The Practice Of Journalism


In both theory and practice, journalism has always been hamstrung by challenges. These challenges continue to galvanize efforts to help journalism wean itself from the myth of ‘who pays the piper calls the tune.’ Despite these efforts, the bug of snippet journalism and atomisation of reports still gnaw at the jugular of best practice standards in journalism.
The proliferation of Departments of Mass Communication in the universities at the turn of the twenty-first century raised a veneer of hope; making many to surmise that the end to the plethora of maladies that afflict journalism was in sight. But the curios that bobbed up in journalism in the first decade of this century have tarnished any sheen of optimism. To the chagrin of many stakeholders, contemporary journalism now contends with such ugly concomitance of the il).internet like fake news, trolls, photo shopping and the so-called citizen journalism. When custodians of best­practice standard in journalism bemoan the vulgarism that besmirches contemporary journalism, they do so because contemporary journalism in Nigeria has been bereft of the golden hallmarks discussed by Wofuru Ogaziie Okparaolu in his “The Practice of Journalism.” My perusal of Okparaolu’s The Practice of Journalism convinces me that Okparaolu in that work has created a miniature mirror that reflects all the forgotten daintiness that heretofore identified journalism as the very embodiment of the sublime in the narrative art.
One of the blots that, for instance, mar journalism is the anomaly of ‘cheque book’ or ‘brown envelop’ journalism. This phenomenon often connotes a scenario where journalists demand gratification in order to pleasantly frame a story to hmmonise with the wish of the gratifier. But in rearticulate this familiar aberration, Okparaolu rather took a swipe at a perspective in which journalists fall into the temptation of inducing potential news sources in order to cajole them into ‘manufacturing’ fictive angle to a story.
Okparaolu’s narrative on “How to Collect Evidence” (p. 50) is a heuristic lesson not only with regard to why the despicable phenomenon of ‘Jake news’ has emerged but what journalists had hitherto done to nip it in the bud.
Okparaolu devotes the whole of the second chapter of his classic to re-focalise our attention to the neglected but salient art of Introduction, Lead, Connectors and Cliff-hanging in news crafting. In that chapter, Okparaolu explicated how clarification should not be sacrificed on the altar of simplification as currently the vogue with the amateurs who strut about with the aberration called’ citizen journalism’.
Okparaolu’s explication of the subtleties that differentiate ‘The Quality Paper (read quality journalism) from “The Popular Paper” (read snippet journalism) is not only felicitous but finds resonance where Barbie Zelizer, a Professor at Annenberg School of Communication, enthuses that the “facts of news are as important as its meaning.”
To merely quip that Okparaolu’s “The Practice Journalism” brims with the forgotten tools of excellent journalism will be incommensurate with the practical insights marshaled in the book. To say the least, the most empirical way to savour the entailments of this readably book is to hasten to a bookshop and avail yourself {of} a copy.

By: Dr Fred A. Amadi