Nigeria’s first Weekly Newspaper targeting the youth population, was launched recently! Jennifer Ehidiamen, CP-Africa’s Features editor, caught up with the team for a chat! Read the interview below to learn more about the uniqueness of this new addition to the Nigerian Press!
CP-Africa: When did you launch The Hub Weekly?
TheHub: thehub newspaper was launched and first published 5th September 2011, though we had the idea to start the project since 2007. We were waiting for the right time to launch…
CP-Africa: You are the first Youth oriented newspaper in Nigeria. What inspired the publication? When did you conceive the idea and how did you take action?
TheHub: It was born out of a desire to bring the reading habit back to today’s Nigerian youth, a population stereotyped to care solely about entertainment and parties. We are not new in the business of targeting youth and student with our services/products. In 2006, we started the first ever STUDENT TRADE FAIR on campus while we were still studying at the University of Lagos (UNILAG). The business has grown to the extent that we have 12 editions in 8 different higher institutions. We just completed the University of Benin (UNIBEN) edition. So it was on this platform and experience we started thehub newspaper.
CP-Africa: Considering the fact that many media organizations are concentrating a lot of effort on the New media, how do you intend to engage the upwardly mobile youth/digital natives?
TheHub: Our content is targeted at youth age 16-35 years old irrespective of the socio-economic class they belong. We are seriously working and building our distribution channels and presently we distribute in malls and youths hangout that the upwardly mobile visits.
CP-Africa: Tell us more about your vision/Mission at TheHub Weekly and about your team members.
TheHub: Our vision is to be the voice of the Nigerian young minds and be an independent youth daily newspaper by year 2012. Our mission is to capture 1 in every 5 youth in Nigeria by year 2013 and also to have increased our distribution to all the states of the federation. We are set of young minds below 30yrs old with an attitude to make a change in our society.
Our core team members are: Akinsemoyin Ahmed, Executive Director and co-founder; Hazeez Balogun,
Editor with a wide experience in journalism, also head of entertainment for Compass Newspaper; Alafia Gbadebo, Publisher, THEHUB NEWSPAPER.
CP-Africa: What is your current circulation/reach? Is it a National newspaper?
TheHub: Yes we are a national weekly newspaper. We are presently in 10 states and 53 campuses
CP-Africa: Although the statistics says Nigeria has about 57% literacy level, many people believe youth who make up over 70% of the Nigerian population do not have a healthy reading culture. What is your opinion on this? Do you see this as a threat to the “consumption” of your publication?
TheHub: Yes it’s a big challenge and that was one of the reasons we waited this long to launch. We didn’t want to do magazine or an entertainment tabloid. We wanted to pass important national information and news to enlighten the youth and let them know about happenings in their society.
We are the future and soon going to be leaders, yet an average Nigerian youth do not know who consist of the House of representative, or the basics about fuel subsidies and deregulation, yet he knows the name and songs of all Nigerian top artists. (Laughing) But since the target audience do not like strong contents, we decided to mix news, entertainment, fashion, employment page, business, sport etc all in one publication so that every youth has something that appeals to them.
The newspaper is so cool. The front page is designed to look like a newspaper and the back page entirely like a magazine. We got positive feedbacks from the four editions we gave out for free. We intend to give it a personality of Newspaper and Magazine fussed into one publication.
CP-Africa: What core challenges are you currently facing as a publisher and how do you intend to overcome them?
TheHub: Our big challenges is getting Advert placement in our publication. Being a new concept, companies are hesitant and don’t want to just blend in easily like that. We Nigerians always want to see consistency first. Another major headache is building a relationship with the Nigerian vendors. You have to join one association or another before you can sell. But as a team of young minds we working outside the box and creating a new distribution method since our target audience is not the general public.
TheHub: There are a lot of young Nigerians with good ideas. I think if the country has some basic amenities like power, good roads, good banking system (loans), employment etc more business would boom and the society would benefit at large. If we can eradicate corruption from every level of government, I think we would have a sustainable and meaningful level of development
CP-Africa: Although some Nigerian youth are fast embracing entrepreneurship, many are still detached. What is your message of hope to the Nigerian youth feeling disenfranchised by the situation in Nigeria?
TheHub: I think the basic problem they have is raising funds to launch and fear of taking risk. But I believe if they were more enlightened about the rudiment and steps to starting and building a business, it would make a whole of impact. We are doing that through our newspaper- our business page to empower the average Nigerian youth.
CP-Africa: Any other comment?
TheHub: Big brands should help smaller ones spring up.
CP-Africa: Thanks for your time!
TheHub: Thank you. You are doing a good work out there for African continent at large.
You can follow TheHub Newspaper on Twitter @THEHUBNEWSPAPER