Nigeria’s media ecosystem is on a burgeoning roll. Diversifying, layering on preexisting entertainment mediums, monetizing previously dormant platforms, and simply creating new spaces for authentic Nigerian stories removed from the outside gaze. All of these with very little governmental support, at least not until the (sketchy) CBN creative fund came around, piracy culture, and an often unrewarding market that is (thankfully!) just catching up.
A healthy number of Nigerian media practitioners today have however gone into the business by accident and by picking up experience, mistakes, and successes on the way. That would be fine if it were a system everyone can access. It isn’t. A number of factors come to play in one’s pursuit to break into the media; wonky, chancy factors that could turn that pursuit into a waste of extraneously used time.
The point here is that the Nigerian entertainment and academic industries have very little structures in place for emerging media practitioners. While the industry is run and thrives on the backs of old and new media players, there are almost no funnels to guarantee that those young media practitioners coming up find a seat at this expanding table.
The good thing is that change is slowly happening. Media related courses have just been added as courses in universities. And small pockets of training and teachings are popping up on both virtual and physical platforms.
An establishment at the forefront of this change is the REDx Media Training Program organized by RED | For Africa. RED is a formidable, youth-edged media agency invested in connecting with the youth, especially Africa’s. So it makes sense that they are the ones to take up and join the necessary work of building a structure for Nigeria’s next media giants.
The REDx program which kicked off in June of 2019, has just wrapped up its second edition which held between January and February of this year. This training has positioned itself in prospect and indeed as an institution that relies on tested methods of running successful media projects, from The Future Awards Africa to the widely read, youthful web space YNaija, the popular daytime talk show hosted by renowned host Ebuka Uchendu, to representing esteemed brands to equip its’ trainees.
Highly competitive to get into (with over 3,000 applications sent in at the last open call) and thoroughly outlined, about 35 young and promising media practitioners are finally picked and put through an intensive, month-long course that covers the most primal parts of Nigeria’s media landscape with practical approaches that aim at actively improving the existing skillset of attending trainees.
During this training period, top media players at the top of their game with impressive work under their belt are invited to hold masterclasses as well as workshop sessions, with opportunities for interactive question and answer periods as well as networking. All this, for free.
Instructors at the just concluded edition of the training were the likes of X3M Media founder Steve Babaeko, CNN Africa’s digital head Stephanie Busari, Head of BellaNaija style Mary Edoro, and a host of others. Classes focused on the everyday methods by which media is being monetized, curated and navigated. From influencer marketing to the process of fleshing out pitches for sales and for content, social media management best practices, digital marketing, to the monetization of digital content.
It is really exciting to witness this revolution and what the immense progress that has been made with this program points to is not only the need for financial investment towards spaces actively trying to equip interested media practitioners, it also highlights the promising future of media in Nigeria and the people coming up to take charge, to shatter glass ceilings, to tell even more authentic stories and to continue to change the narrative and create new ones.