Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Photographer: Steve McCurry

In not less than 4 pages write on any photographer of your choice and do a photo appreciation of some of his works

Photographer: Steve McCurry
Researcher: Jennifer Ehidiamen
Photo Journalism Class 2008
The Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ)
Lecturer: Boye Ola
Reason: Steve McCurry is an example of an excellent documentarian. In his works, he portrayed how one’s passion can make a resounding impact when channeled towards a right course.
As a photojournalist, McCurry has exhibited outstanding characteristics of both a photographer and a journalist. For instance, his sense of adventure was seen, a typical characteristic of a journalist, when he crossed into a rebelled controlled Afghanistan to take pictures, which was used to disseminate news about a war that was initially unknown to the rest of the world.

His photography skill also came into play when he immortalized the haunted eyes of a twelve years old refugee in a camp on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The picture became one of the most widely reproduced in the world.
McCurry also showed sense of uniqueness when after fifteen years he tracked down the girl (now a woman) and retook her picture. He is indeed a photojournalist with a difference and this has endeared him to so many people, including me.

(A big thank you to Ron Lange who first told me about Steve and sent me a copy of the National Geographic magazine with the picture of the Afghan girl). Read the complete report here

Monday, December 27, 2010


4th Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (Lagos State Chapter) PR Annual
Essay Competition, 2008.


By: Jennifer Ehidiamen, The Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ) 2008.
Communication scholars Gasher and Lorimeter in the book “Communications
Technology and Society; Theory and Practice wrote:
We depend on technology for our communications with others- whether they are just a house or two away or halfway around the world. In the second half of the 20th Century, it became almost impossible to live without a telephone and now we hardly live without personal computers through which we gain Internet access and send and receive e-mail. The reality of new communications technology is that anyone is able to get in touch with anyone else, anywhere, at any time…”

Public Relation (PR) is a much misunderstood and under-valued management tool. To many people, PR is another form of advertising while others dismiss it as dealing with Journalists and sending out press releases (Daramola 2003:251).
But Public relations is more than that. The editors of PR news (1947) New York define Public Relations as “the management function, which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or an organization with the public interest and plans and executes a programme of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.”
During the International Conference of Public Relations in Mexico in 1978, World Assembly of Public Relations Practitioners defined public relations as “the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organization leaders and implementing planned programmes of action which will
serve both the organization’s and the public interest.”

“Public relations is the art and science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences…” this shows that public relation is a deliberately planned and sustained effort concern with relationship that involves an in-depth research.

“Implementing planned programme of action…” this imply that public relations does not just engage in lip service but they actually work to effect physical action.

“Serve both the organization’s and publics’ interest…” this is to emphasize that public relations creates a conducive environment that foster relationship between an organization and its public. It seeks common ground of mutual interest void of conflict.

According to Daramola (2003), the purpose of public relations is “to create goodwill, understanding and awareness…of an organization or institution by using the PR techniques of persuasion, information and education to project the organization to its public…”

Public relations is concern with improving mutual understanding within an organization as well as between organization and its publics. It directs a deliberate effort towards improving communication between the people and organizations to broaden its sphere of influence through appropriate advertising, publicity and other form of communication to create a good image.

Public Relation (PR) professionals serve in government organizations as well as private sector as a significant field communication in Nigeria. Serving its role of management function within and outside these organizations. To meet the demands of the rapidly changing world, PR needs to employ an effective method that will enable it achieve its objectives, thus, the importance of information technology.

Read/download the full here

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

“Mentoring: A Panacea for sustainable growth & Development”

This Essay theme “Mentoring: A Panacea for sustainable growth & Development” focuses on how mentoring can be a solution that will solve the problems that impede sustainable growth and development.

It defined the key terms- “mentoring”, “sustainable growth and development” and argued that despite the benefits of mentoring, it also has its challenges. However, the dissertation concluded that mentoring is an indispensable tool that is needed to secure the future for youths who are the posterity of every society.

“A society that cuts itself from its youths severs its lifeline, but a society that engages their interests, enlists their talents and librates their energies brings hope to the entire world” said Kofi Anan, the former United Nations Secretary-General. How else can a society engage the interest its youths and liberate their energies if not by guiding them through an effective mentoring programme? Mentors are seen as a force of change that moulds the future. Thus, a society that provides it youths with an intense mentoring opportunity encourages them to define and focus their skills and effectively contribute to national development by playing an active role through entrepreneurship, innovations and other economic adaptability.

