Osaremen Ehi James/Sensational Headlines: Going Out Of Journalism Ethics?
Story by Osaremen Ehi James/Nigeriafilms.com
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Photo Credit: Anne Landman/Prwatch

I finally decided to write about this issue just because of our precious and esteemed Nigeriafilms.com (NFC) readers, who I owe a lot. They have always watched my back. One thing I like about NFC readers is the fact they lambast you when necessary (even though they sometimes do when not necessary) and commend you when you do well. I doff my hat for you all (smiling in Edo).

While those who are not in the core journalism world have faulted or had problems with my 'controversial' headlines, those who know how the game is being run, I mean those I met in the 'soft-sell' journalism business, have continually patted my back for a job well done.

Contrary to what some people insinuate, I take an ample time whenever I cast my headlines. In fact, I spend more time on my headlines than the body of the story itself.

Like I do tell people, I divide myself into five whenever I am doing a story. First, I see myself as a writer, who wants to report an incident. Two, I take myself to be the readers who will read the piece. Three, I take myself to be that critic that would critique the story. Four, I take myself to be an Editor who will cross check has been written and lastly, I see myself as all of the above and the subject being written about.

Like in my university days when studying Mass Comm, I was taught that headlines sell stories. Many stories fight for attention from very stubborn and busy readers and if a certain headline fails to draw attention of the readers, who merely flip through, be rest assured that such story may never be read even though it contains an important message.

Asides casting an headline for attention purposes, journalists make sure headlines convey the message in the story. We also make sure that we don't get into trouble with our headlines.

Now, an example is my most recent on Omotola, 'I Am Not Afraid Of Rape'. With all due respect, many people didn't see the angle that headline was drawn from.

Note that Omotola was quoted to have said in the story that, "I don't think you have to run from anybody, nobody is going to come and rape you. So, it is not a life or death situation."

In that context, Omotola was definitely saying she can't be rape and so, there is no need for her to run from male admirers who come to her in droves.

So, if she means she can't run from men because they can't rape her, it can then be deduced that she isn't afraid of rape because she knows nobody will ever try to rape her.

It is just like saying, "I am not afraid of death," which simply means, "I know I cannot die until my appointed time, so, there is no point for me to be scared of death." It doesn't mean I won't die but that I pay less attention to death because I know I will die at my appointed time.

Also, my 'I am a witch'--Nollywood actress confesses' headline was drawn from the fact that it was established that an evil spirit allegedly confessed to have influenced the actress to do some certain things.

Now, if the actress does any wrong thing under the influence of the alleged evil spirit, I am very sure the law will not go after the evil spirit but the actress herself.

So, how was it wrong to have used the headline 'I am a witch--Nollywood actress confesses'? So far the spirit confessed through her, it can as well be deduced that the actress is held responsible for it. I do not intend to raise unnecessary issues here, but just to make some people see the angle journalists take their headlines from, especially myself.

I would have kept quiet about my sensational headlines, but I just felt I needed to make those who don't know how some of these things work, to be aware of them.

For those who feel that I want 'cheap' publicity, I believe they are ignorant of who I am. I am one of the few people who hate publicity for myself. I just want to do my job, nothing more. On most of social media platforms I am on, I hardly use my face as profile pictures.

And to those who feel I am a 'quack' journalist, I simply say they are entitled to their opinions. Aside being a blogger, I am a journalist with a print (soft-sell) background. I didn't just get into journalism for writing sake, this is what I have been doing as a child.

In all, journalism, especially soft-sell or print journalism, thrives with sensational or exaggerated headlines.

If a headline reads 'Turai 'slaps' Patience in court over land tussle', which simply means 'Turai wins in court over land tussle', I know Patience will not rant over such headline as a 'Jack of all trades, master of none' recently did.

Well, am I surprised? No, if such person could attack a respected and popular daily newspaper and instantly turned into an Editor, I leave the person with 'his' ignorance. But for the wonderful NFC readers, it is worthy to enlighten them on some of these issues.

No journalist, I mean, I can never put up a story for the sake of it. If the dons of the game can say, "James, we are very proud of you," I think those who have not crossed the corridors of journalism can't discourage me.

To those who still appreciate what I do, I say thank you. And for those who still doubt me, I appreciate you too because you are part of my work. I love people watching my back, it makes me stay alert always. I love you and God bless you all. Amen.

© 2013 Nigeriafilms.com

Click the link below to go to...

