Home / Arts & Entertainment / The last word on media relations, a review of Chido Nwakanma’s book By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
Chido Nwakanma

The last word on media relations, a review of Chido Nwakanma’s book By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

Cover of the book

Public relations as it concerns the media has received a much needed breakthrough in the just published book Media Relations Playbook: 25 Proven Effective Hacks by Chido B. Nwakanma.

Contemporary developments in media relations in Nigeria and much of Africa are explored with a mastery that compels attention.

The much sought-after media consultant and educator Chido B. Nwakanma has over the past nine years facilitated training sessions on Media Relations Management at professional forums and academe, and has distinguished himself as Adjunct Faculty at the esteemed School of Media & Communication, Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos.

It’s instructive that the National Universities Commission (NUC) has broken down Mass Communication into seven distinct domains with Public Relations as a stand-alone field.

Given that Media Relations is pivotal to Public Relations, Nwakanma’s Media Relations Playbook is indeed a timely game-changer as a quintessential guidebook.

Nwakanma is akin to an astute coach in American football that graduated from the field as a consummate quarterback who masterfully orchestrates the game armed with a classic playbook.

One cannot but learn from the guru who has 30 years cognate communication management experience and has served as President of both the International Association of Business Communication (IABC) Nigeria and Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN).

In this millennial age of multiform information platforms, the media can be said to be everywhere.

As at April 2023, Media Relations Playbook informs, Nigeria had 740 functional radio, television, and online broadcast stations, made up of 390 radio stations and 350 television stations, broadcasting in English, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Fulfude, Efik, Urhobo and well over 50 other languages.

Nigeria has over 100 national, regional, community and local print media publications, with the most popular newspapers being The Guardian, The Punch, Vanguard, ThisDay, The Nation, The Sun, Daily Trust, Leadership Daily Independent, Premium Times etc.

Digital media can be seen as all the rage today, and the ubiquitous social media cannot be done without, warts and all as per information, misinformation, disinformation and sundry whatnots.

Nwakanma’s Media Relations Playbook offers 25 seamless lessons, starting with being clear about objectives, audiences, and deliverables.

In media relations, it is fundamentally crucial to be clear about strategy, to wit, the plan of action to achieve a long-term aim.

Having a distinct media engagement plan specifies who, what, where, when, and how to do the necessary.

It is incumbent on the responsible practitioner to “tell your story” because “the goal of a media relations effort is usually to get the word out on behalf of your organisation or client.”

There is no escaping the necessity to write different versions of the story to reflect media types of the moment.

Nwakanma offers the advice of sticking to the positive in crisis and avoiding off-the-record comments that may spell disaster.

In critical media relations activity, one must be prepared to expect various responses, including the not so salutary.

Against the grain of sharing “in confidence” experiences, one should bear in mind not to say anything one would not like to be published.

A major lesson in doing the job, as espoused in Nwakanma’s Media Relations Playbook, is managing the diversity of platforms.

Nwakanma stresses that “media relations and communication as a whole stand on solid theoretical foundations,” which makes the author to advise thusly: “Thou shall apply media theories.”

According to Nwakanma, “Media segmentation is a central theme in the literature on integrated marketing communications.”

Media Relations Playbook puts forward the lesson: “Monitoring has become even more critical in the age of fake news, multiple platforms, and algorithms.” Monitor! Monitor! Monitor!

The importance of building relationships cannot be gainsaid in profitable modern-day media relations.

Like Noah in the Bible, one must build the ark before the unleashing of the storm.

The need to budget appropriately and effectively cannot be over-emphasized, as Nwakanma avers: “The budget makes or breaks the deal.”

It is of essence to “note that charges apply to dealing with the broadcast media” which Nwakanma illustrates with the experience of the public relations agency Blueflower Limited over the “commercial news” issue in broadcast news in Nigeria.

Even as Nwakanma knows that “the exchange of cash is a principal narrative and impression of media relations in Nigeria and most of Africa,” he makes bold to advise that one must “be ethical for long-term benefits, despite the environment.”

Evaluation is critical in Nwakanma’s Media Relations Playbook, and “the most crucial evaluation is the one the clients do.”

Nwakanma argues that the industry has gone beyond the traditional 4Ps of marketing, to wit, Product, Place, Price, and Promotion – hence the astute practitioner should perforce “recognize that media are only part of the total communication mix” and include other elements such as Word of Mouth.

The standing advice is to “handle rejoinders with tact and focus on the big picture.” Nwakanma illustrates the rejoinder matter by publishing the article entitled “Arik Air is a Disaster waiting to Happen” by RO Isenalumhe Esq that gets a rejoinder entitled “Press Statement: Arik Air Operations Safe” by Captain Roy Ilegbodu, the Chief Executive Officer of Arik.

Nwakanma also publishes the opinion piece entitled “The Asaba Disgrace” by Reuben Abati on the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships hosted by Delta State which attracts two rejoinders entitled “The Joy and Thrills of Asaba 2018” and “Take Two of the Joys and Thrills of Asaba 2018” by Jackson Ekwugum, the Manager of Communications at Government House, Asaba.

It is remarkable that Nwakanma re-publishes his rejoinder to Reuben Abati’s article entitled “The Jonathan They Do Not Know” in which he juxtaposes the world of difference between Abati as a newspaper columnist with his role as a PR strategist for President Jonathan.

In the final lessons of Nwakanma’s Media Relations Playbook, the advice is to follow through on promises, note that communication is a cultural phenomenon, seek and get a consideration, know that the platform and the exposure belong to the principal or client, and finally practice direction on media relations by industry pros.

The five case studies in media relations management included in Media Relations Playbook are written by Dr. Emeka Agbayi of Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), Funsho Aina of MTN, Temitope Oguntokun of International Breweries Plc., Erhumu Bayagbon of AIRTEL, and Daniel Okereke of American University of Nigeria (AUN).

Chido B. Nwakanma has in Media Relations Playbook: 25 Proven Effective Hacks written a watershed book, and I can go no further than agree with the words of the guru of PR Mike Okereke, penned in the Foreword thus: “I can confirm that the Media Relations Playbook is the best book on Media Relations practice published in Africa and is one of the best around the globe.”







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