Remember the last week of December 2015, The Nigerian Presidency announced a Presidential Media Chat with a 24-hour notice. Nigerians were excited as many had serious questions for the President Muhammadu Buhari. This chat was hashtagged #PresidentialMediaChat #PMBMediachat and was hosted and led by Channels TV’s General manager Kayode Akintemi along with journalists from three other media houses namely an online newspaper, a regular newspaper and a broadcast conglomerate. Earlier that night I tweeted my followers stating that these media chats are a waste of time without Sahara Reporters, #HNNAfrica, The Cable Ng, Signal Ng and Breaking Times. These are the busiest online media platforms Nigerians are actually reading. Sahara then took my tweet and pinned it for some hours asking their followers to retweet if they agreed and like if they did not. The retweets won.
The fact remains that social media is the hub powering such events these days. People were watching their president address the nation through Journalists asking questions and also receiving feedback from home audiences. This was not a call in show. People were asked to tweet Buhari their questions by using the hashtag #AskBuhari. So why wasn’t a panel of online newsrooms included? I have always seen this as a bad logistic in the media chats even in the last administration with President Goodluck Jonathan. Online newsrooms are the future of social media. The other three journalists in the Akintemi led panel had individual twitter handles with less than 33 followers and not worth following as they did not tweet news to their audiences.
Many of we online newsroom have also been snubbed at award shows honouring media like the Nigerian Media Merit awards and others. People hardly buy newspapers anymore, they read most of them online and they interact on the top two investigative ones #HNNAfrica and Sahara Reporters. #HNNAfrica was recently featured in the December 21st -27th I-trends report as the 9th of the top 10 influencers on Twitter globally. During the media chat, Akintemi told audiences to tweet their questions to @ChannelsTV in addition to the #AskBuhari hashtag so that Channels staff could pull the questions out of Twitter and thus my reason for calling it sponsored by Channels. In the past it used to be NTA’s Cyril Stober and others that led these panels. The use of social media by the society deserves more credible online newsrooms on the next media chat.
I shall put my own request in especially now that President Buhari urges more journalists to do more investigative journalism. I am a leader at that. Nigerians don't like investigative journalism unless it's investigating a politician. I have been investigating megapastors, actresses and scam artists of all kinds. My journalism ethics is no favours, no bribes and no fear! Trust me we have more questions for Buhari on issues around Nigeria. It’s time for half traditional media and the other half online media to take part in Presidential media chats. Buhari is currently on a medical leave that may be indefinite for now.