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WIJ2014: THE GATHERING of LEADING WOMEN JOURNALISTS with HUNDREDS of OTHERS HOPING to MAKE a MARK in the 21st CENTURY

If there ever was a list of conferences that fell short of being entertaining, inspiring, educative and riveting, Women in Journalism 2014 (WiJ2014) assuredly would be excluded from that list.

The maiden conference ended on such a great note and left participants rooting for an annual repeat—a possible WiJ2015.

Even though it was a rainy Thursday morning, the participants – women journalists from all over the country – were not deterred from making their way to the programme. With so much talk about the conference on social and traditional media, many people waited with baited breaths, anticipating what the conference would turn out to be. Fortunately, in the end, the audience left informed and inspired, delighted to have been part of a successful event.
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Organized by AOL- Nigeria in collaboration with UNESCO, Google Nigeria and the School of Media and Communications, Pan-African University (PAU), the Conference Director, Yomi Owope and his team, hosted an illustrious number of speakers and media professionals at Civic Centre on the 5th of June 2014 to discuss the progress and challenges facing the media profession, specifically challenges posed on women. Among these speakers were veterans, television and radio presenters, social media experts, Media entrepreneurs and many more.

As an eclectic spectrum of dignitaries trouped in to grace the event, you could feel the positive energy in the room, mostly emitting from early arrivals who shared hugs and wide grins of excitement either at the instance of meeting a familiar face, or when introduced to a potential acquaintance.
Soon enough, WiJ2014 began.

Moderators, Adesuwa Onyenokwe and Adaure Achumba gave spirited opening remarks. They introduced the Conference Director, Yomi Owope to give his welcome address. Shortly after, the Dean of the School of Media and Communications, Pan-Atlantic University, Professor Emevwo Biakolo, delivered a short address address followed by a Keynote Speech by the CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, veteran journalist, Monique Villa.

After the short opening ceremony, attendees were immersed in a rich rundown of sessions targeted to explore several facets in the practice of Journalism in Nigeria and around the world. Former BBC and NEXT journalist, Kadaria Ahmed launched the panel discussions, beginning with a chat on Spreading Excellence in Journalism. This was immediately followed by the session, Accessing Financing for the Media with Mo Abudu, Dr. Issa Momoh of the SMC and Ope Wemi-Jones of Access Bank plc fielding questions from the lovely Adaure. Journalist and trainer Siju Alabi led the session on Measuring Progress: Finding Opportunities for African Women Journalists, with veterans Kehinde Young Harry and Siene Allwell-Brown participating. It was an informative and humorous session with participants asking serious questions affecting their jobs on a day-to-day basis.

Conference Director Yomi Owope moderated the session on Reporting through African eyes, while the “Mobile Women: Enhancing Journalism Practice on the Go” session had a younger generation of online content providers and was moderated by on-air-personality Tolulope Adeleru with Ono Bello, Taiwo Obe, Abang Mercy, Tosin Ajibade providing insights on what it is like to practice journalism using new media.
Journalism is never complete without a good story, and the “How to Tell a Compelling Story” session with Nkiru Olumide-Ojo, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Benny Uche, Adaure Achumba all fielding questions from social media consultant Chioma Chuka.

Mentoring and networking continued through the day; then at night, the Conference moved to the Clear Essence California Resort on Alexander Road, Ikoyi, where veteran journalist and House Chairman of the Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, gave personal stories of her struggles as a woman journalist, joined participants and how she overcame adversity. See photos after the cut….

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