CJID Inducts 15 Fellows into its 2024 AI-in-Journalism Fellowship

The Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), with support from Luminate, has inducted 15 journalists and technologists into the maiden edition of its AI-in-Journalism Fellowship on Tuesday, May 28th, 2024. The 15 fellows were selected from over 500 applications from Nigeria and Ghana.

According to CJID, the fellowship, the first of its kind in Africa, aligns with its mandate to advance media innovations and support the development and integration of open-source civic technology and artificial intelligence tools that will be useful in driving democratic accountability and promoting ethical practices in the media and civil society ecosystem.

The fellowship, slated to last six months, offers an opportunity for collaboration among a diverse group of journalists, researchers, data scientists, and web developers from across the continent to develop AI-integrated solutions that complement and improve the quality of journalistic practices in Africa and worldwide.

While welcoming the AI fellows to the induction ceremony, Akintunde Babatunde, the director of programs at CJID, said the idea is to support the development of AI tools for journalists by journalists so as to improve the way journalism is done in the AI age.

“AI has come to stay, and one of the professions that stands an opportunity for disruption is journalism, so it is important for us to get on the train of this innovation by developing tools that will improve the way journalists do their jobs even better.

Akintunde said there are apprehensions in the industry about whether AI will take the jobs of journalists; he said while the concerns are valid, it is smart for professionals in the industry to think of how to innovate and collaborate with the available AI tools so as to make doing journalism better and efficient. He expressed optimism that the tools these fellows will build during this fellowship will revolutionise journalism practice in Africa. 

According to Monsur Hussain, Head of Innovation at CJID, each team will leverage AI technologies to develop an innovative idea that can address a specific challenge or opportunity in the journalism or media sector. The ideas and solutions received for the fellowship range from AI-powered newsroom tools to audience engagement platforms.The fellowship induction followed CJID’s AI in Journalism Dialogue, where CJID launched two innovative AI tools to combat information disorder in Africa: the Dubawa Audio/Video Transcription App and the Dubawa Chatbot for information verification and media literacy

About the Fellowship:

The AI-in-Journalism Fellowship aims to foster collaboration between technologists and journalists to develop innovative solutions that address the challenges and opportunities arising from the integration of AI in journalism. By bringing together diverse perspectives and expertise, CJID aims to:

  • Stimulate innovation by encouraging the development of cutting-edge AI-powered tools and technologies that enhance journalistic practices, content creation, and audience engagement.     
  • Foster collaboration and facilitate partnerships between technologists and journalists to co-create solutions that address the media industry’s specific challenges.
  • Empower and equip journalists with the knowledge and skills to effectively use AI technologies in their reporting and storytelling processes.
  • Promote transparency, accountability, and ethical considerations in developing and deploying AI-driven journalism tools and platforms.

2024 AI-in-Journalism Fellows and Their Project Ideas:

  1. News Lab: 

NewsLab is a revolutionary technology designed to transform the journalism industry by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI). It aims to address major challenges faced by newsrooms and media platforms, including information overload, content discovery, fact-checking, plagiarism, and audience engagement.

 Team members:

  • Oluwakeji Onabajo – Oluwakeji Onabajo is a software developer, an alumnus of the Tech Talent programme of Senator Abiru Innovation Lab (SAIL). Oluwakeji holds a bachelor of Technology degree (First class honours) in Mathematics from Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa. He is a certified project manager, a SDG advocate passionate about goal 4, 8, 12 and 17.  He is the Executive Director of Ikorodu Division Youth Initiative, where he advocates for youth inclusiveness in governance, active youth participation and community service, a member of the UNICEF Nigeria’s young influencers Network, a member of the LEAP Africa Alumni Network, he’s also an alumnus of the Gender Mobile Initiative Campus Champions and an associate of the Electoral College Nigeria. He is an enthusiastic fellow who loves to network and learn new skills.

Oluwakeji is currently a Project Associate at Ladipo and Lawani Nigeria Limited, Freelance software developer.

