In the heart of Nigeria’s Niger-Delta region, a unique media platform has established itself as a powerful advocate for the voiceless, a champion of untold stories, and a beacon of hope for the community it has served for eight years.
GbaramatuVoice International, led by its Publisher and CEO, Jacob Brakere Abai, has embarked on a remarkable journey to inform, empower, and engage the people of the Niger-Delta.
In this exclusive interview, we explore the evolution of GbaramatuVoice, its mission in a constantly shifting media landscape, and its profound impact on the region. From environmental initiatives that ignited a movement to discussions on the indispensable role of local media in community development, we delve into the essence of a platform that tirelessly advocates for the underrepresented.
Join us as Jacob Brakere Abai shares his insights, experiences, and aspirations for GbaramatuVoice—a vital catalyst for positive change in the Niger Delta.
Can you tell us about the journey of GbaramatuVoice and its mission in the media landscape?
Jacob Brakere Abai: GbaramatuVoice embarked on its journey with the vision to fill a significant void in the media landscape. It aimed to be the voice of the voiceless, a platform where the unique stories of the Niger-Delta region would be heard. Over the years, it has grown to become a trusted source of information, fulfilling its mission to inform, inspire, and engage the community.
As a publisher, what inspired you to create GbaramatuVoice, and how has the platform evolved since its inception?
Jacob Brakere Abai: The inspiration for GbaramatuVoice came from the desire to provide a platform for the underrepresented communities of the Niger-Delta. It began as a humble print publication but quickly transitioned into the digital age to meet the changing media landscape. Today, it stands as a vibrant online platform that continues to evolve to better serve the community.
GbaramatuVoice focuses on various aspects of life in the Niger-Delta region. Could you shed light on the key issues and stories that the platform prioritizes?
Jacob Brakere Abai: At GbaramatuVoice, our priority is to shine a light on issues that matter most to the Niger-Delta region. This includes community development, environmental sustainability, human rights, business, and cultural preservation. We believe that by highlighting these issues, we empower and advocate for positive change.
How does GbaramatuVoice adapt to the changing media landscape and audience preferences in the digital age?
Jacob Brakere Abai: Adapting to the digital age is paramount for us. We’ve embraced new technologies, ventured into social media engagement, and diversified into multimedia content. Moreover, our readers’ feedback guides our content strategy, ensuring we remain relevant and appealing.
In your experience, what role does local media play in shaping communities and addressing their unique concerns and aspirations?
Jacob Brakere Abai: Local media is the heartbeat of communities. It reflects their lives, issues, and dreams. It plays a critical role in community development by bringing attention to matters that might otherwise be ignored. It’s a megaphone for the community’s unique concerns and aspirations.
Can you share some memorable stories or highlights that GbaramatuVoice has covered, which have had a significant impact or resonance within the region?
Jacob Brakere Abai: One story that stands out is our coverage of an oil spill that got the attention of the international community and media, a local environmental initiative that rallied the community to combat pollution. The resonance was astounding, inspiring other communities to take similar action. This demonstrated the impact media can have in sparking positive change. And bringing so many dilapidated school buildings to the public that got the government’s attention and led to action being taken.
Media platforms often have a social and community responsibility. How does GbaramatuVoice engage in community development and advocacy?
Jacob Brakere Abai: Our involvement in community development includes participating in local initiatives, offering a platform for voices advocating change, and collaborating with organizations committed to community betterment. We believe our responsibility is to raise awareness and support community-led projects, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, we provided assistance to local riverine people and flood victims by distributing food to those in need. Additionally, we are proud to operate the GbaramatuVoice Media Foundation, where we offer free training to young media practitioners. Our commitment also extends to advocating for girl education and development, ensuring that our reach has a positive impact on the communities we serve.
GbaramatuVoice’s tagline is “Giving Voice to the Voiceless.” How does the platform ensure it lives up to this commitment?
Jacob Brakere Abai: We ensure this commitment through active efforts to seek out untold stories, amplify marginalized voices, and highlight often-overlooked issues. Upholding truth in reporting is our core principle, ensuring that the voiceless are heard.
Could you tell us about the challenges and opportunities you’ve encountered in running a media platform that serves a specific region, especially one with unique cultural and societal dynamics?
Jacob Brakere Abai: Running a region-specific media platform comes with challenges, including resource constraints and navigating complex local dynamics. However, the opportunity lies in building trust within the community, having a profound impact, and being deeply connected to the region’s unique identity.
GbaramatuVoice covers various aspects of life, including business, culture, and human interest. Can you share your perspective on the role of media in preserving and promoting local culture and traditions?
Jacob Brakere Abai: Media is a guardian of culture, preserving it by showcasing traditions, arts, and stories unique to the region. It ensures that cultural heritage is passed on to future generations, safeguarding the rich tapestry of the community.
As the Publisher/CEO, what are your long-term goals for GbaramatuVoice, and how do you envision its impact on the community and the region?
Jacob Brakere Abai: Our long-term goals for GbaramatuVoice include expanding our reach to bring more voices and stories to light. We aim to foster sustainable development by continuing to provide a platform for community issues and growth initiatives. Our vision is to be a catalyst for change, supporting the community’s resilience and prosperity. As we evolve, we hope to be a trusted resource that not only informs but also empowers the Niger-Delta region.
In the ever-changing digital media landscape, how does GbaramatuVoice adapt to emerging technologies and trends to remain relevant and engaging?
Jacob Brakere Abai: To remain relevant and engaging, we are proactive in embracing emerging technologies. We’ve ventured into multimedia content, including video and podcasting, to cater to evolving audience preferences. Staying informed about new media trends and being agile in adopting them allows us to continue delivering content that resonates with our readers and viewers.
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