It is therefore recommended that peer role models, parents, teachers, civil society, government and other stakeholders should integrate mentoring into their activities. To support this effort, it is recommended that a national strategy should be created to promote mentoring at all levels and foster an enabling environment for its success.

It is also recommended that mentors should maintain professional approach in mentor-protégé relationship while tapping into their wealth of experience to liberate youths into new ideas. Youths must learn to embrace the mentoring opportunities which encourage them to maintain contact with education and other training opportunities for advancement. Indeed, a well implemented mentoring programme remains a linchpin, which will sustain growth and development for national development.

Start from the beginning, read the complete essay:  Mentoring: A Panacea for sustainable growth & Development



The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was first discovered in Nigeria in 1986. Since then, the number of cases has been on a dramatic increase. In 2003, it was estimated that about 2.3 to 3.9 million persons were living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (Federal Ministry of Health 2005). Health and political leaders in Nigeria are increasingly conscious that HIV/AIDS if not mitigated will have negative implications on National development because the youths, the productive human resource, are most affected.

Youths are the stakeholders in the future of every society. To be able to live up to the responsibility, they must be empowered with basic life skills of which include being media literate. Media literacy is the ability to process information that is reliable and useful to their well-being and the well being of others. The 21st century youth in Nigeria must have the competent ability to access and interpret messages from various forms of media. It is such literacy that will enable the media effectively permeate the society and positively influence the behavior of youths around HIV/AIDS.

Thus, this essay, which is a response to the call for entry in the 1st Omololu Falobi Foundation Essay Competition, theme “Impact of the Media in Promoting Positive Behavior around HIV/AIDS among youths in Nigeria” seeks to present a discourse around media education as an effective tool that encourages HIV prevention, promote safer lifestyle choices and fight the stigma and discrimination among youths. To achieve the above objective, it is pertinent to discuss the key topics: HIV/AIDS and young people, the role of the media in curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS, its limitations, Media education as a tool to enhance positive behavior among youths in Nigeria and suggest the way forward.


An estimated 11.8 million youths were living with the HIV/AIDS globally at the end of 2001- 7.3 million young women and 4.5 young men (UNAIDS report on HIV/AIDS and young people). Based on the 2001 National HIV/Syphilis seroprevalence survey conducted by the Federal Military of Health and the Futures Group Aim model, HIV population in Nigeria is 4,012, 438 with 184, 246 new AIDS cases ( September 13, 2007 report). At the crux of this infection are Nigerian youths, accounting for over 50% of this daily toll.

The factors that place youths at risk of being infected with HIV stem from different socio-economic and cultural conditions they live in such as poverty, poor educations, unemployment, social isolation etc. Majority of these youths live with the virus and do not know while others do no have access to accurate information on how to protect themselves and others. Often, the subject is treated among youths with suspicion, the little information at their disposal most times turn out to be inaccurate. People living with HIV face stigma and discrimination as these youths try to deal with their fears about the virus by ridiculing those infected. Others deny the existence of HIV and thus embrace a fearful silence; all these constitute a negative attitude that encourages the spread of HIV among youths.

In the absence of any known scientific cure, to manage the spread of HIV, youth friendly Education resources can help create awareness to promote attitude change. Phyllis Kanki, Director, AIDS preventions Initiative in Nigeria (APIN) in his contribution to the book “HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa” noted that the media have been identified as an important tool in health intervention programmes. Through the media, the silence, spiral of denial, ignorance, stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS can be mitigated to promote a positive behavior change among youths.



This study is about photojournalism with focus on the use of News pictures in Nigerian Newspapers. Photojournalism is an important arm of Journalism that uses images to tell stories and report events. Thus, photojournalists interpret events and communicate news worthy messages through their photographs published in the newspaper.

The research method applied in this study is content analysis. The Guardian newspaper and the Punch newspaper published in June 2007 were used. Using the simple random sampling method 15 editions of these newspapers was each selected to analyze their front-page photographs.

Putting into consideration the message, News worthiness, space allocation, the pattern and diverse trend of coverage, the use of News pictures were studied. However, the findings showed that Nigerian Newspapers need to improve on the use of News pictures, especially the front-page photographs to communicate news worthy messages effectively.