  • David Adeleke – David Adeleke is a photographer and graphics designer, with experience in managing social media management and live streaming of events. He has a knack for ed-tech and digital innovations. 

He currently works with the International Press Centre Lagos as the IT/Social Media Officer.

  • Emmanuel Bello – Emmanuel Bello is a media and IT professional.. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy/ Political Science from the University of Ibadan amongst other qualifications including a certificate in Journalism from FRCN Training School, Shogunle, Lagos, and National Diploma in ICT from the National Directorate of Employment.

Emmanuel is currently undergoing a post graduate diploma course in Journalism at the International Institute of Journalism, IIJ, Abuja.

He’s also a member of Nigeria Institute of Management, NIM.

  • Olamide Tejuoso – Olamide Tejuoso is a Nigerian Journalist with a diverse background in journalism and broadcasting. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Ibadan and a Master’s degree in Communication and Language Arts with a specialisation in Broadcasting and Broadcast Journalism from the same institution. 

With over five years of experience in the industry, Olamide has showcased her skills in various roles as a broadcaster and reporter. Her skills in journalism and broadcasting include news writing, newscasting, research, editing, and hosting. She has further honed her expertise through workshops and training programmes focused on AI tools for media practitioners, evidence-based reporting, violence against women, climate change and migration, conflict studies, and newsroom startup workshop, among others

  • Francis Uka – Francis Uka is a media practitioner and a human resources management professional with extensive years of experience. 

He holds a Higher, National Diploma in Mass Communication from the Institute of Management and Technology, IMT, Enugu. He also has a Postgraduate Degree in Education from the National Open University. He’s a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM), Chartered Institute of Administration, (CIA), and Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC). 

Francis currently works with 100.3 Udoka FM, Enugu, as  the station manager. 

  1. News Accessibility Platform:

The News Accessibility Platform (NAP) is an AI-driven initiative designed to enhance news accessibility for people with hearing and visual impairments in Nigeria. It aims to reduce information disparities and enable equal access to news for everyone. NAP leverages facial detection, object recognition, machine learning, and sentiment analysis to provide features like text-to-audio conversion, Braille translation, key story extracts, audio transcripts, video descriptions, and closed captioning. The platform centralises accessibility tools, streamlining the process for newsrooms, reducing costs, and ensuring consistent accessibility across all news content. The expected impact includes increased news consumers among the deaf and blind community, enhanced efficiency and productivity in newsrooms, reduced duplication of efforts, faster content adaptation, improved collaboration, and cost-effectiveness. The minimum acceptable output includes a user-interactive platform with text-to-speech, alternative text for images, text-to-Braille, visual descriptive recognition, local language options, and visual manipulation tools, as well as collaboration with newsrooms and awareness among disability groups.

Team members: 

  • Zainab Sanni – Zainab Sanni is an award winning  multimedia journalist with expertise in development and investigative reporting and fact-checking. She brings a wealth of experience to her role as the Assistant Producer of the Weekend Show on Africa Independent Television (AIT), where she also hosts “The Climate Chat”, to advocate for environmental justice.

Zainab previously worked as a media ambassador on the United Nations Joint Campaign to end Female Genital Mutilation in Oyo State, Nigeria. 

She is a ConnexUs fellow, a recipient of the African Resilience Network grant to fact-check COVID-19 fake news, a Fellow of the prestigious Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism and also a 2021 awardee of the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting and is now focused on bridging the gap of access to information in Africa by utilising AI and other emerging technologies to build tools, resources and products that democratises access to information.

  • Dana Daniel – Dana Daniel-Zagi is a multimedia journalist with several years of experience in the field. Her journey began as a presenter/reporter, where she honed her skills in storytelling, news reporting and presenting. Her passion for inclusion and gender-sensitive reporting led her to explore critical issues related to women’s empowerment, maternal health, and education among others. 

Dana is currently the Gender Lead at Daily Trust Newspaper.

