The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), custodians of the country’s .ng domain name, has asked photojournalists to go online and positively showcase Nigerian story to the global Internet community.
Mr. Adebiyi Oladipo, Executive Board Member of Nigerian Internet Registration Association (NIRA) says this while delivering a lecture titled: The Internet and the Media, at a one-day training in Lagos organised by Technology Times Media Limited for Photojournalists Association of Nigeria (PJAN) on the “Application of Technology in Photojournalism.”
Photojournalists seen as visual communicators should embrace the Internet age to showcase the nation’s immense history, culture, tourism and other potentials on the online space, the NIRA executive says.
Oladipo told PJAN member attendees at the Technology Times training that “the Internet has changed the business of the media” and asks them to “take advantage of the vast business opportunities offered by the Internet” as it will benefit them as individuals, as an association and also benefit Nigeria at large.
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According to him, “the world is now flat because the information existing at the other side of the earth is made available the minute it is happening. Why? This is what technology has caused. As photojournalists, if we are doing business the way we used to do them, we need to change because things have changed and they are still changing.”
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]”You can monetise the sites by sending information out to drive traffic and once people who buy media on the Internet know that that place catches a lot of eyes, they will start to advertise there” Oladipo says explaining that they can now earn additional income by selling photographs to interested buyers through the sites.[/quote]Oladipo, who describes an Internet domain name as a virtual real estate that has value, appreciates and can be leased, rented or sold at any time “for good money” thinks that Nigerian photojournalists should take advantage of the Domain Name System (DNS) industry opened by the Internet.
The DNS industry ecosystem offers business opportunities for Registries like NIRA, Registrars, Resellers like web hosting companies; sub resellers and others in the area of website security, legal and financial support services and certificate authentication, he says.
Oladipo explains that NIRA, the local Registry that manages the .ng Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) name space in the public interest of Nigeria and global Internet communities. This way, the Nigerian .ng Internet domain name has been liberalised for local content development and business, hence Nigerians can register and host a .ng domain name using their name, language, city, village, culture and other attributes.
The NIRA Board Executive urged photojournalists in Nigeria to explore these new Internet opportunities as they can buy and use their own .ng brand and set up blogs where they can display their photographs.
“You can monetise the sites by sending information out to drive traffic and once people who buy media on the Internet know that that place catches a lot of eyes, they will start to advertise there” Oladipo says explaining that they can now earn additional income by selling photographs to interested buyers through the sites.
“Now, because you are going on the Internet doesn’t mean that you won’t do the normal thinking and business planning. You still have to go through that process. The only difference is that this time around, it’s online. The same way you make money with your business now, you can put it online and make money with it. The advantage is that it’s more accessible to people”, Oladipo says adding that “technology is meant to make our lives easier, but if we don’t incorporate the technology that would involve human interaction, the technology might not make sense.”
Speaking on intellectual property rights, he hinted attendees on how they can prevent people from using the pictures on their websites without payment or permission from the rightful owner.
“You can have a general site where people can see the pictures you have, like a show glass and just put watermarks on the pictures. Put watermarks of your name on it. If anybody uses it, they will know that it’s from you. Seeing the watermarks discourages people from using them, then you will now have a section that people can go to and claim pictures after paying”, Oladipo says.
On his part, Mr. Ademola Akinlabi, Chairman of PJAN, told Technology Times on the sidelines of the training described the initiative an eye opener to them as photojournalists in Nigeria.
“It’s a very great thing for us on the job because some of us belong to the era of black and white. We still belong to the era of Internet but with what technology has done to photography in the world, it’s a very bad signal to the profession. So we have to go with the trend.”
According to the PJAN President, “we used to be such photojournalists that when your newspaper uses your photograph, you either trash or dump your remaining photograph in archives. But today, we learnt that we can make use of them in so many ways. We realised today that we are missing and what we are missing, we can easily recover them back”, Akinlabi says.
