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Mike Awoyinfa

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Mike Awoyinfa
File:Mike Awoyinfa and His Book 50 World Editors, close shot.jpg Mike Awoyinfa and His Book 50 World Editors, close shot.jpg
Awoyinfa preparing for the release of his book, July 2015
BornMichael Ajibola Tiamiyu Awoyinfa
(1952-07-23) July 23, 1952 (age 68)
Tarkwa, Western Region, Ghana
🏳️ NationalityNigerian
🎓 Alma materUniversity of Lagos
💼 Occupation
Journalist, editor, author, publisher
Notable credit(s)Weekend Concord
The Sun (Nigeria)
👩 Spouse(s)Olubukola
👶 ChildrenBabajide, Taiwo, Kehinde

Mike Awoyinfa (born 23 July 1952) is a Nigerian journalist and writer. the editor of Weekend Concord from 1989 to 1999, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Sun (Nigeria) from 2003 to 2010. Renowned for his human interest approach to reporting, he is frequently regarded as the father of tabloid journalism in Nigeria.

In 2011, he founded Entertainment Express. With Dimgba Igwe, his friend and writing partner, he has written various books on business and journalism, with 50 World Editors: Conversation With Journalism Masters on Trends and Best Practices (2015) receiving particular acclaim. Since his abrupt retirement from The Sun, he spends more time writing new books. He remains a director at The Sun.

Early Life[edit]

Mike Awoyinfa was born on 23 July 1952 at Tarkwa in the Western Region of Ghana to Nigerian parents e. He grew under the tutelage of his uncle Isaiah Fadeyibi, a schoolteacher at Methodist school in Aboso.[1] He attended Anglican Primary School, Tarkwa, and Methodist School, Aboso, followe dby Anglican Middle School, Prestea. He began his secondary education in 1965 at Sekondi College and later attended Axim Secondary School.

After his school certificate, he relocated to Nigeria in 1969 following the Alien Compliance Order by the government of President Kofi Abrefa Busia which triggered the exodus of other nationals from Ghana. That gave him the opportunity to visit for the first time his country Nigeria and his hometown of Ijebu-jesha, in Osun State. He continued his education at Ijebu-jesha Grammar School, passed his Higher School Certificate Examinations, and went on to study Mass Communication at the University of Lagos in 1973. He graduated in 1977 majoring in broadcasting, and subsequently went for his one-year national youth service in the north central city of Jos.

Early Career[edit]

Sunday Concord[edit]

He began his career as a reporter for News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after his national service. A year and half later in 1979, Awoyinfa joined the newly established Concord Newspaper owned by business mogul and politician, Moshood Abiola. At the time, Concord paraded the cream of Nigerian journalism professionals including Dele Giwa who was assassinated by mail bomb on 19 October 1986. Giwa was Awoyinfa's editor at Sunday Concord and an influential figure on his career.

At first Concord's chief correspondent for the north central state of Kaduna, Awoyinfa distinguished himself by his outstanding features. His feature-writing skill drew the attention of Dele Giwa who created the 'Reporter's Notebook' column specifically for his weekly human angle reportage about his personal encounters in the northern part of Nigeria.[2] Giwa eventually influenced Awoyinfa's transfer to Lagos in 1984 and he promoted him to Concord's house editor to work directly with him.[3] Giwa left Concord to establish Newswatch magazine in 1985. Awoyinfa subsequently went to Britain on a Harry Brighton Fellowship of the Commonwealth Press Union for a three-month training at the Sunday Sun at Newcastle Upon Tyne. At Sunday Sun, Awoyinfa was impressed by the British tabloid. While in Britain, his reports appeared in the Concord under the column 'Awoyinfa in Britain'. Upon his return from Britain, he became Concord's features editor.

Weekend Concord[edit]

Mike Awoyinfa's style of human interest features was noticed by the managing director of Concord, Dr. Doyin Abiola who was planning to start a Saturday newspaper. At the time, a Saturday paper was a novelty in the country. Abiola commissioned Awoyinfa to design a template and subsequently gave him approval to begin Weekend Concord. With a handful of young writers selected from the Concord stable including Dimgba Igwe, who became his deputy, Dele Momodu,Femi Adesina,and Eric Osagie, Awoyinfa pioneered the "first Nigerian Saturday newspaper" [2] in March 1989. Weekend Concord, which was premised on features and the human interest model,is regarded as one of the most successful newspapers in Nigeria's media history. On 28 December, 1999, after 10 years as editor of Weekend Concord, Mike Awoyinfa was promoted National Concord's editor-at-large and his deputy, Igwe promoted to the editorial board of Weekend Concord.[4] The pair subsequently left Concord.

The Sun Newspapers[edit]

In 2003, approached by Orji Uzor Kalu, a business man and governor of Abia State who was keen to found a newspaper, Mike Awoyinfa and Dimgba Igwe took on the task of establishing a newspaper in the tabloid tradition they had practiced successfully in the past.[5] The pair set up The Sun Publishing Limited with Awoyinfa as managing director and editor-in-chief and Igwe as his deputy. They founded The Sun Newspaper on 18 January 2003. After six months as a weekly, The Sun went daily on 16 June 2003.[6] Awoyinfa's column, Press Clips, which he began writing at Weekend Concord, appears on the back page of Saturday Sun. In January 2010, Awoyinfa and his deputy, Igwe were abruptly retired.[7]

Entertainment Express[edit]

In 2011, Awoyinfa and Igwe started Entertainment Express, a weekly entertainment newspaper, which debuted on 1 July, 2011.[8] Awoyinfa who was designated the publisher wrote the paper's back page column, Rolling Stone. Five months later, another titled,Sunday Express was added. Publication of Entertainment Express and Sunday Express was suspended in December 2014, three months after the sudden tragic death of Dimgba Igwe who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Entertainment Express subsequently went online as expressng.com.[9]

Book Publishing Career[edit]

Mike Awoyinfa and Dimgba Igwe wrote their first book, The Art of Feature Writing For Newspapers and Magazines in 1991 while they were editors at Weekend Concord. The book is widely used as a journalism text in higher institutions in Nigeria. They wrote 50 Nigeria's Corporate Strategists in 1999 which turned out to be a business bestseller, and the 2001 biography Orji Kalu: Leadership Lessons From Master Strategists. They published Marketing Memoirs: 50 Case Studies in 2005. These publications appeared under MCDEE Books.

