By Ebubedike Akabuwa
October 1st, 2015 marks Nigeria’s 55th Independence Day anniversary. It also marks the first anniversary of Breaking Times, an online news medium that has proven itself as a dependable news source.
An increasing number of Nigerians now get their news from the Internet, especially from social media channels. There are a number of news outlets providing stories instantaneously as they break or leak or are cooked up – which ever applies. Therein lies the challenge, actually: Social media is so democratized that it is accessible to every shade of opinion. Such openness means that credible information as well as the most malicious fabrications have found their way into the heads and hearts of a constantly growing audience. And since social media is mostly unregulated, all sorts of bizarre ‘news’, especially political news stories, are offloaded as information to the population.
The remedy for consumers of social media politics news stories is to weigh the news against the carrier’s reputation. Here, factors like the faces behind the medium and the veracity of previous news from that medium come into play. In this regard, Breaking Times has quickly established itself as a reliable source of credible information for Nigerians. It was the first outlet to expose Aisha Buhari’s high end Cartier wrist watch. It broke news of Buhari’s intentions to retain the petroleum ministry for himself, long before whispers of the fact trickled into the public. And it was also the first medium to expose Buhari’s Abuja mansions when the population had been led to believe that the President was a poor man.
So Breaking Times has served Nigerians in its one year of existence by providing a credible alternative to pre-existing media. In a world where there is an overwhelming amount of narratives, it is exhausting trying to sort out credible reporting from junk and to keep up with the volume of news for that matter. A credible and tested source like Breaking Times makes light that difficulty. Now people can cut back on tiresome search for credible news and simply hook up to the news channel as one that they trust.
It’s now easy to take for granted news media like Breaking Times that run a social media model. But that will not be a wise thing to do. By bringing news to Nigerians in the comfort of their homes delivered through their mobile devices, and in an interactive fashion, Breaking Times has helped to improve political participation among youths and reduced the friction created by a previous information deficit.
One year in the life of an organization is typically too early in the day to make conclusions on its success. But in Internet time, so much can be gained or lost in a day. The story so far for Breaking Times is quite impressive. One may not know what the founders set out to achieve but after its first year, we now know that Breaking Times is positioned to be a leading voice in Nigeria’s political narrative.
Ebubedike Akabuwa is an Abuja based legal practitioner.