Chris Kehinde Nwandu, Publisher CKN News and President, Guild of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria recently paid a courtesy visit to The Sun Publishing Limited Corporate Headquarters, Kirikiri, Apapa, Lagos.
Nwandu, in this interview, sheds light on the new trend in cyber publishing and online information dissemination, the prospects and problems, as well as the forthcoming lecture organized by his online platform to professionalise the trade in Nigeria through the guild he heads. Excerpts:
What is CKN up to lately?
As the President, Guild of Professional Bloggers, we are organizing a lecture that aims to bring some life into the art of blogging and online publication. My outfit, CKN, decided to organize this lecture to educate people in this field. We want to look at the challenges we face so far. We want to look at the good, the bad and ugly sides of online publication, as well as how far we have fared. That is why we have come up with the first CKN Annual Lecture and the theme is “The Role of Social Media in the Socio-economic and Political Development of Nigeria.”
The event is going to take place on Tuesday the 13th of June, 2017 at Renaissance Hotel, GRA, Ikeja. The guest speaker is the Minister of Transport, Honourable Chibuike Amaechi. We chose him, because he has been the most bashed personality in social media on all platforms. We want to bring him in to tell us his experience. Let him analyze social media from his own perspective. The chairman of the occasion is going to be the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu. The chief host is going to be the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwumi Ambode. Our special guest of honour is the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi.
Since the lecture has to do with technology, the executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communication Commission, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, is going to give the keynote address. We want to use that opportunity to look at ourselves and find out how far we have gone, what we are doing right, what we are not doing right and how to improve, so that we will continue to remain relevant in the scheme of things.
What are the objectives of the Guild of Professional Bloggers?
The first objective is to bring some level of professionalism in the art of blogging in Nigeria. It is our aim to let Nigerians know that bloggers are not riff raffs, drop outs, trouble makers or blackmailers. There are many bloggers making legitimate money out of blogging.
The second one is to act as an avenue for bloggers to interact on issues of national importance and issues that concern them too. Another objective is to look at areas of cooperation and collaboration between bloggers in the areas of content and information management.
The guild also seeks to establish some codes of conduct ethically for practitioners of industry so that we can distinguish ourselves from those who are just on the cyber space and those who are doing their jobs well and professionally.
We also set up the guild so that we can train and re-train ourselves with modern day technological know-how on the art of professional blogging, news dissemination and online publication.
So how do you intend to do all these given the free access many people have when it comes to blogging and how do you plan to get a reasonable amount of bloggers into the guild?
Already, we have a reasonable amount of bloggers registered with us, but we are looking at how we can continue to spread our tentacles. By the time those who are sceptical about joining us see the calibre of people within the association and what we have been able to achieve, they will definitely know that this is where to belong.
Also, it is easy for organisations to relate with people who have come together as one and see themselves as professionals, rather than just dealing with individuals. Also, no one knows it all. When you belong to a group, you will interact with others, look at your strengths, know your weaknesses, try to balance both and learn from other people who are doing the same as you.
This body will also give bloggers credibility. By the ethics establishing the association, there are certain things you are not supposed to do. Once people see that there’s credulity in our association, there’s a tendency that they will come and join us. We know it is a very difficult task, but they are surmountable. We want to put face to blogging in Nigeria. It’s an avenue to make money, learn from others and reach out to the world with information and people will take you seriously.
What are some of the challenges you face running CKN News as well as the association?
As an online publisher, network communication is always a challenge. We rely on telecom companies to work, but sometimes, it is very difficult to do so. At CKN, we have more than eight internet platforms, yet sometimes we can’t break stories or upload articles, because all of them are down. It can be frustrating.
Information gathering is another challenge. We are not as big as most media houses, so we have to rely on traditional media and News Agency of Nigeria for news. We rely mostly on our i-reporters. We have over 2,000 of them that supply CKN news and stories all over the world. They are not being paid, but they believe in our passion. But that is also another challenge. We have to authenticate their stories.
The issue of libel is another challenge. We don’t have legal department and lawyers unlike traditional media. Getting personnel is another challenge. Because of the economic challenges, we don’t have the resources to employ qualified staff with the ability to do the job well. Many online platforms are run by one person, who is the editor-in-chief, reporter and photographer. If anything happens to him, the website will suffer too.
Being able to attract patronage in terms of advert is challenging. You must build your platform to a certain stage to be able to attract patronage. It depends on your content and the level of reach.