics (chp. 13), crisis and issues management (chp. 14) as well as information and communications technologies ICT (chp. 15).
The author painstakingly takes the reader through all aspects of media relations that enhance media visibility and support required by corporate organisations and networth individuals in the new dispensation.
The new edition comes in a glossy cover design in green and light grey, with embossed title. Its 15 chapters are infused with fresh facts such as new trends in global media relations practice (pg. 78-82), the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill (pg. 209), updates on major newspapers in Nigeria (pg. 223 & 224), and chronological order of early newspapers in Nigeria 1869 – 1964 (pg. 286-286).
These and various other fresh insights and facts would surely satisfy the needs of final year and post-graduate students who are engaged in research projects, as well as practitioners who face various challenges in their daily duties.
Let me recall that Effective Media Relations was first published in 1999 as a small 12-chapter book. It became an instant success, accepted by both academics and professionals across the country. According to the publishers, as at the last count, the book was a recommended text in 12 universities, and fort eh professional examinations of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
At the time of writing the book in 1999, Nkwocha was the General Editor of Newswatch magazine, fresh from a Masters degree programme in public relations at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Enugu Campus). The spicing on the cake was a generous foreword by Prof. Ikechukwu Nwosu, current President of NIPR and a tough scholar.
In ten years, the book has gone through two editions that have turned it into a bigger, better and richer package. In the preface to the third edition, the author stated that various feedbacks from stakeholders have helped to invigorate the new edition. This must be in addition to Nkwocha’s seven years post-Newswatch experience in public relations practice, consultancy, research and teaching.
The author’s Harvard referencing makes the book the academics delight. In the next edition of the book, the author should try and provide contemporary case studies, which would help both students and practitioners. In summary, Effective Media Relations: Issues, Strategies and Dynamics is a worthy contribution to knowledge and public relations literature in Nigeria.
- Mr. Ekenne is a public relations practitioner based in Lagos.
Title: Beyond Expectations
Author: Reward Akwu
Publisher: Ollybell Printing Resources, Port Harcourt
Reviewer: Boye Salau
Whatever instigated Reward Akwu to engage in literary prose writing cannot, with the extreme form of clarity, be dismissed as inconsequential. Like every other journalists, Akwu is one man whose profession and the hurricane of economic survival in Nigeria would hardly permit to venture into a literary expedition.
What then is the driving force? Could it be his personal childhood experience, or the chequered experience of someone dear to him? Certainly, it could not have been his own memorabilia. The author of Beyond Expectation is still one of millions of Nigerians yearning for better life. Otherwise, he would not have remained in the hollow of the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation as a Chief Correspondent till now.
Whatever the reasons are, one is not in doubt that the various chequered experiences of life’s discomfiting paradoxes are the afflatus that make the zephr of history a reality.
In a country where many people are not sure of the next meal, Beyond Expectations clearly captures the reality of hailing from poor background.
The book is somewhat nostalgic about the fate of an average Nigerian man in the village and relieves the heart of the common man with the age long cliché: when there is life, there is hope.
The theme of the book can be located in the fortune of many people who rose from the creek and bottomless pit of life to stardom. The Abiolas, Jonathans, Amaechis fall in this category.
Written in simple narrative form with sublime simplicity, devoid of nebulous words and oratorical fancy, the 136 page novel thematises the pains and hopelessness of a brilliant secondary school boy whose intoxicating puissance and gluttonous appetite for sexual love with his classmate and child of an unforgiving gladiator with huge lubris, became his albatross. It is equivalent of the story of Adam who was sent out of the Garden of Eden for his inability to resist the apple in Eve.
How Chinedu came out of his quandary is what readers of Beyond Expectations should find out themselves.
As expected of a book that has its anthropology in local setting, communal love, family and filial affection are persuasive in this literary enterprise. The author proves that in a society where family bond is in short supply and where the only thing the rich harbours for the poor is hatred, the milk of kindness still flows in some peoples’ vein.
At the same time, the book inveighs the age – long conundrum of ersatz social class and unintentionally illustrates the yawning hiatus that exists between the Teflon rulers and the hoipolloi.
Akwu’s good understanding of the village life and his ability to capture the life and time of the ordinary people in graphic details further enriches the delivery of the book. Though sometimes too elaborate in details, the author succeeds in sending his message to the readers by employing simple diction and local parlance where necessary.
Unlike many books that are often built on hyperbole and far-fetched imagery, Beyond Expectations is convincingly obsessed with imageries that are deeply affecting and the realities of life that are both alluring and perplexing. By my assessment, the book is a fascinating nugget that addresses itself to all classes, age and gender.
