Today on the Student Hustler Blog, we’re not going to be talking about making money rather we’ll be interviewing a very interesting person whose idea of a blog started out as nothing and became OAU Peeps News Agency posting latest news from one of the best Universities in Nigeria, Obafemi Awolowo University.
ABOUT OAU PEEPS NEWS AGENCY
OAU Peeps is a news agency that became a full-fledged online news magazine on July 21, 2014. The news site serves students, staffs, alumni, aspirants and friends of Obafemi Awolowo University with OAU latest news in the 21st century style of digital journalism.
Many Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) students and aspirants, myself included, can be found on the popular OAU news site searching for latest news on OAU resumption date, OAU cut off mark, OAU latest admission list, OAU gist, OAU latest information and generally, the latest news on OAU campus.
I have often found myself curious about how OAU Peeps grew to become what it is today as a popular news website with a daily traffic in the thousands (approximately 10,000 daily unique traffic as at 2016). And since it was founded by an oau alumni, I pulled some strings and managed to appeal to the humble founder of OAU Peeps News Agency to give the Student Hustler Blog an interview.
A SHORT BIO ON THE FOUNDER OF OAU PEEPS NEWS AGENCY, DAVID ADETULA
David Adetula was the one-time president and a recent graduate of the department of Botany of Obafemi Awolowo University with a passion for writing and reporting about politics, economy, environment, youth and leadership. He is also the founder, founding editor-in-chief and current managing director of OAU Peeps News Agency. His articles have been featured on numerous reputable national and international press organizations.
THE INTERVIEW WITH DAVID ADETULA
Can we know you sir?
Yes, please. My name is David Adetula. A lot of my friends call me Omooba.
Were you a student when you started OAU peeps and are you still a student?
Yes. I was a 200 level (Part 2) student of Obafemi Awolowo University when OAU Peeps News Agency was conceived and birthed. I have since finished my programme in OAU. Still a student? Yes, but not in OAU anymore.
Do you happen to have OAU Peep’s monthly traffic ratings and do you mind sharing it with us?
We track our audience. I mean, we obtain statistics of the volume of traffic we get on the website. If you look carefully at the ‘Advertise Here’ page of the website, you’ll observe the statistics there. I cannot tell what exactly is currently obtainable but prior to the time I handed over as the Editor-in-Chief, we get an average of about 10,000 daily page view. That was in 2016 – over 2 years ago. I know it would have really improved now.
10,000 daily pages views is quite an accomplishment and I just have to ask, how did you start OAU Peeps?
Hmmmm. So, initially the idea was not a news agency via blogging; I wanted to have a forum site – modelled after Nairaland. I don’t know if you have visited Nairaland before. In 2013, I bought the website template/script for the forum from a guy from another university and I installed it. Along the line, some IT experts started meeting me and telling me the concerns they have for the forum and the need to improve on the security. I did not have enough money to go on to do that then. So, while I was thinking on how to go about it, the idea of a blog came and I keyed into it. I still have the forum script with me in case anyone is interested in buying and working on it. Lol
Lol. Can you tell us why you started OAU Peeps?
Okay. The major reason OAU Peeps came into existence was to disrupt the status quo. As at that time, what was in vogue as regards campus journalism in Obafemi Awolowo University was offline and board journalism. 95% of campus journalists write on paper and paste on board. Then I thought we could deliver something better in this digital world where students will stay at the comfort of their rooms in Moremi and Awolowo Halls and read about what has happened or what is going on at Spider House, BOOC or at the Senate Building. That was the propulsion.
Well, I’m glad you created OAU Peeps because back when I was writing my jamb and post jamb, I visited OAU Peeps frequently to keep abreast of the latest news on OAU campus.
I need to ask though, when exactly and how did you get the idea to create a site like OAU Peeps?
OAU Peeps metarmorphosized into a full-fledged blog sometime in July, 2014. My little knowledge in HTML and blogging helped me to start without much technical worries.
What did you do when you got the idea?
When the idea of the forum came, I did not have funds to execute it. What I did was crazy; I had to use the money given to me as school fees to purchase the script. Thank God I was able to eventually meet up with the school fees payment deadline somehow.
Wow, that’s very risky. Many people, myself included, would never had the guts to do this but I guess doing great things always comes at a risk. I remember an entrepreneurship conference on OAU campus where one of the resource persons stated that she’d used her school fees to start her business as well. This is why I believe firmly in this quote by Marissa Meyer, President and CEO of Yahoo!
