NIGERIA. Niger State: DAILY NIGERIA, an online news portal, and The Penlight Center have educated around 16 journalists on grassroots investigative reporting in Minna, the Niger state capital in North-central Nigeria, in order to instill the spirit of investigative journalism in young and future journalists in Nigeria.
During the two-day event, with the theme Grassroots Investigative Reporting For Sustainable Development, Jaafar Jaafar, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of DAILY NIGERIA, an online newspaper, virtually took the participants through the nitty-gritty aspect of ‘Introduction to Investigative Journalism’ and urged journalists and participants to be cautious of the ethics of the journalism profession. He also advised them always to evaluate their stories.
On the other hand, Jaafar stated that the essence of investigative journalism is to uncover every concealed truth by holding government authorities, nonprofit groups, commercial sectors, and individuals accountable for their actions.
“Every journalist must exercise caution when dealing with government officials since they are extremely dangerous when dealing with journalists,” Jaafar said.
Yushau Shuaib, Chief Editor and Founder of PRNigeria, spoke virtually on the first day of the program, shaping the participants’ horizons on investigative journalism for development.
As a result, Yushau stated, “the delight of development journalism and journalism is to expand on existing fact or information gained from your source.”
“Every journalist will be able to tell a balanced tale due to this.”
“Always have an idea of what the profession is all about before venturing into it as it is very tasky and demanding. Also information, objectivity and fairness should be considered when practicing journalism,” he added.
Day two of the workshop
Dr. Mohammed Aliyu Dantala, Head of the Mass Communication Department at the Fati Lami Abubakar Institute for Legal and Administrative Studies in Minna, Niger State, discusses “Multimedia Reporting and Sourcing for Investigative Stories” with the participants.
“There is a need for journalists to turn their investigative journalism searchlight to government agencies and ministries as many irregularities and sharp practices are happening in those places,” he said.
“Other places to be investigated are local government, wards, communities, individual and social groups,” Dantala added.
Olajide Adelana, who taught the participants how to “Develop and Pitch Investigative Stories,” explained that presenting humanly interesting stories began with picking on a topic about which you as a writer have a lot of expertise and passion.
“Pitching a story idea started when a reporter or journalist has adequate idea and understanding of the story’s why, how, and who,” Adelana noted.
Opinions of the participants
The workshop, which included traditional, online, and broadcast media participants, took place on May 13 and 14.
Fatima Zahra Mohammed, a journalist with the regional online platform InsightMinna, said the course was “eye-opening,”, especially in investigative reporting.
“I always see investigative journalism as those who have spent long years in the profession. Whenever investigative journalism is mentioned, my mind often goes to danger, but now, this workshop has made me realize everything,” Mohammed said.
Another attendee, Primeprogressive’s Akuma Victor, stated that the entire training session was educational and exciting.
“I learned a lot, especially on solution journalism, sourcing news stories, story ideas, etc.”
Other participants include; Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga of Transcontinental Times, Spain, Usman Babangida Abdullahi of Ultimate FM, Awotunde Ibrahim Adeyinka, Harajana Umar Ragada, Ultimate FM, Muhammad Muhammad, Crystal FM, Husseini Yusuf, Prestige FM, and Aisha Hussaina Idris Manarakis, Badeggi FM, Abubakar Adamu Kuta, Niger State Ministry of IMF& Strategy Minna, Alabidun Abdulrahman, Media commerce, Shehu Umar, Dada Jemimah and Umar Yunusa of Daily Nigeria.
In his closing remarks, Project Manager Mohammed Dahiru Lawal stated that journalists in Niger State are being trained and equipped with investigative reporting tools in order to achieve meaningful development and long-term goals.
On the other hand, Lawal stated that trained journalists are encouraged to present story ideas to the organization to gain financial backing for the report.
The training, which focuses on three states: Gombe, Kano, and Niger, is funded by the MacArthur Foundation and the Wale Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WASCIJ).