Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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The Future of PR in Nigeria: YBO Sounds Alarm on Critical Shortage of Skilled Writers and Storytellers Amidst AI and Tech Revolution

… Advocates for skilled writers and storytellers in the age of AI and advancing technology.


By Oluwaseyi Elizabeth Jimoh for LightRay! Lagos.

The PR industry faces a daunting challenge as a severe lack of professionals who can craft engaging and compelling stories are in short supply.

In a stark warning to the PR industry, Yomi Badejo-Okusanya (YBO), President of the African Public Relations Association (APRA) and Lead Partner at CMC Connect, sounded the alarm at a Professional Forum organised by the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Ogba Lagos, on Tuesday on the critical shortage of skilled writers and storytellers.

Speaking at the institute, Badejo-Okusanya emphasized the urgent need for compelling narratives in the face of AI’s transformative impact on communication and audience engagement.

“The PR industry faces a daunting challenge: a severe lack of professionals who can craft engaging stories,” he lamented. “As AI revolutionizes our field, the demand for skilled writers and storytellers has never been more pressing.”

In his thought-provoking keynote address, Badejo-Okusanya highlighted a critical challenge facing the PR industry: the scarcity of skilled writers and storytellers as artificial intelligence (A.I.) continues to revolutionize communication and audience engagement, the demand for compelling narratives has surged.

He emphasised that “To be a great leader, you must be a skilled storyteller”. He called on PR professionals to embrace A.I. and recognize its transformative impact. The rise of digital evolution, fueled by social media and influencer engagement, has reshaped PR practices. Gone are the days of relying solely on press releases and traditional media in today’s age where A.I. enables immediate feedback, can be used to create virtual events and webinars, and enhances practitioners’ capabilities.

Strategies and tactics on how to maximise AI for use in storytelling by Badejo-Okusanya at the NIJ Professionals Forum, Ogba, Lagos. PC: Jimoh. June 19th. 2024.

Badejo-Okunsanya also cautioned against blind reliance on A.I. He clarified that A.I. is a tool—a software mimicking human intelligence. Two key types exist: generative A.I. and predictive A.I., which involves data analytics. Properly harnessed, analytical tools help identify trends and optimize responses.

Citing the storytelling techniques used by Jesus’ in his use of stories to communicate with his audience to effectively convey profound messages, he stressed the importance of storytelling in leadership and public speaking. He encouraged the audience to embrace AI, highlighting its benefits in enhancing PR capabilities, analyzing trends, and leveraging data.

Attendees, including students, lecturers, and PR practitioners, were inspired by YBO’s call to action. “The earlier you are AI compliant, the better,” he urged. Mr. Gbgenga Adefaye, Provost of the Institute, Dr. Boye Ola, Deputy Provost, Dr. Jide Johnson and other lecturers in attendance praised YBO’s insightful session.

A cross section of ND students at the NIJ’s Professional Forum, Ogba, Lagos. June 19th, 2024. PC: Jimoh.

The forum featured a practical session on improving AI prompts, and students learned how to use open-ended questions, request step-by-step responses, and provide context and directives to maximize AI benefits.

Badejo-Okunsanya, however, strongly cautioned against the misuse of AI, emphasizing the need for authenticity and ethical considerations, stating that, “AI is not a cover-up for laziness. Abusers end up generating plagiarized content, which is unethical,” he warned.

The event ended with a call to action, urging PR professionals to embrace the transformative power of AI while maintaining the authenticity and emotional connection that only human writers can provide.

NIJ Professional Forum on addressing the gaps in PR at the NIJ Hall, Ogba Lagos, June 19th, 2024. PC: Jimoh.
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