In a bid to improve the current standard of news reportage in the country, the School of Media and Communication (SMC), Pan-Atlantic University, has trained 20 professional media practitioners in solution and data journalism.
Selected across print, broadcast and digital media, the 20 Journalists over the course of a 10-day programme were lectured and trained in a new way to deliver their reportage, placing needed emphasis on solutions to challenges affecting the general public rather than the problems, as well as using and applying data to their reportage.
The participating journalists, who are the second set of graduates from the Solutions and Data Journalism Academy of the Pan-Atlantic University, School of Media and Communication were selected from leading mainstream media houses including, Nigerian Tribune, DailyTrust, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), amongst several others.
In addition to applying data to their reportage, participants were taught on the need to change the current narrative by focusing reportage on solutions rather than highlighting problems. Also, participants were taught better ways to deliver feature writing, advocacy, ethic and other various forms of journalism.
Director of the solution and data journalism academy, Mr Isaac-Ogugua Ezechukwu, noted that the training was focused on enhancing media practitioners’ capability and reshaping their mindsets to focus more on solutions in their reportage rather than highlighting challenges in the society.
“Journalists are very important figures. That is why they are widely referred to as the fourth estate of the realm, and that is why we stress the need for quality training and retraining.
“Our motivation is building competent professionals that will contribute to improving society,” he added.
He also disclosed that the academy was focused on training professionals in delivering top-notch reportage with accuracy and high standards for consumption of the public.
While Course Director, Dr Ruth Oji said: “The training was necessitated by the seeming dearth of reportage of news item from a solutions and data journalism point of view.
“To achieve this, journalists from across the country were pooled together to be trained on the basics of solutions journalism writing so that reporting is not merely about rehashing the problems in the society but also a proffering of solutions based on research and engagement with experts on the subject matter. That way, journalists could draw the attention of major stakeholders to what needs to be done to ameliorate the situation.”
According to her, “Solutions journalism is an approach to writing and reporting that focuses attention on not only the problems in the society but the likely solutions to change the status quo. When journalists imbibe this form of writing and reportage, they move beyond simply recounting events that happened in the negative but become stakeholders that engage with the process of enlightenment and driving of change in their communities.”
Mr Ezechukwu also appreciated participants for their dutifulness during the course of the training. He expressed satisfaction with the participant’s behaviour, and noted that a lot had been planted in the journalists to help reshape the current state of media practitioners’ reportage in the country.
Also, addressing participant’s openness to the training, Dr Oji noted that selected media practitioners were committed to the entirety of the program.
“They show that they imbibed the tenets of the academy, they masterfully showed off their projects at the end of the period. Their presentations abounded with reports laced with solutions and data journalism. We hope that they carry on with this new approach,” she said.
Expressing gratitude for time and resources spent into training journalist on solution and data journalism, Usman Aliyu correspondent from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said, “I want to thank the organisers for seeing the need to train journalists and investing a lot of resources to make sure the training was successful. Henceforth, my reports would portray contain solutions to problems and challenges highlighted in any of my reports.”
Similarly, Osayande Elizabeth, senior reporter, Vanguard newspaper noted that she would ensure she makes use of data in all her reportage as well as attempt to proffer solutions in all research or reportage done.
“The training has been very enlightening and has been able to change my previous method of delivering a report.”
The training programme ended with more votes of thanks from participating journalists, who expressed joy and satisfaction with all that was taught. Certificates and mentors were also assigned to every participant to help them develop and dish out top notch articles over the next six months.
Pan Atlantic University trains journalists on solution, data journalism