They were 12 when the selection was done by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) but 11 of them attended the one-day media workshop held to herald the commencement of the 2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open. From the conduct and passion during the training, five of the candidates were picked for internship during the tournament on August 8 to 12 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, Nigeria.

As undergraduates from three of Nigeria’s prestigious higher institutions – University of Lagos (UNILAG), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and Lagos State University (LASU), the interns could not but spoke about the valuable experience cum gains of being part of the Africa’s elite tournament held in the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria.

From Shehu Idris of UNILAG, It was a swell time and an experience that beats money in trade. It was an eye opener and a learning curve for a student journalist like me to witness and participate on the field away from the comfort zone from behind a computer inside my room. Until ITTF granted me this priceless experience, I knew not about the rudiments of interview but after 5 days of working and bonding with media veterans I have improved significantly in that particular angle.

“It was one of the most eventful and productive 5 days of my life. I get to, using the aforementioned tips, interview a lot of top-class table tennis players, and skillfully draft news stories that would be used on the daily newsletters. I was also given the esteemed privilege to have a byline on the webpage of International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), a feat that brought happy tears. I also learned greatly how to handle the pressure that the urgency of social media brings.

“The whole experience for me was a great opportunity to apply the communication theories and journalistic writing that I have been taught in school on a real time event as grand as SEAMASTER ITTF Nigeria Open. From the first day of the Challenge, I have been thrown into a fountain of journalistic mastery of mentors and I tried has much as possible to drink my fill. I was tutored on how to get not just any news story but great news story from its special angle.

Like I have earlier declared, this was an experience that beats money in trade and I am grateful for the opportunity and privilege to be a part of this fantastic learning process. Now I wish I wasn’t in my final year, so I can apply again next year,” Shehu Idris said.

For the only female in the five-man intern team, Adebisi Sulaimon of LASU, the experience was immense and beneficial. “My 5-Day internship at the 2018 Seamaster ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open was a great opportunity, it exposed me to the use of media tools and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to disseminate information via the internet. For example, I opened a new instagram and facebook pages purposely for this event and because of my consistency in information sharing, it earned me a lot of followers. Apart from the use of social media platforms effectively, another area with which I learnt was the act of interviewing athletes and the techniques.From the interviews conducted, I learnt how to bring out quotes and to develop news stories for the daily publication of newsletter. In addition, photography has now become an interesting aspect for me, I got to understand clearly the notion that: a picture is worth a thousand words. For example; when an athlete’s picture is taken during a match, the picture conveys the message behind the image even without a caption.

“In conclusion, with the experience I garnered at the 2018 Seamaster ITTF Nigeria open, I will be looking forward to working with the ITTF in the future. I must say it’s been a wonderful tournament and I really appreciate the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for putting up such an awesome event and of course it was an experience of inestimable value,” the former Nigeria’s national junior player said.

Also Bola Mamud of LASU explained, “The 2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster NigeriaOpen is the best experience I can have in the last one decade, I wish I was still in secondary or primary school where you would be ask to write the best experience of your life, without second though this is what I would have chosen to write about. I have never been in around such big players around the world of a table tennis, this five days was very amazing part of my life and I never until these days that table tennis is this much interesting and emotional. I saw people going emotional when there player lost a game and I saw myself too in such situation and I couldn’t believe myself because before now I had only thought it is only football that drives fans, supporters this emotional.

“I am very grateful to ITTF for this wonderful experience I was given and this won’t be my last of such experience, it is just the beginning, I hope to work more years with ITTF if given the opportunity to so again and even beyond Nigeria borders.

I actually couldn’t believe myself standing with Aruna Quadri, Benedek Olah, Sewsasat Suthasini, Funke Oshonaike conducting interviews with them having gist with them with confidence, only ITTF has made this possible for me.

If I continue to write I might not conclude wha+ an exposure and experience I have got over these five days,” said Bola Mamud.

Olatosimi Fadahunsi of UNILAG, who was one of the two interns selected for the 2017 edition and was also part of the 2018 event said” In the words of Immanuel Kant, “Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is more intellectual play.” Leaving the horizon of the classrooms to get not just an experience, but working with the Nigeria Open media team – is one in a million, as it affords me the opportunity to meet new people, give me the platform to display my writing skills, how to organise media events amongst few others which will be discussed below.

“Having won the internship slots for two years in a row, my confidence level as an up and coming journalist have witnessed a massive improvement. From the way, I asked interview questions, to how I carried myself during interviews, and how to draft my questions, have all improved massive improvement. Furthermore, I learned the how to relate and the psychology attached to when and when not to interview with sportsmen. This would be of great help in my daily activities with human beings. Also, the internship afforded me the opportunity to meet people from different countries and continents, some of them I learned a bit of new culture from within the five days. Furthermore, I was privileged to meet and work alongside some top media professionals. Some of these media professionals were of help in discharging some of my duties as a media intern, and they also gave advice on what it takes to succeed in the media industry.

The internship was a great learning curve on how to organise a successful media event such as a press conference, media parley, press briefing, amongst others. Drafting of news stories that were used for newsletters and how to work with a team are also great experiences that were of high significance. Finally, as a student that will be out of the university in a couple of months, the ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open was a perfect ground to learn about the rigour that are concomitants to be a working-class – waking up early in the morning, going home at night, and still be able to plan a meaningful life around the rigours.

From meeting top media personnel, to an improved confidence level, to understanding the rigours attached to be a part of the working class, wherever I get to in life, I will make bold to say it anywhere that I stood on the shoulders of the experience gotten from being a student’s media intern at the 2018 ITFF Nigeria Challenge Nigeria Open,” Olatomisi Fadahunsi enthused.

ISaac Obinyan of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) said: ““I see this as a platform to learn the ropes on what media truly is, how it operates and how it can be a better utilized by young minds like myself.

I see this as a platform to get equipped in also and on the long run impact others in possible ways.” The aforementioned were my desire, motive and objective of applying for the internship. Thank you ITTF Nigeria Open, my expectations were met beyond my imaginations. ITTF Nigeria Open was a great platform I had to develop my media skills. I went in as a novice when it comes to video editing, been a social media influencer, a photographer, a reporter, a great observer, video coverage, my multimedia skills and above all my love for table tennis.

From the first day of the training, the LOC started an orientation seminar that enlightened us on the ropes of the media world. Teaching us on how to be an influencer, to be financially independent, how to effectively utilize our online space e several ways to use the internet and its tools better, I am sure of being a better personality online and offline soonest.

With the kickstarting of the tournament, I received challenges which in turn made me stronger and smarter. The first day for instance, I started an article, but did not complete it. Seeing the publication of the articles of my peers, I was challenged to complete mine. Unfortunately, it was not published. There and there someone in the LOC made me realize that you do not do what others do to please people but you do what you’re best at to make an impact. With these words, I focused on my digital strength and fortunately several of my works were posted on the ITTF Nigeria Open pages and platforms online. Beyond all, ITTF NIGERIA OPEN gave us the necessary exposure, knowledge and confidence we needed for the media world.” said Isaac Obinyan.