I Am Not Afraid Of Rape--Omotola

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Do you have a story/gist for publication? Please email it to story@nigeriafilms.com

Pretty | 5/16/2013 8:27:14 AM
Weldone keep up the good job you are doing
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lolo | 5/16/2013 1:14:29 PM |
Don't bother explaining urself we are behind u, don't mind SLY d monkey
MACHO | 5/16/2013 9:09:18 AM
I didn't see u make an instance with ur headline/report on Chioma Chukwuka Apkota's issue with (ur) Yemisi, I guess u got ur head straightened up after dozens of lambasting from us here on Nfc and did I hear u say u always see ur self as an editor of ur write ups ? Well u need to do some more work as ur write ups are always accompanied with grammatical errors (this very one not spared if u check very well). This ought not to be so, coming from a journalist.

It is good u have realised that we here at Nfc were almost getting fed-up with ur bias and victimising kind of reporting, thus this write up. We hope the change continues.

Yes, it's only natural for u to like some of our entertainers more than others but I advise u strike a balance b/w professionalism and likeness.

Lastly, I must commend u and the entire Nfc for ur efforts so far in bringing us news here but u can do better.
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WHO CARES | 5/16/2013 9:54:18 AM
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Me | 5/16/2013 12:26:04 PM
Jobless moron, poor ass, what is the meaning of this??? Don't worry, keep watching your back because you've stepped on so many untouchable toes and i'm very sure you know it's time you "GET WHACKED OUT"
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Mr perfect journalist
Celebrity | 5/16/2013 1:26:22 PM
Really if u claim to be a professional i dont think u shud ursef through d stress of writing dis story rather u could av used ur wasted effort to pen down anoda article,u claim to be a professional and so gets accolades from ur senior colleagues dat u claim to be dons.well james u av to make sure ur choice of headlines are corresponds with d body of d article.listen ,u are dealing with educated pple and pple dat knw der onion.if u knw ur onion u wud av developed a thick skin against d lambast of ur delectable readers just like u expect celebs to jandle issues.pls be corrected and take note
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mr journalist
ebere peters | 5/16/2013 3:16:03 PM
dear mr journalist yur headlines shuld be modified and well tailored wt d stories dat goes wt it, driving d point home and nt headline dat confuses d reader and paints a story different frm its headlines. Most headlines mispresent a story sending a different conception to readers. These headlines are sometimes assumptious while some are outrightly malicious and personality damaging.
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keep up d good job
vixen | 5/16/2013 4:39:22 PM
Ehi my Edo broda!! Keep up the good job bt pls ensure dt ur headlines corresponds with ur write up without bias and sentiments. Tanx n God bless...
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James has No ethics
Nkechi | 5/16/2013 11:26:52 PM
I am happy somebody final called this James person to order. If its by lawsuit I hope they win because his headline never tallies with the story and I have noticed he is very malicious with his headline and you can tell the people he doesn't like, he tries to damage their personality. About you reading mass comm, I find it hard to believe, maybe you bought your certificate. A journalist that cannot construct a proper English sentence should hide his head in shame. Also look at this writeup, you could not help but add sentiments and insults, journalist ethics require you to be objective. I wonder who the person you are insulting as jack of all trades is, because I can imagine what headline you will put when you write about such a person seeing as you obviously hate the person. At the end of the day, our opinions do not count, the one whose opinion counts is God, lets hope he is happy with all you have done to others.
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kemi | 5/18/2013 3:32:44 PM
I doubt this i***t knows a single thing about journalism. I wouldn't blame him. But for the proliferation of the new media, animals and imps like him won't come here writing some garbage and still refer themselves as journalists!
This man has no shame. If he is a man, then he is obviously a sissy. Because only guys who think like ladies write the kind of crap he does. I'm just annoyed. Its irritating, the kind of things I read on this site
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Concerned | 2/5/2014 3:58:30 AM
This Osaremen Ehi James, how did he ever become a journalist? And why do people even feature him or carry him on their blogs? His diction is HOPELESS. H o p e l e s s. His use of words; dismal. And the worst part is that the ugliness of his soul always reflects on his work. Always!
Such a biased, evil, hateful, and extremely jealous person.
Please to protect the image of journalist and journalism in Nigeria, Do Not Give This Man Exposure. And definitely, DO Not Let Him Lose Amongst Our Celebrities who he has repeatedly claimed he has no regards for; so it beats me why he chose a career around them.
Any blog or news website who features his very sick write ups would receive a boycott by me and as many people I can get to join me.Its time to do the right thing Nigerians and flush out the obvious opportunists who have no skill, expertise or love for what they do. Enough with mediocrity!
Journalists, either write objectively or set up a personal blog we can easily block off forever where you can bleed out your evil and bias; just so we dont get affronted by your vindictive and over personalised attacks on people you obviously are jealous of.
Thank you.
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