NAN@40: Agency celebrates professionalism, news dissemination via modern technology

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday expressed its commitment to professionalism in performing its fundamental role of disseminating information.
The Chairman of NAN 40th Anniversary Celebration Committee, Mr Joe Bankole, made this known in Abuja, while highlighting the success recorded by the agency since it began operations in 1978.
According to Bankole, the agency will on Oct. 9, in Abuja celebrate commitment to professionalism because it has remained the most committed news organisation in the media industry in Africa.
He said that the agency had successfully achieved its mandate of being a primary news content provider for Nigeria’s newspapers, electronic media and bloggers.
“That is why the agency is still relevant because if the our  subscribers feel that what we put out is not truthful, they would have left us, particularly at this hard times when it is difficult for them to pay our subscription.
“However, they still stick to our stories and that means we are doing something to add value to news reporting,’’ said.
Bankole said that the agency would be celebrating some other giant strides it had recorded in dissemination of information via modern technology.
“The agency started by distributing news bulletins in printed copies and we went on to become computerised and since then we have grown.
“Today, we are multimedia and we are sending out news in not just text but audio and visuals so that is a lot of progress from where we started.
“We are celebrating hard core professionalism and advancement in the use of technology to disseminate news.
“The greatest achievement of NAN is the coverage of Nigeria because the agency has the greatest reach.
“We go down to the local government area and we have offices in some remote parts of Nigeria.
“We have been able to cover Nigeria well and that is why we have the slogans “No one knows Nigeria like NAN’’, “Talk to NAN Talk to All’’.
While listing some of the challenges confronting the agency over the period, Bankole pointed out that inadequate funding remained the major setback to carry out its operations.
He said that the agency needed to maintain its offices across the country to function at optimum level.
“This boils down to funds. Before now we have internet services in all our offices but we can no longer cope except for Lagos and Abuja.
“This is most biting challenge that NAN has to contend with over the years unfortunately this is not peculiar to the agency because almost all agencies of government are feeling the same impact of low cash availability.
“This is because government too does not have the money and that is why government keeps asking people to look inwards for other means of funding themselves.
“It has not been all easy for NAN to go out there and be doing this because it has to invest heavily in equipment, in staff and so on.
“We can grow from there but as it is the funding for NAN has dwindled over the years,’’ he said.
Bankole added that staff training was crucial in enabling the agency achieve its fundamental role of disseminating news objectively.
“You cannot train them without having the money to back it up.
“However, to get around it, NAN got training agreement with Reuters and Xinhua News Agencies, but they are not forthcoming as they used to be.
“This year, I don’t think anybody has benefited from any serious training programme outside NAN and since that doesn’t happen, we have been doing internal training and orientation for new intakes,’’ he said.
NAN was established by the Federal Government via Decree 19 in 1976 and became operational on Oct. 2, 1978, providing general news service to subscribers.
With the introduction of satellite technology in 1998, the agency began to transmit stories to its clients simultaneously all over the country and some capitals in the world.
With substantial reach and mobility across the 36 states of Nigeria, and with 501 editorial staff nationwide and correspondent in New York, the agency produces more than 200 stories daily. (NAN)

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