Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare’s Full Speech At One-day Seminar of FCT SWAN At The MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja
By Niyi Busari
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Sunday Dare felt honoured to be invited to speak to journalists at a one-day seminar organised by the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) FCT Chapter.
The speech reads in full:
“Greetings to the Chairman of the Abuja Chapter of the Sports Writers Association and the entire members on this momentous occasion of the celebration of your week. I congratulate all of you. Let me also state clearly that I feel greatly honoured to be invited to speak on the occasion of your Annual SWAN Week.
“I am equally excited to be in the midst of my esteemed colleagues and friends, who have been most supportive of my vision for Youth and Sports Development since I assumed office as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria just over a year ago. Your unflinching support has indeed been simply unprecedented. Thank you so much for being worthy partners in our trajectory of repositioning the youth and sports sectors of our dear nation.
“Undoubtedly, this is a conglomeration of the best sports writers in our country as this chapter remains at the forefront of promoting our athletes as well as general sports development over the years. Sports writers play a pivotal and critical role in sports development of our great country. Without sports writers, athletes, administrators and the fans would simply be groping in the dark. There is a symbiotic relationship between the sports writers, the sports men and all the components that make sports exciting.
“Historically sports played a dominant and strategic role in our social, political development over the years. So, as we have our sports greats, we also have our great sports writers. I therefore salute the pioneering and visionary role of early sports writers like Pa Thomas who was the First National President of SWAN, Pa Segun Adenuga, Ayo Obe, SB Babatunde Oshuntolu, Deacon Ayo Ositelu, Ernest Okonkwo, Danladi Bako, Fabio Lanipekun among others. Their sacrifices and commitment brought panache and style to sports reporting and motivated the younger generation to take to the field of sports reporting as a specialised area.
“The sports reporting profession that started with few members has grown in leaps and bound, but also faced with imminent challenges of a modern world that has turned the world into a global village.
Unlike in the beginning when sports journalists had only few medium of expression such as radio, news papers , telegraph, telephones and television as tools, technology has not only rendered some of these tools limited, but archaic and sometimes infective. With the advent of satelite television, matches and sporting events are now taken live into millions of homes, with the internet, matches are streamed live via the internet, people can monitor matches using personal devices, hard copy news papers are fast losing readership as people prefer to read on line.
“While new opportunities are being created for the technology savvy journalists, those who cannot upgrade themselves are losing income and relevance. While new technology powered medium are springing up, thousands of jobs are being lost in the mainstream traditional media, salaries are owed and some are also closing shop due to the rampaging effect of the new media.
The social media has turned everyone into not just a news reporter , but social media influencers and analyst.
This has made the conventional, stereotype and conservative sports writer an endangered specie. The modern day sports journalists must either re-invent in themselves or be consumed by the power of the new order. As the world is changing, the role of sports writer has become more cumbersome as they are challenged to write beyond who said what or who won what.
With technological advancement, sports reporting has become more sophisticated, exciting but also with attendant cost and challenges . But it has also created diverse opportunities which every sports writer worthy of his calling must avail himself/ herself of.
“The recent re-classification of sports from mere recreation to business would create ample opportunities for the Athletes, critical stakeholders and the sports writers. There are more job opportunities and diverse streams of incomes which the sports writers must avail themselves. The implementation of the Sports Industry Policy would have ripple effects on sports writers. Sports Writers now use various medium like blogs, digital radio, television and on line for reportage.
“The new new breed Sports Writers must diversify, be creative, innovative, committed with an eye for news and stories that excites beyond the ordinary.
The new breed must have a niche for research where available opportunities can be accessed. Sports Writers must be well equipped with information that would ensure better source of living.
In the face of the emerging new media, the sport writer must be able to excite the fans and the public with new angles to every story. The innate passion and enthusiasm to excel must not wane. With the re classification of sports as business, the sports writer must undergo regular re-trainning to keep abreast of new trends and opportunities. Sports Writers must move away from old traditional system pf sticking to one job. Under the new order, they can freelance for radio, television, online, create blogs and online platforms to generate steady source of income. Sports Writers can work as radio, television pundits, contribute to online, live steam video of sporting events, contribute to clubs and Federation sites, consult for clubs, players and federation. They can equally work as press agents. They can serve as commentators, compere and analyst during sporting events.”