Google Launches ‘Journalism Relief Fund’ Following Facebook



Google said Wednesday it will launch an emergency fund to help local news outlets struggling to maintain operations in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The internet giant gave no specific figure for its fund, but said it would offer grants ranging from the “low thousands of dollars” for the smallest operations to “low tens of thousands for larger newsrooms.”

The move comes with the media sector facing deep cutbacks resulting from the global consumer lockdown, an intense economic slump and retrenchment in advertising revenues that many news outlets depend on.

“Local news is a vital resource for keeping people and communities connected in the best of times,” Google News vice president Richard Gingras said in a statement.

“Today, it plays an even greater function in reporting on local lockdowns or shelter at home orders, school and park closures, and data about how COVID-19 is affecting daily life.”

Gingras said the fund will open to outlets “producing original news for local communities during this time of crisis,” with applications due by April 29.

“At the end of the process, we’ll announce who has received funding and how publishers are spending the money,” he said.

“We believe it is important to do what we can to alleviate the financial pressures on newsrooms, and will continue to look at other ways to help with more to announce soon.”

READ ALSO: 99-Year-Old World War II Veteran Beats COVID-19 In Brazil

The New York Times has estimated that news outlets have cut 28,000 jobs as a result of the health crisis and subsequent economic impact.

Other outlets have furloughed journalists or announced pay cuts.

Facebook on March 30 said it was donating $100 million to support news organizations globally hurting from the coronavirus pandemic. This includes $25 million in grants and ramped up ad spending by the social media giant.

In recent months Facebook and Google have stepped up efforts to help news organizations, following criticism that their dominance of online advertising has made it difficult for media to profit from digital operations.


Facebook To Invest $300 Million In Local Journalism

Facebook Faces 'Oppenheimer Moment' Over Trump Scandal


Facebook announced Tuesday that it will invest $300 million over three years in various projects related to journalism, especially to promote local news, which it believes has been hit hard in the digital age.

The move comes with online platforms under pressure for dominating the internet advertising ecosystem, making it harder for news organizations to make a transition to digital.

“People want more local news, and local newsrooms are looking for more support,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president in charge of global news partnerships, said in a blog post.

“That’s why today we’re announcing an expanded effort around local news in the years ahead.”

The initiative includes a $5 million endowment to the Pulitzer Center to launch “Bringing Stories Home,” which will foster coverage on topics that affect local communities — funding at least 12 local in-depth, multimedia reporting projects each year.

Facebook also said it giving $6 million to the British-based Community News Project, which partners with regional news organizations including Reach, Newsquest, JPI, Archant, Midland News Association and the National Council for the Training of Journalists to recruit trainee community journalists.

The huge social network said it was expanding its Accelerator pilot, which launched in the United States in 2018 to help local newsrooms with subscription and membership models.

Facebook said it would invest over $20 million to continue the initiative in the US and to expand globally, including in Europe.

The move by Facebook follows the Google News Initiative unveiled last year by the US internet search giant.

Journalists To Discuss Hate Speech At IPI World Congress In Nigeria

International Press Institute (IPI) is set to hold its 2018 World Congress in Nigeria.

The Congress which is themed “Why Journalism Matters; Quality Media For Strong Societies” is aimed at discussing hate speeches, press freedom, quality journalism, among other press issues even as Nigeria’s 2019 general elections fast approaches.

The congress is to hold in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja in June.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday in Abuja, the IPI Director, Barbara Trionfi said journalists will also share ideas about how to report activities of political leaders without using the news medium to spread hate speeches that are increasingly common in the political space.

READ ALSO: Fake News Has Put The Media In A Precarious Situation – John Momoh

“We look at hate speech as a major problem. It is becoming popular among political leaders across the world. How can we conduct elections without hate speeches and how can we also ensure that the media is not used to disseminate hate speech and also to ensure that this does not become a way for anybody occupying government position to clamp down on press freedom.

“We are trying to understand how we can ensure that quality and public interest is upheld in journalism,” she said.

According to the IPI Director, the Congress will also encourage the exchange of best practice among journalists from around the world adding that limit to press freedom, new technologies in investigative journalism and gender issue will also be the highlights for discussion at the congress.

“We will also look at the limit of press freedom from legislative and ethical preparative and what are the best practices. We shall also be looking at new technologies for investigative journalism and how it can be used to do our work better.

“Gender issue will also be a strong topic in the Congress, we will look at gender balance in the newsroom and how do we balance gender issue in our report,” Trionfi said further.

IPI is a global network of journalists, editors and media executives with the mission to defend media freedom and the free flow of news anywhere threatened.

Trionfi is expected to visit leading media houses in Nigeria including Channels Television.

Nigeria Falls On World Press Freedom Index

The 2017 World Press Freedom index has placed Nigeria at 122 out of 180 countries; down six places since last year.

The report was put together by non-governmental organization, Reporters Without Borders.

