Just like that, we are eight. This week, TNN, the newspaper for the Niger Delta people, the newspaper that have reported Niger Delta to the world, turns eight. Exactly this time eight years ago, our debut edition hit the newsstands in Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
It has been challenging but very interesting in the last eight years. During this period, we have had good patronage, we have had moments when we had to undertake a reprint of certain editions midway, because there were increasing demands for copies. We have had people subscribe to our newspaper in hundred and at a time, we had subscriptions in thousands.
We have also had very terrible moments, days when we felt like folding up, days when we could not pay salaries because of harsh economy and very low patronage.
We have had moments of torture in the hands of newspaper distributors who would not make returns to us, despite pressure mounted on them. We had an issue with some distributors who ran away with our sales money till date.
We have had our high and low moments. In the last eight years, we have won several awards. In fact, there is hardly any year that we were never recognised and appreciated for our modest professional duties of newspaper publishing. The last award we got was just a few months ago.
When we started, we were determined to be the best, at least in the Niger Delta, from where we have been operating. We made up our mind to do what others were not doing. We made up our mind stand out from the crowd. This is what we have been doing and will continue to do.
People have acknowledged our print quality as the best. People have acknowledged the quality of our news reports as very outstanding. We take delight in publishing exclusive stories and we do so with a humble pride.
We have lost some staff in the course of the eight years. One of our very strong and dependable editorial staff died in a way that was shocking to all of us. It was a dark period for us. We have also lost some very good hands during the eight years, either because we couldn’t cope with their delivery or their expectations could not be met by us because of harsh economic realities.
We have seen newspapers come and we have seen them go. But we chose to stand, despite the oddities. Everybody who should know, are aware that the newspaper business is not a tea party at all. It takes a resilient team to remain in business under the current business climate.
A number of times, we have had to battle with people in the court. In eight years, we have had four court cases. Two of those cases were instituted by a serving state governor, but in all, we came out victorious.
Producing TNN every week has been as challenging as it has been traumatic. But the circumstances of the birth of TNN, perhaps, may have been responsible for our determination to keep on keeping on. For those who did not know, this is what happened: Sometime in September 2013, the publisher of TNN was involved in a near fatal accident with his wife, along the Ogoni road. His car was almost written off, but they both came out alive. While at the accident scene and waiting for help, he heard a voice that reminded him of the saying of the late American preacher, Dr Myles Munroe who had told him during an interview that ‘the cemetery is the richest place in the world.’ Before then, the publisher who had dreamt of floating a newspaper. He had scripted the plan but left it in the refrigerator, until that night, along the Ogoni road, when he remembered the dream. It was when he got home that he revisited the work plan for the newspaper and that was how the newspaper eventually debuted on November 13, 2013.
Today, that baby has grown and given birth to an online television called Goshen TV. As we mark the eight anniversary of the birth of TNN, we can only express appreciation to God for how far he has kept us. That we are still on the streets till today is an indication of the grace of God. We are grateful to all those who have ever bought a copy of TNN, either from the vendor or through subscription. We appreciate all those who have patronised us through adverts. We appreciate all those who have been praying for TNN, wishing us better days.
As we enter our new year, we can only promise more juicy, human angle stories that will make you want to continue buying and reading us. We will not fail in our initial promises to you: to practice and remain committed to responsible journalism.