Also speaking at the event, Mr. Shina Badaru, Founder/CEO of Technology Times and Publisher of iSpace Magazine, who delivered a lecture on “Technology and Photojournalism in Nigeria Today”, urged photojournalists and everyone who has contributed to the photojournalism industry in Nigeria to “unlock the potentials of technology.”
According to him, the idea behind the training is to “demystify that thing called technology” while also stressing the need for photojournalists to explore the possibilities and opportunities that the Internet has provided by setting up websites where they can showcase their collection of historic photographs to the world via the Internet.
According to Badaru, “the Internet is a borderless marketplace. The first thing that you need to provoke yourself is that there is an area of need. Find an area of need. We have journeyed through several phases of this nation’s history but where we have done worse than a conventional writer is that we have sat down on those historic contents that are in our possession and because we have sat down on them, we cannot make money from them.”
He told PJAN members that “people want to consume them, but they can’t find them. All of those work that every single one of you has done, if you open them to the world, do you know the amount of rich history that we would have successfully unlocked?”
According to Badaru, many Nigerian Photojournalists are literally sitting on these boxes of gold and technology has now offered them opportunities to share some historic collection of pictures in their archives. “I just want us all collectively to move forward knowing that these areas of opportunities exist in 2016 and they are no longer rocket science. You have to know and only you can realise that you are sitting on a box of gold. You are sitting on history.”
According to the Technology Times CEO, “you have gone round Nigeria and you have quite a number of those pictures. More often than not, some people want to do a travel or tourism or story about Nigeria and they need photographs to illustrate it, but they can’t find it and you have it. It’s hidden somewhere in your archives. It doesn’t benefit humanity. A story not shared is a history not told.
“I am sure that quite a number of you have some of these historic photographs. Where are they? They are hidden in that box that I said we sat on”, he says challenging the participants to go and “open those boxes, bring out those photographs and make them useful.”
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]According to Badaru, advancements in technology have caused the tools of the photojournalism trade to change fundamentally. “News today has become a commodity. But it has also become a commodity in which you no longer have the exclusive preserve of that commodity. So if that change has happened, it impacts us first of all as professionals in that trade.[/quote]He adds that “technology has disrupted everything. If you say I won’t do it this way, technology is leaving you behind. Do yourself a productivity checklist that this your top five tasks, within the next 30 days and part of it should be to bring out those key parts of history that you have left untold and then learn the strategy to convert them to cash.”
According to Badaru, advancements in technology have caused the tools of the photojournalism trade to change fundamentally. “News today has become a commodity. But it has also become a commodity in which you no longer have the exclusive preserve of that commodity. So if that change has happened, it impacts us first of all as professionals in that trade.
“How does it impact us? It means that the cameras and the tools that we were using in 2001, when there were still only half a million phone users and there were millions of people still buying newspapers, have changed. It means that the fundamentals have changed. The audience has shifted fundamentally.
“Where have they shifted to? They have shifted online. News today is now delivered at the speed of thought. There is a whole fundamental change that has happened and the audience consumption pattern has changed. So, for us to be able to play in that space, we all need to also change; Just the same way that you won’t use that 1970 camera anymore”, he says.
Badaru tells the PJAN members that “technology has done three key things to the media industry that he describes as an enabler, a leveller and a disruptor. “On the Internet, people don’t want to know how big the organisation is, what they just want is content. Whoever provides it, is the person that they will go to. The Internet has levelled the playing field.
“Technology has disrupted photography like you knew it. What technology does is that it disrupts every established convention”, he says explaining that long before now, one must make use of a helicopter to do an aerial shot but technological advancement has simplified that act with innovations like drones.
According to Badaru, “I am just letting you know the possibilities out there, but we still need photojournalists because everything we do on social media is still about sharing stories. No matter how fantastic the technology is, it cannot and will not take the place of the human brain. For you to capture that moment in time, for you to capture historic inauguration, for you to do anything that we document, technology may never still be able to do that.”