  • Glory Chidalu – Chidalu Glory is a versatile freelance journalist and communication expert with a strong passion for reporting on business and technology. She currently reports for UDEME, where she focuses on accountability and investigative journalism. Additionally, she works as a communication expert at the Solution Innovation District (SID), leveraging her expertise to drive effective communication strategies.
  • Peters Onyilo –  Peters Onyilo is a data analyst and cooperative AI researcher. He has a background in Mathematics, with a specialty in Game Theory and Optimization. He’s a 5X hackathon winner.

Peter is currently affiliated with Lagos Business School and National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

  • Abdulrafiu Izuafa – Abdulrafiu Izuafa is an AI/ML engineer and edtech entrepreneur passionate about leveraging technology for positive change. As the co-founder of Notes, he delivers tailored learning resources to students across Africa and the Caribbean. Earlier this year he was honoured as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for his contributions to the Excel community, where he shared knowledge through in-depth blog posts and open-source projects. A graduate of the ALX AiCE program, he gained a comprehensive understanding of AI/ML, focusing on ethical applications. His projects include developing personalised learning recommendation systems and AI-powered drone weapon detection systems. Active in the tech education sector, he volunteers as an instructor at Tech Optimum and serves as a judge for international youth competitions like Wevoi, Owlypia and technovation.

Abdulrafiu is the Co-founder of Notes, he’s an Instructor at Tech Optimum and SheCode Africa. 

  • Irene Ofori-Agyeman – Irene is a Microsoft-certified Power BI Data Analyst, Data Engineer, and Data Scientist skilled in Cloud Technologies, and proficient with data warehousing tools. She is a 2x Star performer at Saint Louis University, leading a team of Healthcare Consultants and Media Analysts.  As a researcher and founder of The Iridescence, she highlights community issues through journalistic research and advocacy. Irene leverages her skills to support several mission-driven organisations where her ultimate goal is to bridge the gaps between technology, healthcare, and gender-centric disparities in Africa, contributing to sustainable development and social impact. 

Irene currently works for Reputation Ghana Limited as the Office Manager, and also volunteers with Artificial Intelligence Ghana as a Programs Officer. 

  1. Chat-Journo: Chat-Journo is a chatbot that optimises the productivity of newsrooms and strengthens fact-based journalism by generating credible and reliable backstories for news articles.  

Team Members: 

  • Victor Ejechi – Leveraging over five years of experience, Victor Ejechi dissects complex business/economy issues using data analysis and visualisation to craft impactful stories for TheCable where he works as a senior data analyst/Business Journalists.
  • Kunle Daramola – Kunle Daramola is a political and investigative reporter with four years of experience. His writings cut across elections, climate change, labour, music and lifestyle.

Kunle currently works at TheCable news as an Investigative Journalist. 

  • Abasiodiong Udofia – Abasiodiong Udofia (Software Engineer)

Antecedent: Abasiodiong is a software engineer and AI expert with over 8 years of experience in software development and a proven track record of building complex AI systems.

Abasiodiong currently works for AJE-O LTD as a BAckend Developer. 

  • Abubakar Aliyu – Aliyu is a computer engineering graduate with a career interest spanning computational social science, data science, machine learning, and project management. He has a proven record of success in driving growth and innovation through data-driven insights and managing IT and traditional projects.

Abubakar currently works as a SEO Analyst at Wikki Times Media.

Each fellow is expected to commit 10 hours weekly to the fellowship as they join their teams in developing their proposed solutions.

Key Milestones in Fellowship:

  • Development of Minimum Viable Products: Over the next five months, fellows clustered into three teams will collaborate to build, test, and refine their Minimum Viable Products (MVPs).
  • MVP Showcasing at the MDC’24: Each team will showcase their MVPs to a global audience of media experts, journalists, and technologists at the 2024 CJID Media and Development Conference.
  • Grant Funding: Top-performing teams will receive grants to develop further and scale their MVPs for public use and widespread adoption.