Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, a Consultant in Communication, Media and Culture, says there is too much celebrity reportage in the media as against development journalism. He, therefore, charged media practitioners to focus on education, sanitation and health among other development issues.
Nana Gyan-Apenteng, former Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), took his turn at the “MTN Bright Conversations with Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng @70; Reflections on the Media as a Lived Experience” held virtually in Accra.
The event was to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Veteran Journalist, who was once an editor of the Daily Graphic and the Mirror.
It was also for him to share his rich journalism experience with the current crop of journalists, as well as up-and-coming practitioners.
Nana Gyan-Apenteng expressed gratitude to the Management of MTN, especially the Communications Department, for organising the event, which coincided with the Company’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. He said journalists must be more adventurous, curious, creative and innovative in their storytelling.
Recounting his days of entry in the journalism space, the Consultant said he took interest in magazines and had his first story published in secondary school aside from having a lot of magazine publications when he was at the University of Ghana.
“I also got into broadcasting through a programme still at the University, called the ‘Uncle Frank Show,” he added.
Nana Gyan-Apenteng paid tribute to the late Edward Ameyibor, a former Editor of the Ghana News Agency, who he encountered in the northern part of the country, for allowing him to commence a serious journalism practice as a vacation job. He told the audience that his first assignment for the Agency was to cover the opening of the Office of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs, which he did but was told the next morning that what he wrote was not a news story.
He said the late Ameyibor taught him vividly the basics of news writing and one lesson he had gotten from him, which was vital in journalism, was note-taking.
The former Chairman of the NMC called on young and upcoming journalists to cultivate the spirit of volunteerism and endeavour to take notes when they go on assignment because it vindicates the reporter when issues come up with stories.
“These days l see many journalists drop their mobile phones to record without taking notes. It is a bad habit,” he added.
He commended journalists and media houses, who were doing their best, to continue to uphold the ethics of the profession and urged others to fall in line with good practices of the craft.
Nana Gyan-Apenteng said through his career as a journalist, he had been sacked three times and that despite the pressure from the Castle and other powers that be.
“Journalism should first serve the public interest before any other interest,” he added.
He said what was lacking currently in the journalism space was intellectuals; academics, columnists and sources that journalists could fall on anytime to seek their opinion on issues of national interest.
Professor Kwame Karikari, a Communications Specialist, called on journalists to continue to read regularly to broaden their perspectives on issues surrounding them.
Prof Karikari, also the Board Chairman of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, said there should be a national dialogue on media content, adding that it should not be left to only the National Media Commission.