Fact-check: Did Leadership Publish “Executed” Gov Bala of Bauchi in a Sponsored Advert?

Fact-check: Did Leadership Publish “Executed” Gov Bala of Bauchi in a Sponsored Advert?

Fact-check: Did Leadership Publish “Executed” Gov Bala of Bauchi in a Sponsored Advert? 

Claims: A screenshot of a page of the Leadership Newspaper captioned a picture of Bauchi Governor, Bala Mohammed as “Executed” Governor instead of “Executive” Governor. The page was widely shared on social media.

Full Text: The “alleged” reference appeared in a congratulatory advert of the newspaper over a conferment of an Honorary Doctorate Degree on the Governor by the Bauchi State University, Gadau at its maiden and combined convocation ceremony. It was unclear if the description was actually published in the newspaper or crowned for mischief.

The congratulatory advertorial started with; “Congratulations MR PROJECT ON YOUR CONFERMENT OF HONORARY DOCTORATE DEGREE….”

Verification: PRNigeria fact-check team ran a check on the online publication of Leadership Newspaper and found that the paper had earlier on 13 December 2023 announced the impending conferment of the award of the Honorary Doctorate Degree by the State University on the governor.

Further probing revealed that the national Newspaper published the governor’s title as “The Executive Governor of Bauchi State,” on the Monday edition, on 18 December, 2023 as seen in the hard-copy on page 13.

However, when PRNigeria obtained previous hard copies of the newspaper of Sunday edition dated December 17 on page 8, 12 and 13 revealed that indeed the Governor was mistakenly dubbed as the “Executed” Governor.

The edition which had the title of his excellency below the governor’s picture in the academic gown specifically wrote: “His Excellency, Sen. (Dr.) Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, CON, Fnipr (Kauran Bauchi) The Executed Governor of Bauchi State.”

However, this error was corrected in the subsequent edition of the Newspaper.

Abdulrahman Abdulraheem a PR Consultant and Editor with PRNigeria told the fact check team that the error cannot be blamed on the Newspaper’s editorial but the sponsor’s of the advert whose duty it was to provide a clinical content for use by the Newspaper.

“That is the normal practice since its a sponsored content,” he said

Editorial content, produced by the independent editorial team of a media outlet, upholds principles of objectivity and journalistic integrity. The editorial team decides on story selection based on news judgment and relevance to the audience, ensuring high standards of quality and credibility. Readers trust editorial content to provide unbiased information, and the reputation of a media outlet relies on the credibility of its editorial output.

In contrast, a sponsored content is promotional material created by advertisers who pay for its placement in a media outlet. This content is labeled as “sponsored” to transparently inform readers about its commercial nature. Advertisers have a significant degree of control over the creation and messaging of sponsored content, aiming to reach a specific audience with a particular message or product. While there may be guidelines set by the media outlet, the advertiser generally has more influence over sponsored content compared to editorial content.

The distinction between editorial and sponsored content is vital for maintaining the independence of editorial teams. The principle of the “separation of church and state” ensures that editorial decisions are made independently of commercial interests, preserving journalistic ethics and avoiding conflicts of interest. While editorial content is held to high standards of quality and objectivity, sponsored content serves as a form of advertising and is not subject to editorial judgment before placement in newspapers, allowing for a clear delineation between journalistic reporting and paid promotional material.

Conclusion: Findings by PRNigeria fact-check about the claims that Leadership Newspaper describe the governor of Bauchi State as “The Executed Governor of Bauchi State,” reveals that indeed the publication was a sponsored content by an advertiser in the Newspaper on  Sunday 18th December edition but later corrected in subsequent editions and paid for by the same advertiser

PRNigeria therefore concludes that the claims about the error of the “Executed Governor” in Leadership newspaper is TRUE.

By PRNigeria 

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