“If you can push through that feeling of being scared, that feeling of taking a risk, really amazing things can happen.”
I hope you don’t mind but my audience and I will definitely like to ask this very personal question, have you made any money through OAU Peeps?
Okay, that answer was very short. I don’t want to invade your privacy or anything but I’m very sure the Student Hustler Blog readers will love to know how you’ve made money via the News site especially the aspiring bloggers among them, so can you tell us how you’ve made money through Oau Peeps News Agency?
Well. As regards generating funds. We generate funds via sponsorship and partnerships. We also have google adsense running on our website. That helps us with some funds too. Most funds come from direct local adverts placement on our blog.
What do you think makes OAU Peeps different from other news blogs or sites?
Well, I will say we were always ahead of other news blog that eventually came after us in terms of timeliness in reportage and content quality. Many other news agencies pick our news item and publish it on their own blog- some with proper acknowledgement and others plagiarise.
How important has good employees, friends and family been to OAU Peep’s success?
This is one area I am grateful to God for. I had a right hand man, Ojelabi Jesujoba (Pope Jay) who keyed into the vision and was passionate about it. He was very supportive all throughout those periods. He eventually succeeded me as the Editor-In-Chief of the news agency. Family and friends were also supportive.
How has been the CEO of OAU Peeps affected your life on a personal basis?
Firstly, I’d like to correct the impression that I am or was the CEO. As far as I am concerned, OAU Peeps News Agency does not have a CEO, what we had and still have is an Editor-in-Chief. Then, other members. As regards how it affected my personal life – to stay afloat, I dedicated a lot of my time and resources to it. As a campus journalist, I was also exposed to the risks of the job.
Can you recall any discouraging moments during the startup years of OAU Peeps?
Smiles. Discouraging moments? Maybe none. But there were challenging moments. One major time was when we did an investigative report on one of the Student Union leaders who was allowed to run for an office and eventually got elected despite not meeting the minimum set CGPA. The story was everywhere on campus and beyond. The Union leadership fought us so hard then.
Can you describe a single or several moments you would call the climax of the OAU Peeps news site since you started it so far?
Every time we get a feedback from our readers of how the agency’s activities are impacting lives positively, there is always a great joy for me.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I like to read, write and discuss policies, government and leadership.
What other businesses or projects do you work on apart from OAU Peeps?
I served in various capacities as a student alongside being the Editor-In-Chief of OAU Peeps. I was also the President of my departmental association in my final year.
Wow, I know that couldn’t have been easy. If you had the chance to start all over again, what would you do differently?
This is a tough question. I think there is a need to always create a clear and sustainable succession structure for any organization, this I will do better. Plus, invest more in human capacity development for our members to deliver more efficiently. No regrets whatsoever anyways.
What advice would you to give to people with great ideas like yourself or aspiring journalists or news bloggers?
There is need to know exactly what you want to do. Journalism is different from PR or other forms of scaling. Focus on your immediate community, identify the issues and bring them out. Like I always tell my people, WhatsApp status journalism is no journalism. Sit down, read and write. What is worth doing is worth doing well. I need to also add that do not go into blogging because you want to make money, i can assure you, you’ll be frustrated till you quit. You should be passion driven to start and manage a blog.
To what do you attribute OAU Peep’s success?
I attribute everything to God. Hardwork and consistency were major contributors to our growth.
Can you give us five key elements for starting and running a successful news site?
I mentioned some earlier.
- Know why you are starting a news site – this includes getting a niche.
- You don’t start a news site because of money. If you do, you will either be frustrated till you quit or you will end up doing anything for money.
- Get like minds who can consistently write and work with you.
- Consistency and hardwork cannot be over emphasized.
- Most importantly, commit your ways unto the Lord and He will guide you. Good success can only come from Him.
That was more than a thousand words interview with David Adetula, who accomplished quite a lot on OAU Campus even while he was still a student. What’s that idea you have? It doesn’t have to be about money, it could just be something to help support someone out there in the world. Don’t keep looking, do something today.
Check out this quote from Timothy Ferriss, author of 4-Hour Work Week and apply it:
“The stars will never align, and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.”
I want you to take it as your word of advice from the Student Hustler Blog this week and take a step closer to achieving your dreams whatever they may be. Who knows, it may be your turn to be celebrated next…
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Thanks for reading!