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EnergyTimes here to provide in-depth reporting, says publisher

Energy time

Ekundayo

The publisher of EnergyTimes Mr. Kayode Ekundayo has said that the entry of the publication into the Nigeria market is meant to ensure stakeholders and professionals in the oil and gas industry are kept abreast of in-depth energy reporting.

The EnergyTimes boss stated this in a chat with The Guardian in Lagos. According to him, after reporting the sector for over two decades, the industry should have a platform that provides informed analytical stories.

Providing an insight on how he started his journalism career, he said, “I started with The Monitor Newspaper, as an energy reporter; then I moved to Daily Times as energy correspondent, two years later, I was promoted energy editor.

Thereafter, I joined Leadership Newspaper as energy correspondent”. Ekundayo’s passion for energy reporting brought him breakthrough in 2007, when he did an exclusive on how former President Obasanjo’s planned to privatize the Kaduna Refinery. “My publisher saw the story and quickly looked for me.

He asked me to report to Abuja to head the business desk, that was how I became the Business Editor for Leadership. “I however resigned three months after to join DailyTrust, where I became Head, Business Desk in Lagos.

A year after, I became the Deputy Editor of DailyTrust” With his years of experience in journalism, particularly in the energy sector, Ekundayo saw the need to set up a newspaper to focus solely on in-depth energy reporting.

According to him, “I have a passion for it; wake me up to give talks on energy and it will just flow, even without reading.” “After spending seven and a half years in DailyTrust, I began to ask myself what would happen if the owners asked me to leave? And something came to me. In that paper, we had this opportunity of securing loans; at that period I secured the loan for 2014.

Before that I had registered a company. I never thought of EnergyTimes because my plan was to go into public relations (PR). At a point, I went into dry cleaning business but discovered that with my years of experience in journalism, I shouldn’t end up being a dry cleaner.

Some weeks later, the first edition of EnergyTimes was published on September 11, 2014, but it was then called EnergyToday”.

Ekundayo said he gained support from his senior colleagues in the media industry, as he shared his ideas with them.

“Some suggested that we changed the name from EnergyToday because there was an existing newspaper with the same name,” he said. “So, I went to the National Library to register a new name. Fortunately, I was able to achieve that within a week, and EnergyTimes came out.”

It’s a weekly newspaper published on Mondays with detailed news on the energy industry. “Since we started, the responses from people, especially people in the industry, have been very encouraging. We are now in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt,” he said.

Ekundayo further said, “I started operating in the car because I had no office, and for five months, I was operating and existing without an office.

Thank God we finally got a place in February. Right now I can say we are expanding, and in the next few years, we would be in Ghana and Angola.” Ekundayo, a graduate of Mass Communication, has a masters degree in Corporate and International Affairs.

Although he had no academic background in the energy sector, he said he had attended seminars and conferences, which had helped in boosting his knowledge about the sector. He noted, “I have attended conferences and seminars that have given me the exposure and the encouragement to go on.

Sometimes, when I talk about energy, people would think that I studied chemical engineering; it has been a very wonderful experience”.

According to Ekundayo, finding readership has been a challenge, since not many people are aware of what EnergyTimes is doing.

“Right now, we are selling at the news stands, the people I took copies to personally rejected it. Most people do not understand the content, because of the terms we use, but we try as much as possible to break it down for the general public to understand,” he said.

He said newspaper has come to give undiluted information to its readers, saying, “We are not here to report the industry negatively but if something happens negatively, we would go ahead and report it as it is.

I have been trained not to take bribes, and if I can do that for almost eight years in Daily Times, then I should be able to imbibe that principle at EnergyTimes.”

On future prospects for his newspaper, Ekundayo said he was optimistic about the continuity saying, “Advertisement is not likely to be a problem to us. If you look at our areas of focus – oil, gas, power and finance – basically there are people occupying top positions, people who every advertiser would like to get to.

There is no limitation to advertisement in this newspaper.” “We are cutting our cake according to our size; we want to see how we grow first before we bring in more people to join us.

One of the reasons why newspapers die quickly is that the owners employ too many people from start, and offer them big salaries.

They eventually fail and go down.” The publisher said starting big is not the solution to sustainability, adding, “At this level we are not afraid of failure, as many people are coming to support us, even banks are showing interest as well as the oil companies.”

Ekundayo stated that the paper plans to go from a 12-page to a 16-page publication in the next two years, noting, “We want to report other aspects like arts, sports and politics in the future, but for now, our focus is the energy aspect”.

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