After leaving The Sun, the duo set up Corporate Biographers Limited and devoted their time to full-time writing and publishing. In 2012, another biography Segun Osoba: The Newspaper Years was released. A publicized biography on Mike Adenuga, Nigeria's oil and telecommunications tycoon was withdrawn. On 15 September 2015, 50 World Editors: Conversation With Journalism Masters on Trends And Best Practices was released to commemorate the one year memorial of Igwe who had been killed on the morning of 6 September 2014 while jogging.

Writing Style[edit]

Mike Awoyinfa is regarded as one of the outstanding feature writers in Nigeria,[10] the person who changed the face of feature writing in Nigeria. Renowned for his human interest approach to his newspaper writing, he is often credited by his peers and proteges variously as the "master of human angle stories" [11] and father of tabloid journalism in Nigeria. [12] [13] Those he mentored usually refer to themselves as "members of Mike Awoyinfa School of Journalism"[14] in acknowledgment of his role in instituting the human interest type of journalism in Nigeria.[15]

Awoyinfa writes in simple, easy to read English made up of short, sharp sentences that are at times poetical and conversational.[16] In newspaper writing, he "avoids the stiff and analytical in favour of the soft populist issues which he skillfully and deceptively weaves around powerful imageries and symbols that stir deep imagination at a dimension far stronger than logic." [17] He is also regarded as an exceptional headline caster in the traditional tabloid style.[17] [18]While his column has been described as socio-political, [19] Awoyinfa frequently writes on any issues. He says "column writing is what motivated me to come into journalism in the first place."[20]

In the books he co-authored with Igwe, they favoured the first person narrative approach, a style that is dominant in three of their books.

Family and Personal Life[edit]

Mike Awoyinfa lives in Lagos with his wife Olubukola. They have three sons. Awoyinfa i remains a director at The Sun.

References[edit]

  1. Awoyinfa, Mike. "Pa Isaiah Lee Fadeyibi:The Man Who Moulded Me". expressng.com. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Momodu, Dele. "For Awoyinfa, My Boss, Teacher At 60". allafrica.com. Thisday. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  3. Awoyinfa, Mike (9 August 2014). "Odukomaiya: The Man Who Gave Me My First Newspaper Job". Saturday Sun (Vol 11, No. 605). p. 71.
  4. Aina, Funsho. "Mike Awoyinfa And Two Other Veteran Journalists Quit Weekend Concord". allafrica.com. The News. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  5. Awoyinfa, Mike; Igwe, Dimgba (2015). 50 World Editors. Lagos: Corporate Biographers. p. xi. ISBN 978-978-932-896-3. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. "About Us". sunnewsonline.com. The Sun. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  7. "Change of Guards At The Sun". allafrica.com. Thisday. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  8. "Entertainment Express Kicks Off". pmnewsnigeria.com. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  9. "Why I Rested Entertainment Express". newsexpressngr.com. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  10. Ishiekwena; A (2005). "Feature Writing: Eye For Details, Passion for Facts". In Idowu, Lanre. Voices From Within: Essays On Nigerian Journalism in Honour of Sam Amuka-Pemu. Lagos: Diamond Publication. p. 28. ISBN 978-2938-28-9. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  11. Bilikisu, Hajiya. "How Are We Doing? Your Views Matter To Us". www.dailytrust.com.ng. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  12. https://citypeoplemag.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/celebrating-the-father-of-tabloid-journalism-60-%E2%80%A2how-mike-awoyinfa-changed-tabloid-journalism-practice/
  13. Abanobi, Chika (29 August 2015). "World 'Pen'-Staking Memoir: Awoyinfa Speaks on Journalism Book He and Dimgba Wrote". Saturday Sun (Vol 10, No. 3339). p. 36.
  14. Sokunbi, Wale (8 August 2012). "An Evening With Awoyinfa At 60". Daily Sun. p. 19.
  15. Haruna, Mohammed (16 September 2015). "People and Politics: A Legacy of 'Twin Brothers' of Nigerian Journalism". The Nation (Vol. 10, No. 3339).
  16. "For Awoyinfa, My Boss, Teacher At 60"
  17. 17.0 17.1 Igwe, Dimgba (24 July 2012). "Sideview: Awoyinfa, a Media Path Breaker At 60". Daily Sun (Vol 7, No. 2418).
  18. Adesina, Femi (20 July 2012). "Mike Awoyinfa: Our teacher Turns 60". Daily Sun. Vol. 7, No.2416. Lagos. p. 53.
  19. Idowu, Lanre (2009). Nigerian Columnists and their Art. Lagos: Diamond Publication. p. 220. ISBN 978-978-2938-55-8. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  20. Awoyinfa (2009). "ABC of Column Writing". In Idowu, Lanre. Nigerian Columnists and Their Art. Lagos: Diamond Publication. ISBN 978-978-2938-50-3. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png


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