By Enoch Sithole: It’s back to school for 20 Nigerian media practitioners who will be attending the Media Innovation Programme (MIP) which is run by the Pan-Atlantic University (PAU) in collaboration with MTN Nigeria.

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This is the second edition of the programme, which was launched in 2022 to support media practitioners and promote understanding of the rapidly changing media landscape, said Dr PAU’s director of the School of Media and Communication (SMC), Dr Isaac-Ogugua Ezechukwu, who is heading the programme.

MPI is a six-month programme with contact classes for a week every month. It is a fully funded certificate fellowship, which includes a study visit to the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, and an innovation hub to incubate ideas. The programme is open to media practitioners across print, electronic, online platforms and social media content creators.

Commenting on the impact of the programme, Vice Chancellor of the Pan-Atlantic University, Professor Enase Okonedo, said the university provided training that enabled students to uphold the highest intellectual, ethical and professional values in their professional and everyday endeavours. “The MTN Media Innovation Programme is a melting pot of sessions and discussions promoting creative thinking, technology-forward practices, and honesty that enable participants to continue practising with journalistic integrity.

“The MTN Media Innovation Programme could not have come at a better time for Nigerian media practitioners to imbibe these pertinent values,” he added.

MTN Nigeria CEO, Karl Toriola said, “the media is a crucial contributor to a thriving nation. Enhancing their skill set will benefit society at large. Through the Media Innovation Programme, we want to continue empowering media practitioners. Enabling them to report at an elevated level combining innovation with solution-oriented media practice to benefit their readers.

 “We are driven by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected world and are driving accelerated growth by leading digital solutions for Nigeria’s progress. Against this backdrop, the media landscape continues changing at remarkable speeds, boosted by new technologies. Thus, it is only fitting that we support developments in the Nigerian media space with our infrastructure and enable capacity building initiatives to enable innovation in media practice.

“It’s a delight to partner with the Pan-Atlantic University, who, through their expertise, have contributed to the professional development of the media industry, not only in Nigeria but across Africa,” added Toriola.

Following a rigorous application process, 20 media professionals were selected to join the 2023 cohort. “The multifaceted programme will give them a unique opportunity to explore Nigeria’s technology sector and the nexus between media and technology,” said Dr Ezechukwu. The initiative is to equip media professionals with the skills to adapt to the changing realities in the sector, he added.

Fellows will also have access to professional resources and mentorship from the SMC, said Dr Ezechukwu.

While in South Africa in September this year, the cohort plans to visit various entities, including academic institutions and media houses. 

THISDAY Newspapers journalist, Vanessa Obioha, who participated in last year’s inaugural edition, had the following to say about the course: “My learning experience at this programme is beyond ordinary words. It was insightful, innovative, and expository. Grateful to MTN and SMC for the opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Another participant, news reporter and translator, Sakina Ahmed, said: “MTN-MIP is a life-changing programme and a confidence booster, I am glad that I had the opportunity to be a pioneer fellow, now I know I am limitless.”