If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Hundreds of Nigerian journalists and writers across the country were reminded of the universality of this statement when they received communication either ending their contractual agreement with news platform Opera News, or communication that demanded they change their editorial style to match the platform’s requirement of impressions over content or engagement. This blunt but covert parting is very different from the public and ‘joyful’ ‘signings’ that occurred in September and October at Opera’s offices, involving many high profile influencers.
What caused this sudden and volatile split?
The reasons are legion. Some writers complained of having the content sent in altered significantly in such ways that could harm their career. Others complained about being shortchanged because their articles were a few impressions short of the required minimum to earn a bonus with Opera News. Writer, David Hundeyin was more explicit in his explanations of why he was parting ways with the company, explaining why his contract with the platform wasn’t renewed.
Sorry you had to find out this way, but Opera News doesn’t do journalism. It’s a content mill, not a platform for journalism.
I figured this out when they informed me that my contract won’t be renewed, despite giving them their two all-time most read articles in December. https://t.co/rWowLmqoxQ
— David Hundeyin (@DavidHundeyin) January 5, 2020
Emmy nominated Nigerian journalist and filmmaker, Ruona Meyer also weighed in on the situation, explaining why she didn’t accept a contract from the platform and why she thinks their motivations might be exploitative.
So. My not signing with Opera News months ago was actually ZERO to do with money. It’s why I said it will take me time to show why.
I wasn’t going to, but in life one must speak up, so others do not make mistakes.
Or lump you in same money-is-my-sole-motivation basket. Ugh
— Ruona J. Meyer (@RGAMeyer) January 5, 2020
Opera News hasn’t given an official response to the mass retrenchment and the accusations that have followed. But it severely dents its good with a Nigerian audience skeptical about Chinese interests in the country.