Friday, December 9, 2022
Ignite the mind.


Students Laud LightRay Media, Ejiro Umukoro, for Impactful Training…Urges Pen Pushers to Fight for Their Rightful place In The Media

By: Roland Bayode In the wake of the pandemic and its impact across the media ecosystem, LightRay Media’s CEO/President, Ejiro…


By: Roland Bayode

In the wake of the pandemic and its impact across the media ecosystem, LightRay Media’s CEO/President, Ejiro Umukoro, organizes online training for Nigeria student journos, creative writers, and broadcast anchors to uplift genii intellects during the Covid19 lockdown.

The program, which commenced in late August of 2020 fulfilled the long-term craving for media exposure, understanding, experience, and knowledge needed by media students to enhance their professional and personal lives.

With the lockdown in place and virtual learning the go-to means of training, LightRay Media was launched on the WhatsApp platform with an initial attendance of over 150 participants done weekly every Sunday. Aside from the weekly core training, the LightRay Media has been a good platform where Ejiro Umukoro supports students’ talents, passion, and intense ambition to help diversify the society into a nicer habitat providing them with skills, advice, and an operational outlet to help showcase their works as student journos, bushy tail entry-level graduates and mid-level journos, broadcasters and art students.

In support of the tremendous work being done by Ejiro Umukoro through LightRay Media,  LightRay another tremendous media connoisseur who inspired more writing gig among the attendees is the Executive Director of Media Career Development Network, a media connoisseur Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin. This grand Journalist has worked for various media organizations including The Nations where he was the Sunday Editor, The Punch Newspapers where he was Group News Editor, City Editor, and Group Political Editor among many others.

Otufodunrin reveals that he is more passionate about supporting student journalists with mentoring, coaching, and counseling. This he had demonstrated by giving imperatives supports, tips, ideas, and experience on the group. He also offered token prizes for reports on one of the training to uplift team spirit.

When asked about his view on the possible impact the online training by LightRay Media has amassed on participants, Mr. Lekan reveals that the training is a highly meritorious and nice initiative that has contributed to providing practical mentoring and capacity development for students and young journalists. “It has impacted the participants based on the outcomes of the various sessions. The direct engagements with her,” Otufodunrin says “offer the participants an opportunity to benefit from her wide experience and network. The access they have to her will provide them continuous learning opportunities even beyond the regular session.” Otufodunring says adding that “only very few accomplished journalists have done what she is doing.” He urges participants to maximize the opportunities offered by Ejiro Umukoro through LightRay Media to take everything she offers them seriously. “Participants should not take the sessions for granted. They should attend the session promptly and take assignments seriously. They should produce content based on the lessons they have learned in engaging with her.”

Awojobi Oluwatimilehin a mass communication student of Adekunle Ajasin University who is one of the participants says the training “was topnotch, the weeks of the training was amazing with her {Ejiro Umukoro], she made the teaching easy and understandable and interactive as well. She’s a legend.”

A campus journalist Philip Anjorin also reveals that “it’s rare in our realm for a predominant and renowned journalist like Lady Ejiro to create a space for teeming journalists to learn, relearn and unlearn from her oceans of knowledge.” adding that “it’s been amazing when I think about how much I’ve gained from the little moments spent with her so far… So for me, it’s awesome and I urge other established media persons to follow the trend so the world of Journalism will keep having excellent generations of professional journos nonstop.”

As regards the effect the training has on him, Philip has this to say… “Before my encounter, I know nothing about in-depth storytelling, and my passion for bringing out societal ills isn’t on par. I get bored with feature reports too… But there are these tactics she uses in her sessions… She would share award-winning stories either from her or others and give us the chance to learn from them, then we discuss the ‘what and what not’ present in the story. This had in one way or the other let me into the practical world of writing. Now, I have gained interests in these areas and I hope to improve.”

Another participant, Deborah Omoare describes the training as a platform where young and great minds are being nurtured and shaped to become fit in the media setting explaining that many hidden and imminent world luminaries have been discovered and groomed during the webinar. For Deborah, she says “the effect of her [Ejiro Umukoro’s] delivery lectures to over 100 participants can never be underestimated. She is doing a great job and I do hope that the training does not halt but becomes a firmed and continual training”.

When asked about the impact the training has had on her personal and professional life, Debby added: “I could remember vividly the first teaching facilitated by Lady Ejiro was Choosing the Right Career Path and Climb into the Media Ecosystem. I discovered that if you are not passionate about something, you won’t be able to achieve anything in life and whatever you are passionate about will make you select and pursue the right pursuit in the media world. The training has helped me to work more on my passion by having a personal daily routine and not to relenting on my goals no matter the impediment until my goals come into actualization in the media society.”

She concluded by stating that her perception of the media has ever intensified with the help of the training.  “I had comprehensive knowledge and a better understanding of the media and also becoming a better-skilled Communicator. The media as I have known is a powerful means where impactful stories can be aired to shape the shapeless, correct the ills, and mend the broken pieces in society. I believe the beneficiaries of the training which majority of them are youths, now know their relevance in the media world.”

The multi-talented and multi-award-winning journalist Ejiro Umukoro has built a brand for herself in the media industry as a broadcast anchor, investigative journalist, media executive, social entrepreneur, writer and author. Over time, she has strongly done series of impactful stories that had whirled grounds to propel a change both within and outside Nigeria. Her impactful work across the media ecosystem has seen her interviewed by BBC London in the UK, Daily Trust, Channels TV, TVC, Voice of Nigeria, Nigeria Info, NewsWire.NG, Eko FM, Media Career Development Network, Pointer Newspaper, and ICFJ Knights Fellowship/ICIR Webinar, and the likes of many others.

