Rebranding Delta State Media Outfits

By Julius Oweh
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In the governance of a nation, any nation for that matter, the role of the press is indispensable in not only making those in power accountable to the people but also as means of passing information to the people, the owners of electoral sovereignty. The private and public media houses perform this function depending on their mode of passing information. It could be critical and it could also be patronizing and here comes the import of state owned media. The journalists in such public owned media houses are driven by the principles of development communication.

A recent visit to the corporate headquarters of The Pointer newspaper and the Delta Broadcasting, Asaba is a testimony to the vibrant efforts of the Information Commissioner, Honourable Charles Aniagwu to change the face of information dissemination in the two media outfits. The headquarters of the two organizations are wearing new look and could be a motivational tool to the workers. Not too long ago, when the Information Commissioner visited the corporate headquarters of Delta Broadcasting Service, Warri, the theme of rebranding media houses for optimal performances was also stressed. The Information Commissioner told the staff of DBS, Warri that his principal, Governor Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa was passionate on improving the standard of the broadcast outfit. He maintained that his job as Information Commissioner was to work with the state owned media houses in ensuring that government activities and achievements are broadcasted to all Deltans. He implored the staff to have a new mindset towards work, as the station has qualified and experienced professionals. In a brief response, the general manager of DBS, Warri, Pastor Malcolm Oteri commended the Information Commissioner for the visit as that would boost the morale of the workers, promising that the management and staff of the organization were scout ready to promote and project the `Stronger Delta` vision of the government.

Comrade Churchill Oyowe, the state secretary of Delta State Council of NUJ observed that the commissioner as a trained journalist was a on a mission to reposition and rebrand the state media outfits, advising him to continue with the tempo of activities. Said Oyowe :`On the efforts by the Information Commissioner in repositioning the state media houses. I believe it is the right step in the right direction. Our media outfits have to move from the traditional routine of service delivery to that characterized by competitive zeal to satisfy the demands of the audience. The media industry is about winning large audience loyalty and can be done through the right provision of content and excellent service. This is what the Information Commissioner is striving to achieve in The Pointer newspaper and the broadcast outfits in Asaba and Warri. If you follow his activities since assumption of office, you will see the passion in him to succeed in changing stereotypical attitude and behavior that have not make for that competitive edge in a media outfit. He wants all the old ways of doing the same thing without forward-looking results changed. I see him succeeding at the end of the day as more personnel of the media houses are earnestly looking forward to go the whole hog with him`.

Oyowe also advised the commissioner to embark on aggressive training programme for the workers so as to horn their skills. He also made a passionate appeal to the Information Commissioner to allow the media houses the latitude to operate so that views critical to the government are carried by The Pointer and DBS as that could attract more audience and adverts revenue.

Comrade Sunday Egede, the chairman of The Pointer chapel of NUJ sees the Information Commissioner as a blessing, saying that with the pace of development, he is very optimistic that The Pointer shall move to the permanent site in the nearest future.

Hear Egede`s sentiments :` I would like to say with absolute sincerity that the Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu is a great blessing to The Pointer newspaper family. His appointment as is a square peg in a square hole considering his pedigree, the phenomenal and unprecedented development that he has creatively brought to The Pointer newspaper.

Since he assumed duties, he has tactically, technically and creatively taken The Pointer newspaper staff out of Egypt through the instrumentality of his creative ingenuity and enterprising drive.

Today, The Pointer corporate headquarters in Asaba, which has over the years, suffered monumental neglect in terms of infrastructural development, is now wearing a new look.

Determined to create the desired ambience needed to stimulate workers’ productivity, the commissioner, working with the management of the newspaper organization, had procured a number of computer sets and accessories as well as furniture.

Other innovation brought to The Pointer by the commissioner include the construction of an ultra-modern newsroom and interlocking of the company’s premises as well as the construction of the state-of-the-art staff canteen which is now nearing completion.

These innovations, no doubt, have impacted positively on the workers’ productivity index. With conducive working environment, workers are now more encouraged to put in their best and this has obviously enhanced the editorial content of the paper. All the departments in the company are now working in synergy to achieve organizational goal. We are of the opinion that greater attention should be focused on staff welfare having been able to address the problem of infrastructural decay to a higher pedestal. It is our hope that midgets and still cameras should be provided for editorial staff of the company while looking forward to the gradual development of The Pointer newspaper’s permanent site`

The observations of Comrade Gilbert Olie, the chairman of DBS NUJ chapel are in the same province with his Pointer counterpart. Said Olie :`The face of DBS, Asaba is gradually changing for better with fencing, clearing of surrounding, painting of the walls, changing the doors and is driving towards content so that we can compete favourably with others. Impact is going to be a gradual process because of long neglect. Staff welfare is on promissory list. To say the fact, the Information Commissioner is trying.`

Mr. Monday Uwagwu, the general manager of The Pointer is also full of praises for the activities of the Information Commissioner. Uwagwu maintains thus :`The Commissioner has brought innovations impact on the editorial content. The commissioner by his liberal attitude to work has provided a brand new ultra-modern newsroom, equipped with desktops, air conditioners, fridges, television sets, fans, tables and chairs. He also reactivated the otherwise decrepit online service of The Pointer. He gave orders on the interlocking of the entire Pointer premises. He enabled management to further train staff on ICT, a batch of trainees due to proceed on training very soon. He also restored the responsibility for the circulation of The Pointer newspapers to the management away from the Ministry of Information. The Information Commissioner enhanced the allowances of freelancers. And for the first time, a celebratory anniversary event to mark The Pointer 25thbirthday was organized. All these are motivations for the workers as they are now happier to do their jobs`.

The testimonies from workers of The Pointer, Asaba, DBS, Asaba and DBS, Warri are indications that in Charles Aniagwu is a consummate journalist who is ready to pass information about the activities and programmes of government to the people using the print and electronic media. The task is herculean but with cast determination on his part and support and understanding of the staff of government owned media outfits, Deltans will continue to be kept abreast on the workings of the Okowa administration.

Julius Oweh, a journalist, Asaba, Delta State.