The PUNCH Media Foundation (PMF) organised a two-day retreat for key players on the PUNCH HealthWise project, its flagship project, to review activities, programmes, and impact of the project over the last two years and to project for 2022. The retreat which had in attendance key players on the PUNCH HealthWise project was held at the Oguta Meeting Room of Sheraton Lagos Hotel on 13th and14th November 2021.
The Assistant Programme Officer of the PUNCH Media Foundation, Moses Ademola, who anchored the event for the day, welcomed all participants to the meeting while he introduced and stated the purpose of the meeting.
Setting the tone for the event, the Principal Programme Officer of the foundation, Rebecca Erureh, facilitated the session first session on the PUNCH HealthWise status review from 2020 till October 2021. Remarkable in the review were the highlights of PUNCH HealthWise metrics in 2020 which, between January and December 2020, was able to generate over 3.5M page views, 1.9M+ user visits, and more than 500K returning users. Erureh made it clear that though the figures looked good, more work was needed to drive the desired changes. She enjoined participants while sharing projected goals to take bolder and more intentional steps going forward. This, she added, will not only enable the team to surpass the set goals but to make sustainable impacts in the Nigerian health sector.
Similarly, the Acting Editor of PUNCH HealthWise, Moshood Yusuff, while reviewing editorial activities of the PUNCH HealthWise, pointed that the HealthWise team has been working diligently to achieve the objectives of the project amid challenges. He, however, observed that his experience on the desk has proved that the platform can indeed change the narrative in the health sector. He buttressed his submission with some of the success stories that have been recorded in the country as a result of reports by reporters on the desk.
Among the stories he alluded to was, “We can now breathe! Ogun community jubilates as Chinese recycling company relocates after PUNCH HealthWise report;” published after an initial story that showed clear medical evidence of hazardous health impact due to the operation of a recycling plant in a residential area in Ogun State. To cap his presentation, Moshood noted that there is a lot to be done on the project; more impact stories to be published, particularly bearing in mind that the country’s health indices are still ranked among the worst nations.
To achieve better outcomes and impact from stories in the coming year, the session, Using data to tell impactful stories, was featured in the retreat and was facilitated by the Insight and Intelligence Officer of PUNCH Newspapers, Olanrewaju Balogun. His presentation, which was essentially divided into three parts, was targeted at making reporters look in the direction of pulling traction to the website and generating reactions and impact from their data-based reports. Olanrewaju Balogun, among other things, emphasized the need for reporters to practically situate the data components of their reports in a context that the audience can easily relate to.
Crowning the first day of the retreat was the presentation on Ingredients of an impactful story by the Executive Director, Digital Operations & Publication, PUNCH Nigeria Limited, Adeyeye Joseph. The interactive session designed to be a lecture turned out to be an interactive class with some hands-on exercises for participants to understand the essential part of developing impactful stories – IDEATION. In this session, Joseph took participants through the process of developing impactful stories as journalists, noting that impact-generating stories do not just happen, but are outcomes of deliberate efforts and calculated actions. He added that a lot of research, deep and broad thinking go into every story that makes an impact. Thus, reporters must be ready to walk the talk and embrace the process.
The second day of the retreat had a largely different set of participants, thus, it was necessary to reiterate the statement of purpose for the retreat, which was done by the PMF Assistant Programme Officer, Moses Ademola, while welcoming participants. The PMF Principal Programme Officer, Rebecca Erureh did a quick rundown of the PUNCH Media Foundation Status from programmes and activities to Challenges and gaps, to lessons learnt and success stories from inception. She mentioned that the foundation has embarked on several projects with notable successes and impacts. Part of the success stories she mentioned included the impact stories from the PUNCH HealthWise project, better editorial output resulting from capacity-building workshops for reporters, and increased awareness on major health issues from responses and feedback garnered online via virtual events and reportage.
The Senior Media Officer of the Centre for Communication and Social Impact, Abuja, Seun Akioye was engaged to facilitate a session tagged Social impact and sustainable change: How to achieve both as a nonprofit. In his presentation, he mentioned that social change takes place when there is a structural shift in the status quo as well as an improvement of conditions around a particular situation. To put context to his presentation, Seun Akioye noted that social change can be achieved by the PUNCH Media Foundation through solution journalism which he described as rigorous and compelling reporting as responses to social problems.
The retreat ended on a charged note with the session dedicated to plans and projections for the foundation in 2022. The session was coordinated by the Executive Director, Digital Operations & Publication, PUNCH Newspapers, Adeyeye Joseph, who led participants – the PUNCH Media Foundation team – through strategic and critical deliberations on actionable plans to be implemented in 2022 towards driving sustainable change in focus areas as highlighted at the event.
The PUNCH Media Foundation Retreat, a two-day strategy meeting, was put together by the PUNCH Media Foundation to review the PUNCH HealthWise project activities while examining the roles of key implementers of the project and where these roles (and project activities) handshake the overall objective of the project.