Although the Freedom of Information Act was signed into law on May 28 2011, government institutions and officials regularly deny journalists information, and in some cases threaten them for investigating issues that are in the public interest.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, said via a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, that no society can grow without an active press to monitor and report its activities.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the National Assembly to continue to enact laws which will create a conducive environment for journalism to thrive in the country.

National celebrations take place each year to commemorate this day which was first proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993, following a recommendation adopted at the 26th session of UNESCO General Conference in 1991.

This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek declaration on media pluralism and independence.

Metrofile: Nnei Opia Weds Ibrahim Clark

African cultureIt was the wedding of Ibrahim Clark and Nnei Opia recently in Lagos.

The Clark family, led by the parents of the groom, Chief Edwin and Marinatu Clark, arrived with their son, Ibrahim and other members of the family at the house of Professor Eric Opia and Ruth Benamaisia Opia from Kwale in Delta State to seek the hand of their daughter, Nnei.

Both families are from Delta State and therefore have similar traditions and this was evident in the smooth flow of activities at the engagement of their children.

The breaking of kolanut and the clinging of glasses showed that the Opias were indeed happy to receive the Clark family and it gave the groom the go-ahead to claim his bride.

It was an exciting exercise as he was made to identify his bride from the several mock brides that were presented to him.

Finally, beautiful Nnei Opia, a Journalism and TV Production graduate from a UK university emerged to the relief of Ibrahim and his family.

Two days after the colourful traditional event, they gathered again but this time, it was at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), City of David, Lagos for the wedding service.

Metrofile brings you the best African culture from Delta State, Nigeria.

2013 In Review: Journalist Approves Performance Of Social Media

The Former Director, Voice of Nigeria, Gabriel Omohinmi, on Friday gave kudos to the social media for breaking the major news stories which dominated the media in the year 2013 but faulted the traditional news media for not performing up to expectation.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Omohinmi expressed disappointment in the performance of the traditional news media (print, television and radio) despite the enabling atmosphere  Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has created for practitioners. “We’ve actually not had problems with this present administration,” he said and added that “they have been very fair. They have allowed the Press to express themselves.”

According to the seasoned journalist, “the Nigerian media has not done well. We are not doing well. The traditional media is not performing the duties (that is) expected of them” because major stories in 2013 including the controversial letter exchange between former president Olusegun Obasanjo and President Jonathan, were broken by online based media.

This new trend is an indication that “people no longer trust media-men,” he said, adding that, “credibility is the basis of journalism practice.”

In the case of the call for Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah’s sack, Omohinmi said that journalists attached to the Presidency and the House of Representatives have not done their jobs as they should have obtained and published copies of the committees investigating the matter.

He also faulted the Minister for asking a journalist, Simon Ateba, to go back to school, after questioning her about House of Representatives’ call for her sack or resignation.

“Was it the duty of the minister for aviation to do that? Where are the reporters at the National Assembly? Why is it that they’ve not been able to get a copy of the report?”

He further mentioned that cases of journalists having romantic relationships with public officers in the beat they cover,  must stop as it is unprofessional.

“We must demand more from our reporters. They are not doing what is expected.”

Editorial policies of news organisations should be the guiding principle for journalists who are posted on assignments but “majority of them are out to see how much money they can make.” “Every media organisation is expected to have its own code of ethics that guides its own employees,” he said.

Omohinmi stated that the government owned media can perform much better than what they are doing now but the problem lies within the journalists and appointed officials who carry out “self-censorship” in favour of top government officers.

“I was in Voice of Nigeria, there was no time any minister will come and say this is what you take in our news.

“I remember during the MKO Abiola saga and Uche Chukwumerije was busy issuing out statements and I told them I was the news editor, I said No, I can’t carry this and I stood by it.

“My director of news came and said I was suspended and I said all well and good, I’m ready to go… I was suspended for one week but finally they brought me back and said what I did was quite professional.”

He advised that media organisations should establish their credibility in order to avoid external interference in their operations. “Do what is expected of you. Be credible and let the audience know that, is your only source,” he said.

Mystery Shrouds Death Of Teenage Factory Worker

The death of a 17 year old girl, Jennifer Onyeche, who died on the July 24th 2013 while working at a Juice manufacturing company in Ketu area of Lagos, has raised several questions, including the actual cause of her death.

The secondary school leaver, Jennifer, was reported to have died of electrocution but a doctor’s report states that the cause of death is asphyxiation.

Asphyxiation is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygento the bodythat arises from being unable to breathenormally.

Jennifer’s mother, Dorcas Onyeche, said four of her daughter’s co-workers visited her at 11pm to announce that she (Jennifer) got electrocuted and is dead.

Her father, Friday Onyeche, told Channels Television that he had been refused the right to see his late daughter’s corpse many days after her death.

However, there seems to be a conspiracy of silence as the police did not let the girl’s parents to see the autopsy report, but scribbled the cause of death on a piece of paper.

