How to be an excellent journalist

By Esther Olaifa

Journalists and media professionals in Nigeria have been advised to strive for excellence in their practice.

Media Specialist, Akin Olaniyan made the call at the November 2021 fellowship of Journalists for Christ held in Lagos on the theme “The pursuit of excellence in the media”

Olaniyan a former Deputy Editor of The Punch and Corporate Communication specialist with Zenith Bank said excellence involves moving from ordinary to extraordinary.

“We all must strive hard to excel in our profession because excellence does not come cheap. We must be ready to pay the price.”

He recalled how he vigorously searched for training and fellowship opportunities to enhance his skills which he got while working at The Punch.

“Even when there were no assignments, I go to my beats to get more than the routine statements given at general assignments”

Members at the fellowship

For believers, Olaniyan noted that in the school of excellence, they need to know the person of Jesus and the principles of Jesus.

“We must be like Jesus Christ who excelled in all ways. In fact, if we are not excelling in our media profession then we should rework our salvation. Prayer is not enough, you must be diligent and disciplined.”

According to him, anyone who desires to be excellent must be intentional requiring deliberate planning and actions.

Stating that pursuits involve two things, he said “If you want to get to the top, you have to get up to go up. If you want to get to the top you have to give up to go to the top.”

Quoting Habakkuk 2: 2-3 from the amplified version of the Bible, Olaniyan said an excellent professional should know what he or she really wants.

 (HABAKKUK 2:2-3 AMP) “AND THE LORD ANSWERED ME AND SAID, WRITE THE VISION AND ENGRAVE IT SO PLAINLY UPON TABLETS THAT EVERYONE WHO PASSES MAY [BE ABLE TO] READ [IT EASILY AND QUICKLY] AS HE HASTENS BY. FOR THE VISION IS YET FOR AN APPOINTED TIME AND IT HASTENS TO THE END [FULFILLMENT]; … WAIT [EARNESTLY] FOR IT, BECAUSE IT WILL SURELY COME

“ You need to be determined and settle down to write it what you want to accomplish. Life is war. If you take life serious, life will take you seriously.”

He said it is also necessary to know what being excellent will cost and be willing to pay the price.

  • LUKE 14:28 (TLB) 28  “BUT DON’T BEGIN UNTIL YOU COUNT THE COST. FOR WHO WOULD BEGIN CONSTRUCTION OF A BUILDING WITHOUT FIRST GETTING ESTIMATES AND THEN CHECKING TO SEE IF HE HAS ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY THE BILLS?
  • PROVERBS 22:29 KJV) SEEST THOU A MAN DILIGENT IN HIS BUSINESS? HE SHALL STAND BEFORE KINGS; HE SHALL NOT STAND BEFORE MEAN MEN”

To be excellent, Olaniyan also said there is a need to stand out in the race for excellence and work at it every day.

  •  (1 CORINTHIANS 9:25 KJV) “AND EVERY MAN THAT STRIVETH FOR THE MASTERY IS TEMPERATE IN ALL THINGS. NOW THEY DO IT TO OBTAIN A CORRUPTIBLE CROWN, BUT WE AN INCORRUPTIBLE”

As a Christian, he added that it is important to be guided by rules and play by them because if you win by breaking the rules; you lose as a believer.

Your result will be like their own if you do what they do, so you need to do things differently and count the cost and it’s in the place of praying, action that opportunity comes.  If you miss yesterday start today, now.

Ultimately, he stated that “it’s how you do your job that will determine how you end.”

(2 CHRONICLES 27:6 KJV)  “SO JOTHAM BECAME MIGHTY BECAUSE HE PREPARED HIS WAYS BEFORE THE LORD HIS GOD”