Journalists Blamed

Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo, General Manager of Newspapers of Graphic Communications Group Limited has partly blamed Sports Journalists for the subjugation and subservience of local football coaches in the country. He said the unprofessional style of most sports journalists in handling such issues has not helped matters of encouraging local coaches of putting their expertise at the disposal of their country. Mr Boadu-Ayeboafo, who is a former member of the National Media Commission, made this remarks at a lecture organized by the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) on Wednesday to mark this year's International Sports Journalists' Day in Accra. Speaking on the topic "Pitfalls in Sports Journalism and how to avoid them," he mentioned the shabby treatment of local football coaches as an area not being helped by the acquiescence of sports journalists. "Expatriate coaches earn so much. If the local coaches were to earn half of what the expatriates take, they would excel." He bemoaned the manner local coaches, most of whom are appointed without any contract, are hounded out of office on the eve of international competitions to be replaced by foreigners. "When they (foreigners) fail, they justifiably blame the short time at their disposal, but when the team succeeds, they claim the glory." Mr Boadu-Ayeboafo also criticized and described as conflict of interest, the practice where some sports journalists have not only aligned themselves to specific football clubs, but hold positions in these clubs, notably as Public Relations Officers. The General Manager also remarked about instances where Sports Journalists are known to serve as lobbyists for particular players or athletes and "thus do everything to get them on national teams, with the concomitant pay-offs. "That was how a former Black Stars coach had the temerity to make allegations that there were some sports journalists on his payroll. There were muted but unspirited rebuttals." Mr Boadu-Ayebaofo therefore urged the personnel to find the missing link and seek appropriate remedies in this modern era where sports is anchored on technical abilities, administrative structures and marketing. He also underscored the need for Sports Journalists to be open-minded, objective, accurate and fair in their work to achieve the ideals of informing, entertaining and educating the audience. Joe Aggrey, former Sports Editor, Graphic who spoke on the topic "The State of Sports Journalism in Ghana and the way forward" also advised Sports Journalists on the need to continuously educate themselves on and off the job as well as adopt modern methods to enhance their work. He warned against one-dimensional journalism and rather urged them to be interested in the coverage of other disciplines especially those tagged as the "lesser known sports." Mr Aggrey, one time Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Sports urged SWAG to organize refresher courses for journalists to educate themselves on the lapses in the discharge of their duties. The International Sports Journalists' Day which is celebrated globally each year on July 2 is aimed at highlighting the contribution of sports journalists to the development of sports in the World.