Like teacher, like journalist


The teacher and journalist seemingly are two of a kind. They share a lot of things in common. Both are noble professions that play significant roles in development. The impact people significantly in very many ways. They are both opinion influencers and can help to shape society in any direction. The journalist and the teacher are involved in intellectual tasks that task the mind. They do a lot of reading and writing.
The teacher reads so much or is supposed to do so to update himself to be able to impact his students effectively and ditto for the journalist who is supposed to be on top of his job so that he can be abreast of developments in his environment and the global space. It affords him the opportunity to know what to bring to the attention of the people.
Back in the day’s teachers and journalists were highly revered. They commanded a lot of respect and honour wherever they were found. People deferred to them and sought advice and opinion on critical issues affecting them. At any level then teachers were celebrated. It is the same way with journalists who everybody points to and roots for whenever he gets across. People dreaded journalists for fear of what they will write which may not be known to you.
In my growing up days, it was a delight to watch some renowned journalist whom we watch or read about in the media. Listening to Agwu Nwogo in football commentary I looked up to the day I would meet him physically. That was the days when visual communication has not developed to the extent it is as at present. I also recall how teachers in my community were so revered that it is considered a thing of honour for one to visit you. They are believed to know so much.
All of that has since changed. Teachers and journalists have become so communized by the society that they are not worth anything anymore. This remains the fact even when they are still playing critical roles for society. Can you imagine a society without teachers? Can you also imagine a society without information? How would it appear if both groups of professionals withdraw their services?
On a scale practitioner in both professions are not valued. They are used and dumped. Some are even told to expect their rewards in heaven while others take their own here on earth. Can you imagine the rate at which the teacher and the journalist are insulted and assaulted as well? Stories abound of parents descending and maltreating teachers on account of disciplining their children. Countless times journalists have been flogged, harassed, hounded, and locked up for writing stories the accusers may find unpleasant or embarrassing to their position.
In terms of reward for jobs, it is terrible. Many journalists are not paid and where they are paid the amount is so awful you will wonder why they are taking all the risks. It is the same with the teachers. Even those officially employed by the government have never ceased lamenting. The highest-paid person in the teaching profession at the tertiary level is the professor whose salary is pegged at 500k. This is a mockery compared to the volume of work he is confronted with.
What is this salary compared to what bank workers, oil and gas workers, legislators, and telecom workers and other private-sector workers earn as income? The politicians after 4 or 8 years of service are rewarded with huge sums that the professors would never earn in all his career period put together. In some schools at the lower level, it is much worse. Teachers in some cases earn peanuts as low as 10k per month, especially in private schools.
At the end of their career, their terminal benefits of pension and gratuity are hardly paid as is the experience in most states of the federation yet politicians who disengage after few years get their dues regularly. Except those in the public service, there is nothing like pensions for the majority of the publishers in the private sector.
It is consequent on this that most people in these professions who can no longer hold it begin to indulge in unwholesome professional conduct. This is the reason you hear of brown envelope journalists. We also hear about sorting and money for the show of handwork. There are other ways the system is manipulated to create a survival strategy for the operators. These are downsides of the people who preach integrity and act as watchdogs to society. They are arm twisted by circumstances to exhibit negative conduct. This is not an excuse though.
One other similarity both professions enjoy is that they are poorly regulated unlike the other professions like medicine, law, banking etc. There are openings for people to gate crash to claim membership of the profession. Many people who can read and write do easily gate crash into the profession claiming what they are not. Many teachers especially most of those in the private sector are not trained.
It is not different from journalism where untrained hands hijack the practice in many places such as Imo where the profession is bastardized and journalists are looked at as hungry and beggarly press boys. That is not far from the truth because in the heat of survival some of the press boys descend so low and compromise the ethics of the job just to scratch out a living. It is so sad. Many Nigerian graduates in like manner for lack of jobs have abandoned what they studied to become emergency teachers.
What they call regulation is anything but regulation. The Nigerian Union of Journalists acts as both a regulatory/professional group as well as a trade union. It is yet to strongly get its acts together and win a standardized salary scale for its members. This was the case of the Nigerian Union of Teachers before they had the regulatory arm of the Teachers Registration Council.
These two professions have done so much for the country and should be appropriately rewarded. Everybody goes through a teacher and needs a journalist to entertain, enlighten.


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