Universities and schools
So many tertiary institutions in Nigeria offer journalism-related courses. At polytechnics, Mass Communication is a very popular course. At universities, aspiring journalists usually opt for courses such as English Language, Communication and Language Arts, History and International Affairs.
It is common occurrence for science students or Arts students who didn’t take any of these courses to pick an interest in journalism. They usually proceed to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Lagos. Established in 1963 by the International Press Institute (IPI), with Headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, NIJ is one of the foremost training institutions for journalism, media and communication studies in Nigeria and Africa. The not-for-profit Institution is owned and operated by professional associations in the media industry: Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), NGE, NUJ, NAN, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCN) and the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR). There was also the defunct Times Journalism Institute founded in 1965 as the training school of the defunct Daily Times newspaper.
The first degree-awarding school of journalism/mass communication was established in 1962 at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Subsequently, the University of Lagos UNESCO-supported Institute of Mass Communication (Now rebranded Department of Mass Communication) was established in 1967. In the broadcasting segment, The Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation’s Training School(renamed Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Training School) was founded in 1957 to cater to broadcast journalists.
Lately, the School of Media and Communication (SMC) of the Pan Atlantic University (PAU) has emerged as both a rival and complementary force to NIJ’s quest to produce topnotch Nigerian journalists. Another non-profit educational institution, PAU was established in 2002. Affluent students seeking a career in journalism enroll for its undergraduate programme. Also, NIJ graduates apply to PAU’s SMC for a master’s in communication.
However, a new trend in Nigerian journalism is seeing the rise of brilliant journalists who didn’t formally study journalism-related courses, particularly at undergraduate level. Examples abound.
Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye, multiple-award-winning journalist, arguably Nigeria’s most successful young journalist, studied Biochemistry at the University of Lagos. Ogunseye, Editor of Sunday Punch until January 2018, is currently the Head of Languages, BBC West Africa.
Idris Akinbajo, Editor of Premium Times, studied Food Science and Technology at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) for his first degree, while ‘Fisayo Soyombo, pioneer Editor of TheCable, studied Animal Science at the University of Ibadan.
These journalists, and lots more, are proving that journalism can be self-taught. In this age of technological advancement and information glut, the Internet is replete with enough training resources and materials for any willing, passionate aspiring journalists.