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Tiwa Savage, Omawumi Nigerian journalism called into question

The journalist has found the role of entertainer added to his job as an objective reporter and investigator.

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Azuka Oguijugba and Tiwa Savage play

ThisDay writer, Azuka Oguijugba interviews Tiwa Savage in her home


Last week saw Nigerian journalism principles and practices called into question. Most especially the techniques adopted by journalists for visual interviews.

This issue/debate was sparked following Tiwa Savage’s interview with Azuka Ogujiuba of ThisDay Newspaper with viewers of the video calling her “unprofessional”.

In the exclusive video obtained by Pulse Nigeria on April 29, 2016, Ogujiuba’s body language and facial expressions were seen as lacking empathy and void of emotion. Her questions appeared not to be direct as though she did not want to offend the singer. The entertainment journalist responded to critics saying she was a print journalist and not a TV presenter.

Tiwa Savage cries during interview on Teebillz. play

Tiwa Savage cries during interview on Teebillz.



ALSO READ: Singer says she's dealing with husband's infidelity, drug abuse, bad debt

Now the second incident that made self-imposed social media analysts challenge the status of journalism was an incident with singer Omawumi where she was a guest on “Da Chat” with Zinnia, a show produced by HF TV. The interview seemed to be going well until less than five minutes into the interview Zinna showed her obvious  lack of research about the artiste by asking if it was Dr Frabz, a music producer she married. Following this, the interview host lost control of her interview and she was called out for her poor ‘digging’ skills. She was however able to pick up from this. Then the chat took an extreme turn when Zinna asked Omawumi about an alleged smoking and drinking habit and how she handled it with motherhood. The ‘Play na play’ singer immediately asked the interviewer for her evidence with regards to this ‘rumor’ she brought forth.

ALSO READ: Nigerian Twitter reacts to singer's interview with HFTV

For both interviewers, ethical and practice issues were called into question - with Ogujiuba, it was her appearance, lack of empathy and nature of her questioning while with Zinna, it was her lack of research.

Omawumi and Zinna play

Omawumi and Zinna



While the ThisDay Editor can argue that she is a print journo, it's only normal that when you are having a conversation with someone you send out a couple of noddies (nod your head), lean forward or look interested in what they are saying - you do not need to go to journalism school for this.

One of the characteristics of any reporter is objectivity. Objectivity can be defined as presenting all main relevant points and separating fact from opinion. As such the journalist must see if their report can ‘fly’ by checking facts, research, examining both sides of the story, looking for evidence and assessing the credibility of sources. These are tasks that need to be done before any interview or before a story is published.

My colleague and I have been debating if Zinna was interviewing a man would she have asked him that question. Plus what does drinking and smoking have to do  with anything after all the singer is know to be scandal free and uncontroversial.

The constraints and influences of journalist have changed in this new century and this is as a result of the digital age. The journalist has found the role of entertainer added to his job as an objective reporter and investigator. Perhaps the "Da Chat" host was trying to get Omawumi to say something controversial so she could get clicks and drive traffic to her video.

The fast paced consumption of news, citizen journalism and the evolution of an army of bloggers have pushed many reporters to tell stories in an entertaining way, present controversial facts that'll engage their audience. This action forces them to leave behind the training they were given and the lines between information and entertainment become blurred.

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