Newswatch Communications Limited has been in business for more than 30 years in Nigeria, and is Nigeria’s leading magazine brand. With seven regional offices in Nigeria and international offices in Accra, Dubai, Sao Tome & Principe and London, it publishes a monthly magazine focused on development, governmental affairs, and business. Its flagship publication, Newswatch Magazine, is a monthly with between 120 and 200 pages, while its online version is kept constantly up to date with breaking news and timely interviews and opinion. According to their website, Newswatch has as its vision “to be the most respected news and development information magazine in Africa” with a mission “to transform the society positively through ethics-based journalism.” The staying power of the business has been based on quality and continuous improvement in operations and standards.
The Guardian Identifies Problems in African Reporting from Outsiders
In a wide ranging article, The Guardian online published a critique of the kind of reporting done by many news organizations outside of Africa when reporting on African issues. The primary problem is one of perspective. The magazine quotes John Humphrys’ admonition that "You can't come here with European eyes." It is a statement made necessary by many decades’ worth of reporting that treated Africa as a stereotype, a place with no history and no future. And while outside journalists have generally done a good job in getting Africa right in recent years, mostly by hiring African reporters and even moving them to foreign desks, they still have very few people in positions of authority. The result is that Africa does not get priority in foreign news services, or it doesn’t have an advocate high enough up the editorial food chain to identify prejudices or mistaken assumptions before they get published.
One frustrating set of circumstances is that Africa is routinely ignored by European, Asian and American journalists until a disaster strikes, then the drama of the situation gives rise to extracontextual reporting that puts the emphasis in all the wrong places. As the Guardian points out, countries tend to be “discovered,” reported on by non-specialists who begin not at the beginning but in the middle, then disappear before the consequences are fully understood. The result is that the story, if reported at all, is inevitably sensationalized and does not benefit from the normal storytelling technique of buildup, climax, denouement and conclusion. Just climax, mostly violent, and filled with cartoonish characterizations, the inevitable result of inadequate preparation.
Newswatch Provides Local Perspective and Local Expertise
Few news magazines in Africa have been around as long as Newswatch, and over that time its quality reporting has won numerous local and international awards, including the 2015 Nigeria Media Merit Award, the continent’s foremost media award for excellence and trust. Newswatch’s Tunde-Niyi Akinmade won the UBA Prize for Money Market Reporter of the Year with his story, “Looming global recession,” and Bayo Amodu won the Union Bank Prize for Banking and Finance Reporter of the Year for his story, “The Banks that Fleeced their Customers.”
Of course, hard hitting journalism, the willingness to speak truth to power, the dedication to provide its readers with news and opinion that they can’t get anywhere else -- this is nothing new for Newswatch. Founded in 1985 by a group of Nigerian journalists who were determined to change the format of print journalism in Nigeria, the magazine has spent 30 years doing just that. The magazine frequently reports on the workings of government, does analyses of higher education, explains the intricacies of social issues, exposes crime and corruption, and features interviews with the most important people in business, government, fashion and art. Newswatch has a local perspective on happenings in Nigeria, West Africa and abroad that simply can’t be found anywhere else. And with offices in four other countries, the magazine is particularly well placed to bring a broad perspective to the stories it publishes.
In this respect, Newswatch competes in the big leagues, and competes very well. Huge multinational organizations like Reuters, Agence France Press, Al Jazeera, Associated Press, and the BBC all have a significant presence in Africa, but can´t provide the local perspective of the journalists at Newswatch.
Quality at Newswatch has been Brought to other Newsrooms
The influence of Newswatch in Nigeria and in Africa has been profound. Many of its former writers and editors now occupy prominent positions in other news media, and have even founded their own publications. Newswatch stays constantly abreast of new technology and demands that its journalists maintain the highest level of ethics and professionalism, providing more thorough reporting than that which is available in newspapers, radio and television. Their people are particularly well prepared to take on challenges wherever they may present themselves.
In addition to running a top level magazine, Newswatch Communications also has a book publishing subsidiary, which produces material as diverse as brochures, fiction, non-fiction, biography, textbooks, and other specialized publications. Through another subsidiary, Newswatch professionals are available to clients for media management. It turns out that quality research and writing are valued in many fields, making Newswatch more than just a news organization. It is a rather complete communications firm which relies upon quality and continuous improvement to deliver a product that make its readers and stakeholders proud.
Because of its commitment to continuous quality improvement, Newswatch Communications has been selected to receive the BID International Star Award for Quality for 2015 at the convention in Geneva.
About BID and the International Star Award for Quality:
BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries.
The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level.
Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.