‘DIVIDER – IN – CHIEF’ —Eye-popping headlines | Ripples Nigeria
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‘DIVIDER – IN – CHIEF’ —Eye-popping headlines



Joseph Edgar

This was the screaming headline on Shaka Momodu’s last column published by Thisday last Thursday, a newspaper where he edits the very influential Sunday edition.

The headline was an attention grabber, one that pulls at you from the newsstand and doesn’t have to do much to make you stretch your hand to pick it up. So, it was no surprise that the Presidential spokesman followed up with his own very powerful headline – Hater in Chief.

Now, this my own write up really has nothing to do with the contents of both write ups because they both contain the same tiring diatribes that continue to assail our sensibilities as a people.

I would, however, want to look at the brilliance of the headlines and its effects on the dwindling influence of readership which in itself have led our newspapers to the dreary situation they have found themselves.

The other day, I ran into turbulence on my WhatsApp chat group after I had queried the influence of The Punch. This was during the controversy which erupted after the newspaper in their editorial said they would start calling the President by his last military moniker – Major General on the back of the Sowore’s debacle. The Presidency had come out firing and I wondered why they even bothered since the paper in my own estimation did not circulate more than an estimated 50,000 copies daily and as a result, I did not see its influence and should have been ignored.

I had quickly ran into a turbulence as my other members came back at me stating the online figures of said paper. I quickly kept quiet.

But then again, I want to aver in this write up that even though the gradual demise of the hard copy newspaper continues to be the baggage of the industry, sad and boring content also contribute its own little quota.

A cursory glance through most papers even the major ones will leave you almost in tears. They are filled with paid for content, sycophantic dribble and recycled opinions from those who have one agenda or the other bereft of any excitement.

The golden years of the newspaper is over. The powerfully written prose and the incisive and detailed reports that made people buy multiple papers making columnists cult figures are sadly gone.

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Today, its just yeo men that we parade as writers and junk journalists who have been poached by publishers to come and replicate the online magic warts and all, thereby killing quality and standards.

So, when articles like Shaka’s come out eliciting such powerful responses from appropriate quarters, I get really excited because you begin to feel that all is not lost. We still have some great minds in the system.

Shaka’s prose and headline was magic. It struck deep in the nether region of the target eliciting a knee jerk reaction aimed at a retaliatory punch to the groin failing to address the core issues addressed in the article.

Now, both articles have generated enough furore leading to more interest in the paper and much more importantly engendering further discussions and follow up commentaries like this one.

This is what we need in the industry. More of this please.

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