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ENTERTAINMENT

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Word On Media Relations By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

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By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu*

As it concerns the media, public relations has received a much-needed breakthrough in the just-published book Media Relations Playbook: 25 Proven Effective Hacks by Chido B. Nwakanma.
Contemporary developments in media relations in Nigeria and much of Africa are explored with a mastery that compels attention.
The much sought-after media consultant and educator Chido B. Nwakanma has facilitated training sessions on media relations management at professional forums and academe over the past nine years and distinguished himself as Adjunct Faculty at the esteemed School of Media & Communication, Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos.
It’s instructive that the National Universities Commission (NUC) has divided Mass Communication into seven distinct domains, with Public Relations as a stand-alone field.
Given that Media Relations are pivotal to Public Relations, Nwakanma’s Media Relations Playbook is a timely game-changer and quintessential guidebook.
Nwakanma is akin to an astute coach in American football who graduated from the field as a consummate quarterback who masterfully orchestrates the game armed with a classic playbook.
One cannot but learn from the guru, who has 30 years of cognate communication management experience and has served as President of the International Association of Business Communication (IABC) Nigeria and the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN).
In this millennial age of multiform information platforms, the media can be said to be everywhere.
As of April 2023, Media Relations Playbook informs, Nigeria had 740 functional radio, television and online broadcast stations, made up of 390 radio stations and 350 television stations, broadcasting in English, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Fulfude, Efik, Urhobo and well over 50 other languages.
Nigeria has over 100 national, regional, community and local print media publications, with the most famous newspapers being the Guardian, The Punch, Vanguard, ThisDay, The Nation, The Sun, Daily Trust, Leadership Daily Independent, and Premium Times.
Digital media can be seen as all the rage today, and the ubiquitous social media cannot be done without warts and all as per information, misinformation, disinformation, and sundry whatnots.

Nwakanma’s Media Relations Playbook offers 25 seamless lessons, starting with being clear about objectives, audiences, and deliverables.
In media relations, it is crucial to be clear about strategy, i.e., the plan of action to achieve a long-term aim.
A distinct media engagement plan specifies who, what, where, when, and how to do the necessary.
It is incumbent on the responsible practitioner to “tell your story” because “the goal of a media relations effort is usually to get the word out on behalf of your organisation or client.”
There is no escaping the necessity of writing different versions of the story to reflect the media types of the moment.
Nwakanma advises sticking to the positive in crisis and avoiding off-the-record comments that may spell disaster.
In critical media relations activity, one must be prepared to expect various responses, including the less-than-salutary.
Against the grain of sharing “in confidence” experiences, one should bear in mind not to say anything one would not like to be published.
As espoused in Nwakanma’s Media Relations Playbook, managing the diversity of platforms is a significant lesson in doing the job.
Nwakanma stresses that “media relations and communication as a whole stand on solid theoretical foundations,” which leads the author to advise: “Thou shall apply media theories.”
Nwakanma states, “Media segmentation is a central theme in the literature on integrated marketing communications.”
The Media Relations Playbook teaches the lesson that “Monitoring has become even more critical in the age of fake news, multiple platforms, and algorithms.” Monitor! Monitor! Monitor!
The importance of building relationships cannot be gained in profitable modern-day media relations.
Like Noah in the Bible, one must build the ark before the unleashing of the storm.
The need to budget appropriately and effectively cannot be over-emphasized, as Nwakanma avers: “The budget makes or breaks the deal.”
It is essential to “note that charges apply to dealing with the broadcast media,” which Nwakanma illustrates with the experience of the public relations agency Blueflower Limited over the “commercial news” issue in broadcast news in Nigeria.
Even as Nwakanma knows that “the exchange of cash is a principal narrative and impression of media relations in Nigeria and most of Africa,” he boldly advises that one must “be ethical for long-term benefits, despite the environment.”
Evaluation is critical in Nwakanma’s Media Relations Playbook, and “the most crucial evaluation is the one the clients do.”
Nwakanma argues that the industry has gone beyond the traditional 4Ps of marketing—product, Place, Price, and Promotion—hence, the astute practitioner should “recognise that media are only part of the total communication mix” and include other elements such as Word of Mouth.
The standing advice is to “handle rejoinders with tact and focus on the big picture.” Nwakanma illustrates the rejoinder matter by publishing the article entitled “Arik Air is a Disaster waiting to Happen” by RO Isenalumhe Esq that gets a rejoinder entitled “Press Statement: Arik Air Operations Safe” by Captain Roy Ilegbodu, the Chief Executive Officer of Arik.
Nwakanma also publishes the opinion piece entitled “The Asaba Disgrace” by Reuben Abati on the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships hosted by Delta State, which attracts two rejoinders entitled “The Joy and Thrills of Asaba 2018” and “Take Two of the Joys and Thrills of Asaba 2018” by Jackson Ekwugum, the Manager of Communications at Government House, Asaba.
Remarkably, Nwakanma re-publishes his rejoinder to Reuben Abati’s article “The Jonathan They Do Not Know,” in which he juxtaposes the world of difference between Abati’s role as a newspaper columnist and his role as a PR strategist for President Jonathan.
In the final lessons of Nwakanma’s Media Relations Playbook, the advice is to follow through on promises, note that communication is a cultural phenomenon, seek and get consideration, know that the platform and the exposure belong to the principal or client, and finally practice direction on media relations by industry pros.
The five case studies in media relations management included in the media Relations Playbook are written by Dr. Emeka Agbayi of Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), Funsho Aina of MTN, Temitope Oguntokun of International Breweries Plc., Erhumu Bayagbon of AIRTEL, and Daniel Okereke of American University of Nigeria (AUN).
Chido B. Nwakanma has written a watershed book in Media Relations Playbook: 25 Proven Effective Hacks and I can go no further than agree with the words of the PR guru Mike Okereke, penned in the Foreword: “I can confirm that the Media Relations Playbook is the best book on Media With practice published in Africa and is one of the best around the globe.”

