Header Ads Widget

The Advent Of Online Media Can't Kill Print Media – US-Based Publisher, ADEMOLA AKINBOLA

Demola Akinbola is a trailblazing US-based journalist who stands out among the crowd. He is the Publisher of the Podium Magazine, an online platform. What is so surprising about The Podium is that it is swimming against the tide. While many publishers and investors are dumping print magazine for online, Mr Demola Akinbola is doing the opposite.

He just launched the print version of the Podium Magazine and he is determined to take the magazine to other foreign countries like The UK, Canada and South Africa.

City People’s Brands Editor, DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152 had a chat with him where he revealed a lot about the Podium Magazine.

Below are excerpts from the interview, enjoy.


Congratulations on this new feat sir. How do you feel about achieving this?

Thank you very much, my brother, I feel very fulfilled, I feel happy and I give glory to God for making this happen. This is the fourth print edition, we started in the US and I just felt that this is a brand that should go around the world, I just felt that let’s start in Nigeria and after that, we go to the UK, Canada and South Africa. The whole idea is to build a global media brand that will be the face and voice of Nigerians wherever they are. We want to identify Nigerians, honest Nigerians who are doing honest works, celebrate them, and honour them. We want society to move away from this culture of celebrating only the rich. There are some people who may not be rich in terms of naira but they are doing good work. They have inspiring success stories. In Nigeria today, people are depressed, people are discouraged but when you read other people’s success stories, you will know that there is still hope for you and that you can still make it. So, that is the essence of what we are doing, to encourage people not to believe in shortcuts to success, ritualism, yahoo yahoo, but to believe in honest works. To the glory of God, whatever I am today is through the pathway of what I am doing. I believe in passion, you must be passionate about whatever you are doing, be consistent, you must not give up and must stay on your lane. You don’t run your own race with another person’s life, everyone has his own gift and talent. you must identify those gifts and talents that God has given you and work with them. So I’m happy that this is just the beginning, we are going to be publishing 6 times in a year, once in two months. It is a platform for advertisers because this is a global platform and whatever advert you put in the magazine will go around the whole world. We want to create a digital handshake between Nigerians in the country and those abroad. When we feature someone doing something great in Nigeria, someone in the US might see a reason to invest in that thing you are doing. Secondarily, it’s a business networking platform which is going to encourage a lot of people to come together to do honest businesses. So many people in the Diaspora have lost hope in Nigeria because they feel that there are no more honest people in this country but through this magazine, they will know that there are still so many honest people in the country.

A lot of people believe that the print media has gone past its glory days and here you are investing in the print business. What influences that decision?

Thank you… well as I said in my speech when the online media came on board, a lot of people said it was the end of print and this and that but that has not happened. Rather, the online media has come to complement the print. I believe in integrated mass communication. Online media has its role and likewise print. For instance, if you have this magazine in your car, it can be read there, in your bedroom or even at your offices. It has various uses. The print media can never die, the reach that the online media has is an advantage because it can be seen where the print cannot get to. We also want to help people reduce their exposure to screens. People are always reading on their phone and laptops which affects their sight. Print also has the advantage of documentation. For the online, if your website is hacked, that’s all. It has happened to me before and we lost so many files but if we have had some printed documents, they would have been retained. I believe that both exist side by side to promote brands. Any good brand manager will not neglect one for the other, he will, he will look for a way to make the two work together. Your media mix must be on point to be able to maximize its advantages.

Looking at the cost of production of the print media today, how do you intend to sustain this brand?

A friend of mine called me and congratulated me for taking this bold step and then he made a statement that it takes courage for anyone to go into the print production business these days. It has cost us almost 800 thousand naira to put this magazine together but the good thing about it is that only one advert can take care of all the expenses. The print media survives on adverts. If we are able to get 15-20,000 then we are good to go. Those who patronize it know the value. Online is cheap and going back to print for me was a way of carving out a niche for myself in journalism. Very few people are doing it, once you have data, then you can blog. They have forgotten that blogging is not really journalism because anybody can blog. The dividing line has really thinned out. When you look at Nigeria, 85 to 90 per cent of fake news emanates from online because people are not trained. It takes a trained journalist to dabble in print journalism, anybody who is not trained cannot dare it. If you are able to build your website with about 50k you will start calling yourself an online publisher but the good thing is that the industry knows how to separate the good from the bad. There are some very good print magazines that are doing very well all over the world. It only requires that you have your niche, define your audience very well because you can’t be everywhere. This magazine is not what you are going to be seeing on the street, vendors are not going to be carrying it about because it is based on subscription and you will find it in some a-list outlets like selected bookshops, Sheraton Hotel, the airports and etc. so you have to define your niche very well and serve them properly.

Coming from the background of an astute journalist that you are, how do you think the media space can be sanitized with the issue of this recurrent fake news that has been happening here and there?

It’s difficult and very difficult so long as people have access to data, go online and publish whatever they like, then it might be impossible really. The concept of citizen journalism has done more harm than good in the media space. Right now, anybody can publish. People go about recording whatever they see, tag it the way they want and then publish it. It is left to them to tag their videos the way they like. That is why you see some people tagging 5-year-old video as being current, you can’t do anything about it.

It is left to the professionals and regulatory bodies to look for a way to sanctify the industry. There has to be a way we can screen and make sure that only people that are professionally trained to handle postings. If there is any online medium that is not following the standard practice, you blacklist such a platform and call them out. Although that still doesn’t stop them from doing so because people can do whatever they want with their social media handles. Again, the readers and society must be discerning. You must stop patronizing fakes when you discover one. If you stop visiting them, their traffic would gradually reduce consequently, their adverts will reduce and they will eventually die off. Unfortunately, things are upside down in this country, this society celebrates fake, we celebrate fake people. So, you will realize that those bloggers who are circulating fake news have the highest traffic because people want to read fake news.


Post a Comment