1.1         INTRODUCTION
Photojournalism is an arm of journalism that uses images to tell stories and report events. It is different from other forms of photography such as commercial, Architecture and industrial photography. This could be seen in its adherence to certain journalism norms like News, Timeliness Objectivity, fairness and accurate representation of the events.

Photojournalism involves the use of camera to record events as they happen. Like a news reporter, a photojournalist is a reporter but he or she writes with camera and disseminates news events through images. Photojournalists use pictures to tell stories interpret event and communicate their feelings about the society as Journalists hoping for a better society.

To set the pace of this study, it is necessary to define the subject of discourse under scrutiny in order to understand the basis of their inception and the relevance they have to the research.

1.2.1    NEWSPAPER
Newspaper refers to a daily or weekly publication used to disseminate news to a mass audience. The Newspaper traces its roots to handwritten news sheet posted daily in the public market place of ancient Rome. However, the first printed newspaper, Ti-Pao, appeared in china during the Tang dynasty (AD 618-907). “Iwe Iroyin fun awon Egba ati Yoruba” was the first newspaper published in Nigeria by Reverend Henry Townsend, missionary in Abeokuta in 1859. 1 Subsequently, other newspapers were published by different people in the pre-colonial and post colonial era. Today, there are over 100 newspapers published either daily or weekly in Nigeria.

As a medium that furnish readers with News, information in the Newspaper is expressed through linguistic, typographic and graphic forms which are defined by the media organisation’s house style. This in its totality affects the way news are gathered and reported in the newspaper including the use of photographys on the front-page.

The front-page is a well thought out extention of the values and themes that a Newspaper wants to communication to its target audience. It is often seen as the major selling point of the Newspaper because it attracts the potential readers to buy the paper and read further.

Readers enter the newspaper pages through large pictures and a headline, thus adding a visual element makes the stories more likely to be read. From a population of 857 daily newspapers with circulations of 10,000 and above 300 were selected in 2002 by Editor and Publisher International Year Book for a series of study on the Newspaper design trends.

From the findings, almost half of the newspapers run two photographs everyday on the front-page while others run three or more. However, 98 percent of those newspapers use a dominant photograph.

Editors choose front-page picture carefully to attract readers. The layout of the newspaper front-page, headline and photographs used are important factors that determine the level of attention given to the newspaper.

For example, the Frankfurt Allegemeine Zeituny, one of Germany’s leading daily newspapers published a colour photograph on its front-page for the first time on October 5th 2007, since its 58years of existence. This was part of an effort to create a modern layout that would make the traditionally sober-looking broadsheet fresher and more appealing to readers. 2

A photograph is a picture produced through the chemical action of light sensitive film, or as a Digital photography that records images on memory card and processed on the computer. The act of photography can be traced back to French inventor, Joseph Nicephore Nicepee, who was the first photographer to successfully make permanent images in 1826. Thirteen years later, another Frenchman, Louis Jacques Daguerre made photography more practical by fixing light images on silver-coated copper plates.

Photography was used to capture news worthy images soon after in the 1830s. English photographer, Roger Fenton, documented British troops during the Crimean War (1853-1856) in Europe, another Photographer, Mathew Brady Photographed battle scenes during the American Civil War (1861-1865).3 As at then, photography was an expensive and time consuming endeavour.

The growth of photography and photojournalism can be traced to two major factors that occurred near the end of the 19th century. The first is the technical innovation. This includes the invention of roll film, smaller cameras, faster lens and the perfection of the half tone process of printing photographs as a series of light and dark dots which allowed newspaper publishers to reproduce photographs quickly and inexpensively.

The other factor was the introduction, by George Eastman, of small cameras in use at that time. Thus, convenient cameras gave photojournalists the freedom to record news events easily and quickly. The technological advancement enabled them to also take pictures which were previously impossible to take such as night and moving images. 4

One of the foremost photojournalist was a Frenchman, Henri Cartier –Bresson, who from 1930 to 2004 worked to document what he called the “decisive moment”. Cartier-Bresson believed that the dynamics in any given situation eventually reach a peak, at which a photographer will capture the most powerful image possible.

Photojournalists have become visual interpreters, using their cameras and knowledge to bring readers a feeling of what an event was really like. Meanwhile, in the past, the photojournalist depended on artists to draw replicas of his photograph, which was later reproduced by an engraver into a Zinc plate. The plate was then printed on a Hoe rotary press. Due to the long process, several days passed before these line-drawn renderings of photographs appeared on the front-page of the newspaper.