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ENTERTAINMENT

Fussion: An Emissary Goes Home (TRIBUTE)

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Late Fussion, a member of the Apostles Group

By Godwin Adindu*

It was at Akpu Rd, in a compound overlooking the popular Girls High School Aba, of the present Abia State that Fussion charmed me into a passion for rock music. Poor impressionable boy! I almost took to raps because I associated it with transcendental inspiration.

He would stand at the edge of a long chair, holding a burning piece of paper in his hand. He drew smoke from the rap, gaggled it in his mouth, and allowed it to percolate through his head’s nerves, tears streaming down his cheeks. Then he would gently place the rap on a couch and watch the smoke curl around and dissipate into the atmosphere. It was like a ritual. One would think there was something esoteric about the rap because he would suddenly jump into a burst of energy, elevating his entire body to a higher level.

Fussion would grab the microphone, his creamed afro hair hiding half of his eyes. Barry was already on the drum set, his two legs kicking, his two hands flogging, and his chest gyrating to the beats he was creating from the sets in front of him. The guitarists were flinging the bars, while the keyboardist had already been transported to an unknown world.

It was fascinating to watch The Apostles Rock Group perform their rehearsals. They never drove us away. We would look out the window, the smoke from the raps clogging our lungs.

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Then Fussion would sing a code that would bring the entire studio to a halt before quickly switching to a tenor voice that would re-energise the band. That seemed like a prelude. It was typically old-school music. Then he would move from the material to the elemental realm, seeing things you can not see, hearing voices you can not hear, and singing with extraordinary inspiration. He was expressing the paradoxes of life using primordial idioms that conveyed wisdom and truth. This was in the early 1980s, and as a teenage schoolboy at the nearby Wilcox Memorial, the Apostles Group became my heroes.

Looking at Fussion on stage, nodding his head, hitting the air, and kicking at nothing as he meanders his voice through extremely difficult chords, I saw a spirit in human form. I saw a supernatural emissary carrying a light and communicating a universal message of truth across time and generations. Odighi whe aka nrichala ya ato lo onu. (There is nothing the hand will eat and become stuck in the mouth.)

It is so sad that this emissary has completed his circle and returned home.
Fussion, there is a fire at Ekeoha. I have always borrowed from you to tell my brothers, “Nmeregiri bu ogu.” I will miss you.
Bye.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Diddy Apologises For Cassie Assault, Says ‘I Hit Rock Bottom’

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Sean “Diddy” Combs has apologised in a social media video for violently beating his then-girlfriend Cassie Ventura in 2016.

In an Instagram video, Diddy admitted to being fucked up and apologised for it.

“I mean, I have hit rock bottom. I make no excuses. My behaviour in that video is inexcusable. “I fully accept responsibility for my actions in that video.”

The music mogul claimed the incident prompted him to seek professional help, such as therapy and rehabilitation, and that he was “committed to being a better man every day.”

“I am not seeking forgiveness,” he said. “I am truly sorry.”

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Diddy’s Instagram post came two days after CNN released a harrowing video of the star repeatedly stomping Ventura as she attempted to flee their Los Angeles hotel room in 2016. The CCTV footage showed Diddy dragging her motionless body back into their room with her leg.

The footage sparked widespread condemnation, including from Ventura’s husband and Diddy’s rival 50 Cent. It may have prompted Diddy to close his fashion line’s website. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office found the video “extremely disturbing and difficult to watch,” but could not charge him due to expired statutes of limitations on aggravated assault.

Meredith Firetog, a partner at Wigdor LLP and Ventura’s attorney, criticised Diddy’s apology as “more about himself than the many people he has hurt.”

“When Cassie and other women came forward, he denied everything and claimed that his victims were looking for a payday,” Firetog wrote. “That he was only forced to ‘apologise’ after his repeated denials were proven false demonstrates his pathetic desperation, and no one will be persuaded by his deceptive words.”

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ENTERTAINMENT

Police Explain Why Portable Was Manhandled And Arrested

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The Lagos State Police Command said it apprehended the well-known musician Habeeb Okikiola, also known as Portable, on Tuesday for failing to pay off a debt incurred from the purchase of a G-Wagon from a local car seller in the state.

Portable is accused of possessing a vehicle worth N27 million after paying only N13 million and failing to pay the remaining balance of N14 million.

Benjamin Hundeyin, the State Police Public Relations Officer, confirmed that Portable was apprehended.

“Yes, Portable was arrested. He purchased a G-Wagon for N27 million, paid N13 million, and refused to pay the balance, claiming the vehicle was defective. “We arrested him today,” he explained.

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