Dr. Femi Adewale of Fineday Hospital, Ketu confirmed that Jennifer was rushed to his hospital but was dead on arrival.

He explained that asphyxia and electrocution are two causes of death that have nothing in common.

An administrative staff of the company where Jennifer worked, a fruit juice manufacturing company located a No.9 Adisa Akintoye street, Ketu, divulged no information about the incident.

The state Criminal Investigation Department is currently handling the case.

Presidency Claims First Lady Is Not Sick

The Presidency has responded to media report alleging that the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan is sick again and has been flown abroad for medical treatment.

In a statement released by her Special Assistant (Media), Ayo Osinlu, the First Lady travelled to Dubai from where she proceeded to Paris, France, to participate in the 1st Green Women Conference, which took place on March 17, 2013 where she received the 2013 Global Women Leaders’ Award for Peace, not for medical treatment as speculated.

The statement stated further that the first lady travelled to Italy, “from there proceeded to Germany with her holidaying children to see her mother, Mama Sisi, who is currently receiving medical attention and for the children to spend quality time with their grandmother.

“It is unfortunate that again, some media houses have allowed themselves to be used by dedicated mischief makers against the basic tenet of professional journalism, which regards truth as sacred.

“It is notable that Her Excellency has a history of visiting the hospital in Germany even before she became the First Lady, thus making her medical trips routine.

“It is also instructive to state that medical experts have recommended that every human being should undergo medical check-up every six months, even if not suffering ill health.

“Therefore, hospital visitations of our leaders should not become leading media issues or attract disrespectful comments, just as the current circumstances of former President Mandela and other African leaders in similar situations, and even those who died, have not attracted negative comments from their people”.

Media reports had suggested the first lady was ill, again, and travelled abroad for treatment.

The denial by Mrs. Jonathan’s aides may, however, not impress many Nigerians as the presidency had made similar claims last year when the first lady travelled abroad for several weeks.

Despite the repeated denials by the presidency, Mrs. Jonathan later confirmed her illness and treatment for several weeks at a German hospital saying she nearly died.

NBC Closes Down Wazobia FM Kano

Broadcasting license of the Wazobia FM in Kano State North West Nigeria has been revoked with immediate effect.

According a source working with the station in Kano, at about 4:45PM on Friday they received a circular from the Nigerian broadcasting commission banning all broadcasting operation of the station in Kano.

“Although NBC has not given us any reason for revoking our license but am sure this may not be unconnected with the recent controversy regarding our Hausa programme Sandar Girma which was said to have incited the killing of nine female health workers in the state.”

All effort to get in touch with the representatives of NBC in Kano was not successful, however all broadcasting operations in Wazobia FM has been interrupted.

The newly established station came with a critical analysis of political activities in the politically sensitive Kano state which many politicians especially the ruling class frown at.

Lagos Media games billed to start October 6th

The Lagos Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalist has announced that all arrangements has been concluded for this year’s media games and it has been billed to start October the 6th in Lagos.

The Chairman of the Council,Comrade Deji Elumoye Gbolahan issued a press statement to that effect backed by the Secretary of the Council ,Sylva Emeka-Okereke that the games will, among other things, promote professional interactions, networking as well as camaraderie in an atmosphere of fun and friendship that sports provide.

Designed to demonstrate and publicly promote the ideals and values of engaging in physical sporting activities for the enhancement of healthy living among practicing journalists in the state, the NUJ games which started in 2005, was encouraged amongst media organizations which is a multi-sport competition in Lagos state will be hosted at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos State from Saturday, October 6 to Friday, October 12.

According to the statement, the games will begin with road shows, where banners of the supporting companies like Chevron, Nigerian Breweries, Unilever, Cadbury, May and Baker, OSR, Dufil Prima Foods, among other hosts would be conspicuously displayed.

This would be followed with visits to media houses in Lagos state as part of enlightenment and media awareness campaign for the event.

Some of the sporting activities for the games include: football, lawn tennis, table-tennis, marathon, scrabble, chess, ayo, draught, swimming and athletics, among others.


Jonathan angered by media reports – Former NUJ President

A former president of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ), Sani Zorro said the remarks made by President Goodluck Jonathan that the media is politicised is ‘a demonstration of his annoyance’ over some press releases about his administration.

Mr. Zorro who was a guest Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday said there is nothing sacrosanct about the media so criticism from top government officials including the president is very welcome.

University don debunks Jonathan’s claim that Nigeria media is politicised

Against the background of President Goodluck Jonathan’s assertion that the media in Nigeria is politicised, Olubunmi Ajibade, a senior lecturer of the department of mass communication of the University of Lagos said it is the politicians who are trying to buy journalists for their selfish interest.

In a telephone interview with the anchors of Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ajibade said journalists are professionals and follow professional ethics.

President Jonathan had said that the media is no longer the voice of ordinary people, but “the voices of their ‘rich owners’.”

The Senior lecturer debunked the president’s claim saying journalists in Nigeria will report what they consider important to their audience – the public.