Very well as the author tries to make the book flow from page to page, the book could not resist the temptation of unnecessary details, repetition and avoidable typographical errors.
Again, the book is most deficient, or better still not sufficient in suspense. A better application of literary suspense with regards to what befall Chinedu at last would have made the book more intriguing and interesting.
These few ‘slips of the pen’ can, however, be excused being Reward’s first literary expedition in the world of literature.
Without obsessive sense of sheer criticism, Beyond Expectations lives up to its name. It is sufficient for what it is meant to achieve, namely to fortify the forlorn hope, to encourage the poor not to be deterred by their poor background, while at the same time reminding the rich that no condition is permanent in life.
And until one reads the book from page to page, and from chapter to chapter, one may not be able to appreciate well the intrigue and metaphor of this heart-throbbing reality woven as fiction.
The Uncommon Truth
Contrary to what you think or what you have been told, you are wiser, better and smarter than what you think you are. You are more powerful than you may ever imagine. Inside you dwells the very power, wisdom or intelligence that controls this very world. Thus, the answer to all your problems and challenges is, and always will be within you. It’s in you! In reality, you can never be helpless in this world, and the reason is very simple: “The help is in you, the only true and lasting help.”
We live in a world where people offer us advice, even before we ask for it. There is nothing wrong with that, but the only problem is that most people are failures, and without direction. They are still trying to figure out how to get their own lives together. How can they tell you how to fish when they don’t even know the path to the river? What does that tell you? Be careful whose advice you act upon. The good news, though, is that all the wisdom and direction you need in life is within you. Success, greatness, wealth and happiness are not found outside you, they are resident in you. The day you become conscious of that truth will mark the beginning of your freedom, for then you will be free from the manipulation of others. Therefore, I wish that you may come to that point in your life where you know beyond doubt that your wealth and riches are not in the hands of any person, company or organisation, but in you. When that consciousness is established in you, then shall you come to terms with this powerful truth: “There is no future in any job, the future is in you; there is no future in any country, the future lies in you” That which you seek “without,” can only be found “within.”
The only secret capable of freeing you from the manipulation of others, and the frustration caused by adverse circumstances lies within you.
You were created to be self-reliant, and to decide your own destiny. Embrace that truth. Never let anyone control or manipulate your destiny. You must believe in yourself, trust yourself, think for yourself and act for yourself. Remember, no one can ever let you down or frustrate you if you are not leaning on them. No one can control your life selfishly if you are not seeking for their approval, and you are not intimidated by their disapproval. And no one can hurt your feeling, make you feel angry or disappointed if you are not depending on them for your help, success and satisfaction.
Self-reliance is a necessity should you desire to live a happy and successful life. But self-reliance is only possible when you become conscious of the fact that everything you need for your success and happiness is within you.
Nwibeke, an inspirational writer lives in Port Harcourt.
Title: TRAILING NEW TRACKS,
Author: JULIET MINIMAH, PORT HARCOURT:
Publisher: HELPMATE CONSULT LIMITED, 2011.
No of Pages 48pp
Reviewer: TELLE DANDESON AYASUK
AFRICAN CENTRE FOR EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT, PORT HARCOURT
Writing in The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown stated that “men. go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they deserve”. Probably driven by similar opinion, Juliet Minimah has confronted the age-long limitations that generations of potentially great men and women have placed on themselves dying unsung with loads of untapped mental, physical and even spiritual resources. Lots of work has been done in books, journals, documentaries, public lectures, seminars, media events, movies, music, etc to motivate people to achieve by giving expression to their God-given talents and abilities. Yet far too little success has been recorded as many still pine away with inconceivable endowments.
Trailing New Tracks is a motivational piece of work aimed at reawakening millions of people world-wide, who have lost the confidence in brining their natural endowments to fruition. It is a call to action in which the author challenges everyone in this situation to “break new grounds, chart new frontiers and see yourself as a trail blazer”. Juliet Minimah sees this as one certain way to address “the various social, economic and political ills that confront the world today”.
In Trailing New Tracks, the author explores the theme of Regeneration and Attainment Through Conscious Effort. She sees hope in a world hampered by crises of all kinds, shapes and magnitudes. She attempts to re-engineer attitude through uprightness, conscious effort and the exercise of self-will. In her views, “the adversities of life teach us more lessons than the prosperities of life”.
Minimah attempts, in this work, to communicate with her audience through an elevated art form. The sub genre of philosophy is by no means the easiest way to communicate any message. Credit must be given to this author for her boldness, audacity and fearlessness.
The author employs simple, persuasive and concise language to motivate with ease. She uses the first-person point of view to break down barriers between her and her audience. Mention must be made of the rich use of biblical allusion.
