2024 WSJD: Experts Task New Generation Of Sports Journalists On Professionalism, Accurate Reportage

ABEOKUTA – Veteran Sports Writers in the country have tasked aspiring journalists to develop passion for sports journalism for them to excel in the practice.

The trio Deacon Kunle Oluwusi as well as Biodun Alabi and Akeem Akintunde who were at different times former chairmen of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) in Ogun State, shared their personal experiences, challenges and many benefits of practicing as sportswriters during their separate presentations at a training programme organized by association on Advanced Sports Reporting and Broadcasting for students of Mass Communication Department of Chrisland University, Abeokuta as part of activities marking World Sports Journalists’ Day on Tuesday by the Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji led State Executive of SWAN.

They urged the students to be ready to face the challenges of the job to succeed as sports writers during the training programme held on campus of the university at Ajebo Road, Abeokuta.

Oluwusi, an ace broadcast journalist who now heads Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY) Radio, Abeokuta speaking on the theme of the 2024 edition of World Sports Journalists Day “The Integral Roles Of Sports Journalism In Media Landscape”, described sports journalism as a very strong unifying factor which breaks all forms of barriers and brings every member of the society, particularly in Nigeria, irrespective of political, religious and ethnic differences.

Oluwusi, a former Vice President of SWAN stressed the need for the students to have passion for the job and determination, deep understanding of some of the sports they are interested in reporting couple with good command of English language for them to succeed as Sports writers, Commentators in electronic media or sports analysts in the industry.

Oluwusi identified some of the aspects that they must focus on as aspiring sports writers to include results of the sporting events, performances of the teams or athletes involved, upset recorded, facilities at the venue, crowd reactions and cultural differences amongst other exciting moments.

The veteran journalist went on to list several benefits or opportunities that await those who want to make a career in sports journalism among which the opportunity to travel to different parts of the world for coverage of international competitions, political or public appointments into key positions in national, continental and global sporting organizations or federations.

He charged them to be committed to upholding high ethical standards of journalism in the face of challenges to succeed as sports writers.

He said, “It breaks political, religious and social biases, thus becoming a strong unifying force in the society especially in Nigeria. Sports Journalism captures the excitement and the cultural significance of these feats. It bring to the fore the values and benefits of sports.

“This informs why every media house, both print and electronics allocate quality space and time for sports news and programmes on a daily basis. It has turned out to be a major attraction and selling points for the media houses”, he stated

The State Commissioner for Sports Development, Hon. Wasiu Isiaka declaring the workshop open, urged Sports Writers to always Imbibe the ethics of the practice by ensuring accurate reportage of activities while appreciating SWAN for organizing the training for students

The Commissioner accompanied by Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Lanre Ogunyinka, was full of confidence that the forthcoming National Sports Festival to be hosted in Ogun State would enjoy massive coverage, considering the calibre of experienced sports writers from the State

Immediate past Chairman of SWAN, Akeem Akintunde stressed the need for the State Government to always give the needed support to the association.

He described SWAN as a critical stakeholder in the development of sports in the state.

Publisher and veteran journalist, Mr. Dada Olanipekun tasked the students to be creative to excel in the practice while urging members of SWAN to provide the right mentorship for upcoming practitioners.

In her opening remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Chinedum Peace Babalola represented by Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Farounbi was full of appreciation for SWAN who deemed it fit to organize the training for students of Mass Communication Department of the institution, urging the students to learn from the experiences of veteran Sports Writers .

She expressed the commitment of the university to sustain the culture of academic excellence, describing the event as testament of the institution to bridging the gap between the town and gown.

The Vice- Chancellor stressed the importance of sports journalism in the development of the society.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, however, recalled his undergraduate days as footballer, pledging the commitment to development of human resources.

Similarly, another veteran Sports Writer Dr. Demolu Okuneye was full of appreciation for SWAN on successful organizing of the training programme for aspiring sports writers, describing sports writing as the most interesting aspect of journalism.

Earlier, in his welcome address, the SWAN Chairman in Ogun State, Mr. Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji said the one of the major reasons to celebrate World Sports Journalists Day 2024 is to spread awareness about sports across the globe.

Ogunsiji noted that Sports Journalists in Nigeria rank very highly amongst the professionals in Nigeria who invest so much passion into their jobs, no matter what they face.

He maintained that, sports journalists have not paid attention to the hazards of the job, but instead have chosen to be partners in the development of sports.

“This day deserves to be celebrated, as I know the efforts and passion sports journalists put in their job daily. Sports Journalism is my constituency because it is where I started from and the profession brought me to the limelight.

“Today, I doff my heart and celebrate sports journalists, who have made immeasurable sacrifices for sports across the globe, especially in Nigeria.”

High point of the event was presentation of various awards to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peace Chinedum Babalola and Deacon Kunle Oluwusi and others for their outstanding contributions to the development of humanity and society in particular.

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