The advent of photographs mechanically printed into newspapers opened up market for press photography. Pictures were mostly taken for their action and content rather than any aesthetic consideration. Today, they are used in the newspapers for different reasons.

Photographs in Journalism inform, educate and enlighten readers about current issues and also reflect on the past as well. Photographs in Newspaper enhance the credibility of the stories. As they depict reality, they also furnish evidence to show the authenticity of a news story or give proof of an event that occurred.

Its aesthetic values enable a photograph to serve as a tool to attract reader’s attention and break the monotony of news content. Thus, photographs enhance and beautify the pages of a newspaper.

A photograph in Newspaper speaks more than a thousand words. No formal education is required to understand a picture. Photographs are therefore able to break through literacy barrier to effectively communicate a message. It is a universal language.

This research will explore the use of front page photographs through a content analysis of two Nigerian Newspapers that represent different approaches to News presentation ideology and target different readership.

The Guardian and the Punch newspapers were selected for this research because of their popularity, news coverage and wide circulation. Their content gives an accurate platform needed to analyse the subject of study.

The Guardian Newspaper was established in 1983 by Late Alex Ibru. With long history of editorial and political independence, the Newspaper is known for its unbiased dissemination of news. It is a liberal newspaper with great commitment to democracy and freedom in Nigeria.

The Punch newspaper is owned by Punch Nigeria Limited. The paper strives to promote and uphold the values of democracy and free enterprise through quality news dissemination.5 The newspaper is acclaimed to be the largest daily newspaper with the highest circulation in Nigeria. It was founded in 1977 by Late Chief James Olubunmi Aboderin.

The research seeks to address the problem of the inefficiency of Newspapers to use News Pictures that effectively communicate a message or tell a story. Front-page photographs should draw a reader’s attention and communicate a message.

1.4         PURPOSE OF STUDY
The purpose of this study is to examine the use of News Pictures of Nigerian Newspapers in terms of their story-telling ability.

1.             To study how News pictures are used in Newspapers.
2.             To study how front page photographs serve the function of information dissemination.
3.             To identify the various types of photographs that appears on the front-page.
4.             To study the importance of photography in the newspaper that goes beyond page-fillings or aesthetics.
5.             To make recommendations based on the findings of the study.

1.             The research will examine the current trend of photojournalism in Nigeria.
2.             The study will examine the relevance of front-page photographs and bring into focus the use of news pictures in Newspapers.
3.             The study will establish the function of photograph as a tool of communication, information and persuasion.
4.             The study will serve as a guide and reference for future researcher or as a resource to photojournalists in training.
5.             The findings and recommendations will serve to improve and re-position the trend of photojournalism in Nigeria.

The study focuses on the content analysis of the front-page of the Guardian and the Punch Newspapers published in June 2007. This will show the diversity of the pattern of Coverage of News pictures by different Newspapers.

The time frame is choosen base on its significance. For instance, the year 2007 is the most current completed year while the month of June marks the first month after the successful transition of power from one democratic government to another in Nigeria.

1.             What is the pattern of photograph coverage in newspapers? Does it vary from one Newspaper to another?
2.             Does the front-page photograph relate to the news headline or does it give a different story?
3.             Does a photograph serve as a powerful vehicle of social change?
4.             In terms of design and layout, what size and position do front-page photographs take in Nigerian Newspapers?
5.             How are the captions written? Do they follow the 5 W’s and H rule in news dissemination?
6.             Does newspaper give their readers a full understanding of issues through the news pictures?

Photograph: A picture formed by means of the chemical action of light on light-sensitive material.
Newspaper: A printed publication containing news and stories that appeal to a heterogeneous audience.
Front –Page:  The first page of a newspaper that serves as the cover, containing remarkable news.
Caption: A brief explanation below a photograph meant to give additional information.
Photojournalism: The art or practice of disseminating news or story telling pictures through photographs.
Reader: A person who reads newspaper.
Communication: To pass on a message, idea or information.
Journalism: The process of news gathering and dissemination through publication to a specific audience. 

READ the full research project: Usage of News Pictures in Newspaper

written by Jennifer Ehidiamen a.k.a Jen Lee