One of the best ways to give back to society according to her is by making impactful stories with her pen and this is what she did out of her affection for humanity.

Another aspect Ejiro concentrates on is inspiring people to tap into their inner self or the core of their essence and let them drive a philosophy that inspires them into action. She’s of the ideology that the world can be better “if everyone has an ignited mind that inspires them to a positive call to action. Once you understand this, the mind is ignited, the mission will be accomplished, the barrier will break, and the rocket that you are will fly inspiring the call to action we all must take, the change agent we become, and the better society we create, all start with this process.”

She discloses that “Timi Dakolo who became the very first West African idol was somebody I discovered, inspired, mentored, supported, and sponsored. Mark Angel is another sensation that I’ve inspired and the likes of many others in the media, communications, and entertainment industry to find their path in writing, journalism, reporting, in broadcasting. I have some persons who are in some different media organizations today who are doing extremely well, their parents come back to me and tell their children ‘Do you still remember what Lady E did for you at a time?  You need to pay her back, you need to show her gratitude for supporting your talents and never forget how you started.’ I get such words from time to time and that’s what I believe my mission is. It continues to steer me so much that it permeates everything I do. My mission in this world is to inspire the greatness in people, this I have been doing and will continue to do.”

She also divulges that Lightray Media was born out of the need to bridge the gap existing within the creative and journalism industry as a result of dearth of skills expertise, lack of mentoring, and lack of support systems for young journos whether at the university and college levels or even growing up. Adding that “I’ve realized that there is a big connection with creative thinking, creative writing, and journalism in media when I noticed that this gap existed where people don’t see the correlation between these two various forms of writing. Most often, the change we want to see happen are often told through storytelling. I felt that the way the world is going, storytelling makes all the difference. Africa had a culture back then where you tell people about history, event, places, things, beliefs, values, cultures and the likes through storytelling passed on from one generation to another. It was the same way discipline, street sense, morals were taught and life’s lessons were created from storytelling and the quotes you have today were also imputed in all of this passing on critical information from one generation to the other. It’s just so unfortunate that this grand value is lacking behind in our society this craved changed must be imputed to revitalize the lost glory of creative writings.”

Ejiro defines what glues creative writing, broadcasting, and journalism to be storytelling, where we can tell a story in a very profound manner that gets people to read, immerses, and subsumes people’s imagination.  “We all have stories to tell, we love to hear stories because it engages us, makes us think, tickles us, and in some instances, provokes us to take actions. That is why when we tell a documentary story for example in the broadcast media, how you tell that story is everything. It’s the way you engage the audience, you keep them stuck and involved, you made them participate  and you get them to take action after being immersed in something supra found.”

Many young journos agrees that the quality of training, opportunity for growth as an undergraduate are not much as established media merely undervalue their contribution. It is this area of concern that strikes at the heart of LightRay Media. Ejiro says “There’s a serious gap when young people from very early on, including extant media organisation do not understand that the creative industry which includes advertising, journalism, broadcasting are actually intertwined the arts as a whole. That mass communication as a body of study encompasses so much more. It is a great business platform, a great employer of opportunity, and opportunity of the employer. It provides people a means to express themselves, and the opportunity to thrive in a world where science has been so dominant.”

Ejiro reflects that she desires a setting whereby the literary part of the arts, the journalistic and broadcast part of the arts also take their rightful place and this can only be done if creative writings are extensively acclimated in the media ecosystem.

“Some, if not most people, often think that anything related to art is strictly entertainment, namely music or comedy which are thriving in their own sphere right now in Nigeria. We want the literary part of the arts to also take their legitimate niche where every generation of young people can aspire to become a creative writer, a journalist, a broadcaster, and know that they can succeed, excel, make money and make impacts and be referenced as role models and mentors; as people who are change-makers.”

From her experience in teaching what she calls the 5 Capacities, Ejiro ascertains that everyone is born with creativity which can manifest as talents, hobbies, interests, skills and passion. She explains that talents, once turned into a craft takes it to the level of professionalism. To get to that point will require constant practices, discipline, and commitment to developing and horning a natural gift into something phenomenal. For those who have strong interest in an idea, etc, this too can be turned into a learned skill. “We have people who already have an interest, the desire to be curious, that alone in itself is a path that people should explore. People’s interest, their heightened sense of curiosity can also earn them money.”

She further emphasizes that the key for media students in achieving their great dreams is passion. “Even in passion, people can make money. While a skill may exist, if you don’t have passion for the skill, it will just be a skill that you developed. How you apply the skill is where passion is very important because passion enables you to fly, it is like a rocket; it fires you into the atmosphere, into the industry, into places of opportunities.”

As a final suggestion, Ejiro Umukoro emphasizes that “people should get to a point where they understand that it is okay not to know now, but it would be foolhardy to choose not to want to know. Because to know, the willingness to learn and be taught and to apply is a capacity that is developed. To know requires that one must be involved, take steps and redirect one’s actions where it truly matters. “I’ve always believed in the philosophy of limitlessness, I see myself as a limitless being, as an individual who can transcend beyond what is obvious. And so can all of us.”

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