Former Nigeria Olympic Committee image maker, Tony Nezianya, on Saturday urged sports journalists to understand general and specific rules of various sporting events to remain experts in their chosen specialisations.
Nezianya, a seasoned sports journalist and former Director with the News Agency of Nigeria, gave the advice in a lecture on: Journalism and Sports Development in Contemporary Society,” delivered at the 2020 Anambra Sports Writers Association of Nigeria Week Award and Recognition Night in Awka, Anambra State.
He said journalism had created convergence for all stakeholders, including athletes/players, administrators, financiers, marketers and spectators, and a sports journalist needed to be knowledgeable about sports to make sense of it all.
Nezianya, who is currently a Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State on Media, said sports journalists must also endeavour to provide technical, factual and timely information in their reportage.
He said: “In all the groupings, it is the activity of journalists with bias for sports reporting, commentating and analysing, that provide coordination for these healthy interactions.
“Now that sporting activities have been professionalized, it is only fitting that the sports journalist must also professionalize his services to benefit the growth and development of humanity.
“As professionals in the field, you must be knowledgeable in the rules and regulations involved in the practice of sports and must be in a position to provide authentic information because there are general rules and regulations and there are also specific rules guiding every game and competition.”
Nezianya said practitioners should ensure they were technologically savvy and aspire to report sports at the highest level, as well as belong to relevant affiliate bodies, including the Association of International Sports Press.
He said: “There is need for sports journalists to raise their levels too.
“ICT has come with many tools for the practice of excellence in sports journalism.
“If you are a practicing journalist and not ICT-compliant, please look for another job.
“I recommend that all practicing sports journalists must aspire to cover the World Cup and the Olympic Games at least once in their lifetime, while on the job.
“To date, I have covered five Olympic Games.
“You must also strive to register as an AIPS member.
“However, to get there you must be a member of SWAN.
“Sports writing is no longer the job for the never-do-wells from other departments to be dumped on the sports desks.”
Nezianya said sports had been adjudged by the UN as an index of development and a right of every citizen in any country, explaining that this accounted for why nations always strive to provide the best sporting facilities.
Among the awardees were John Abang, Commissioner of Police, Anambra State; Emeka Okeke, Founder, Aspire FC; Adazi-Ani and Pius Okoye, representing Awka South 2 Constituency in the Anambra House of Assembly, who all got rewarded for their various contributions to sports development in Anambra State.
Okechukwu Onuegbu of Blueprint Newspapers was also adjudged the best Sports Journalist in the state.
NAN reports that the SWAN Week, which began on December 1, featured tour of sports facilities in Anambra State, lecture and awards to deserving people.