As part of its efforts to support evidence-based campus journalism in Nigerian tertiary institutions, the Centre for Journalism, Innovation and Development (CJID) has trained over 50 students at the University of Uyo.
The CJID, formerly Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, implemented the programme through its social accountability and advocacy project, UDEME.
Participants at the four-day intensive training, which was held from January 24 to 28, were drawn from the institution’s Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ) and the Department of Communication Arts.
The students were introduced to the tools of investigative journalism, storytelling, media ethics, budgetary and procurement processes, fact-checking and multimedia reporting.
They also learnt hands-on skills in data journalism, gender-sensitive and inclusive reporting, as well as how to use the Campus Reporter Android application, designed to provide a template for reporting basic issues, events and activities within and around their campus communities.
Busola Ajibola, the coordinator of CJID’s Campus Reporter programme, said the training was aimed at building the next generation of Nigerian journalists who will embody ethical attitudes, the culture of professionalism and the spur for groundbreaking innovations.
“We hope to build a cohort of the next generation of young journalists who can take over the media ecosystem in Nigeria and that are equipped with the digital and ethical skills required to sustain our newsrooms and think media innovations that can ensure that we are able to build an economically viable media within and beyond West Africa,” she said.
Ini Ekott, Premium Times’ deputy managing editor, who led students through the elements of investigative reporting and writing, urged the young journalists to recognise the importance of applying the skills they learned to help deepen accountability in governance.
“We need to inform, educate and even arouse the people to make informed decisions and make society better,” he said.
Commending CJID for the initiative, the Dean of the newly-created Faculty of Communication Studies, Peter Esuh, who represented the Vice-Chancellor, stressed the need for collaborations between the university and the organisation for improved engagements.
“We are grateful for this opportunity. It is essential and timely, especially now that we have a department of journalism following the NUC unbundling. So I would request that we collaborate to sustain this and engage our students beyond this training,” the professor of Marketing Communications and Applied Rhetoric, said.
One of the participants, Victory Simeon, a 100-level student of Communication Arts, said the training exposed her to various aspects of journalism and has helped build her confidence and interest in writing.
“I got to learn about gender-sensitive reporting, fact-checking and other aspects of journalism that I never knew. I would like to appreciate CJID for the opportunity,” she said.
Iniobong Promise, another participant, said he was inspired by the importance of journalism in society and has “started putting some of the skills learnt during the training, into practice.”
CJID Director of Programmes, Adedeji Adekunle, who described the feedback from participants as encouraging, said he was hopeful that they will make great impacts as journalists and as members of their communities.
“The participants were very responsive and participatory. I expect that they will go and put what they’ve learnt into practice. I am really optimistic about the great work they are going to do as journalists and as advocates for a better society. I am looking forward to the success stories and testimonials that will come,” he said.