[TR News] Scholar seeks better coverage of SMEs

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Offers tips for media in distressed economy


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A journalism lecturer, Lagos State University, Dr. Toyosi Olugbenga Owolabi, has emphasised the role of the media in the development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the country. He said reporters covering the business beat should take additional responsibility of interpreting economic and political developments and their implications on the nation’s economy.
Owolabi made the appeal during a Faculty seminar held at the School of Communication of the university. The seminar session was the first in the series since Prof Lanre Fagbohun assumed duty as the Vice Chancellor of the 32 years old institution. The event had many of the academic, non-academic and doctoral research students in attendance.
Speaking on the topic, Media Coverage of SMEs in Nigeria and the Implication for National Development,” Owolabi described SMEs as the engine of economic growth and a catalyst for job creation; a subsector that can be developed to tackle poverty and unemployment in the country.
He noted that though the media played active role at the different levels of Nigeria’s political development, business and economic reporters in particular should do more by enhancing the development of SMEs as a critical subsector of the economy. Part of their expected roles, according to him, should include providing explanation for the reasons for Nigeria’s consistent poverty as a nation despite her abundant human and material resources. He further charged reporters to explore possible reasons why women play backbench role in SMEs sub-sector.
The lecturer urged media practitioners to educate the public on the opportunities available in the SMEs sub-sector of the economy and advertise the raw material potentials of each geo-political zone in the country. He noted the present challenges facing the media industry and recommended as a survival strategy merger and acquisition of some media outfits that share similar editorial focus.
Counting on his newsroom experience as a former Group Political Editor of Concord Newspaper and editor of Credit Market magazine before he veered into academic profession, Owolabi urged media organisations to key into the stock market to raise money for recapitalisation.
The Dean of the School of Communication, Prof Rotimi Olatunji who chaired the occasion, lauded the lecturer for providing insight into the vast opportunities available in SMEs sub-sector.
Olatunji, a professor of Public Relations and Advertising, noted that with the present unfavourable economic situation and its biting effect on the media industry, the traditional media in particular must wake up and quickly proffer feasible ways to remain relevant and continue to contribute to the development process.

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