Minimah obviously writes to a youthful audience but recommends (in chapter 7) the same sense of activity and attainment to every age. Also, she writes to a universal audience.
Trailing New Tracks is a motivational piece of art written in a forty-eight page volume in which the author attempts to inspire action towards achievement in a world where confidence and determination are almost completely eroded. The work may be divided into three main parts.
Chapters 1 to 5 persuade the reader to develop a good mind-set devoid of greed and selfishness. The fifth chapter attempts to inspire confidence.
The next two chapters inspire the reader to dream big and be visionary. They emphasize the importance of good company in the realization of good dreams and visions.
In the last twelve chapters, the author canvasses action through uprightness and focus. She warns against the evil of procrastination and fear. She urges the reader to set a pattern for himself and society, take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves and get some extra knowledge and information. She charges the reader to rise above limitations, find hope and the will to achieve and be a problem-solver, a Trail Blazer.
Like every other work of art, there are a few weaknesses which this reviewer must not fail to point out in this work. For space and time, we shall take just three of them.
For a philosophical work, Trailing New Tracks is rather too small in volume and lacks the depth to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other philosophical works in world -class libraries in Nigeria and universally.
It is the view of this reviewer that the author should have localized her audience and injected aspects of our cultural, social and philosophical ethos which would have made this work more relevant to the African, or indeed, Nigerian reader.
This reviewer also identifies a few grammatical and semantic inconsistencies which could be attributed to the now-popular (printer’s devil.” Particularly, the expression: “Trail New Blaze” (in the introduction) should actually read “Blaze New Trail(s)” (brackets mine) as obtained in the first paragraph of chapter 18.
Juliet Minimah’s Trailing New Tracks is without doubt a great attempt by a young African woman at reaching out to young people and even the older ones to dig deep into their mind and realize the potential hidden there. She challenges them using achievers like Barrack Obama of the United States of America, the first black president of the world’s most powerful nation, and even our own Pat Utomi, who became Presidential Adviser at twenty -seven years of age, to inspire this and other generations to rise to their talents and make new and amazing contributions to their society.
To the extent that Minimah has effectively communicated to her audience, inspiring every reader, irrespective of age and class, I consider Trailing New Tracks as a monumental success and recommend it as a must-read for everyone who aspires for unparalleled greatness.
Title: ORDEALS OF A BABY MOTHER
Author: JULIET MINIMAH, PORT HARCOURT:
Publisher: SUNNY ALADE PRINTING PRODUCTION
No of Pages 46pp
Reviewer: THANKGOD EMEKA EGBUCHU (JP)
PRINCIPAL ASSISTANT REGISTRAR,
RIVERS STATE UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE
May I inform the esteem audience here today, that I am here to appraise the monumental work done by Miss Minimah Ishmeal Juliet, titled “Ordeals of A baby Mother”.
As we all are aware and I know that Minimah Ishmeal Juliet hails from the Ancient City of Opobo in Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area of Rivers State. Born in the family of Mr. & Mrs. Ishmeal Minimah. Being the first and only female daughter of six children of the parents, graduated from the University of Port Harcourt with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political and Administrative Studies.
As a template to all her growing contemporaries of the female folk in Nigeria, Minimah Juliet, had additional colour on her academic pursuit by possessing a Diploma in law from the Rivers State College of Arts and Science and a proficiency certificate in management from the Nigerian Institute of Management.
Miss Minimah Juliet seem little but mighty and mature intellectually in the field of academic spectrum.
In her book, “Ordeals of a Baby Mother” chapters I to 5 deals with convincing themes, which delved into “Who is a baby mother, Is motherhood a curse, why rejection and ageing forcefully rather than gracefully”, serves as an eye opener which creates awareness needed by mothers and baby mothers across the country over motherhood.
Similarly, chapter six to the last, deals with implications of early motherhood, More advantages for unequal opportunities, Refuse to be a school dropout, Being a baby mother turns you into one true life stories and a word of note, serves to show positive measures a baby mother should take to avoid being victim of the circumstance.
Minimah Ishmeal Juliet was very careful in choosing her words to convey the intended action in the book which all levels of individuals can understand easily to read.
The sequence of the chapters flows naturally to the sense of would-be readers of the book. This has demonstrated maturity of articulation of words by the author.
However, we must expect as a matter of fact that the production of this book may experience minor errors, which she accept entirely all the faults to herself but form the basis for her further encouragement to produce the best in her life.
Lastly, in my opinion, the book, “ORDEALS OF A BABY MOTHER” has served the purpose for what it was addressed.
I strongly recommend the book to all ages of womanhood to read, especially students in secondary schools and higher institutions across the country.
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