PUNCH trainees charged to be obsessed with solving societal problems

The PUNCH trainees were fired up to be focused and obsessed with solving societal problems through impactful storytelling at the third and last week of the immersion training,from 19th to 24th April 2021 at the PUNCH Place, Magboro.

Using the analysis and presentation of data to address pressing social needs formed the crux of the session facilitated by Blaise Aboh, a founding partner of Orodata Science Nigeria (OSN). Blaise Aboh guided the trainees on the basics of data reporting and emphasized that whenever journalists are presenting data reports, it is best approached from a problem-solving perspective. Thus, data journalists should be interested in giving insights through their data analysis in such a manner that people can hold the government to account, thereby fulfilling their watchdog role on crime reporting,

Juliana Francis, Editor on the Crime desk of the New Telegraph Newspaper listed some of the ethics that guide crime and judiciary reporting to include, fairness, balance, and objectivity. She urged reporters not to write reports based on some preconceived notion or subjective stance, but on evidence and facts.

The fact-checking session was facilitated by Mayowa Tijani, a Business and Development Editor at TheCable. He categorized fake news into seven groups including, Satire, Misleading Content, Imposter Content, Fabricated Content, False Connection, False Context, and Manipulated Content. In doing fact-checking, Mayowa Tijani advised that reporters must be curious, not just taking every evidence, particularly, picture evidence, as facts. He noted that reporters need to treat evidence independently, to be able to separate facts from falsehood.

While pointing at how competence can be developed by journalists, Nneka Okekearu, the Deputy Director of the Enterprise Development Centre, noted that usually, one expresses confidence in one’s area of competence. Hence, urging journalists to build competence by being intentional in learning on the job through training attendance, participation in new projects, and pursuit of relevant studies, among others.

Motunrayo Alaka, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, in highlighting the place of research in journalism noted that curiosity, which birth research, is a skill that any impact-driven journalist should possess. She stressed that journalists who would pull their weights must pay attention to details, show courage amid difficulty, and follow up on their story until results are gotten.

In the same way, Yinka Egbokhare (PhD), a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication and Language Arts at the University of Ibadan, and writer maintained that no good report or writing is done once. Thus, indicating that journalists should review their reports adequately before getting them published. She also encouraged reporters to be good researchers, knowing that every great report should have some sort of exposition, such that will leave readers, regardless of the level of their orientation, with the impression that they have learnt something new.

Among other resource persons engaged to walk trainees through the rudiments of journalism at the PUNCH immersion training were Lekan Adetayo, the acting Head of the Abuja Bureau of the PUNCH; Adesola Ayo-Aderele, Editor of PUNCH HealthWise; Gbemiga Ogunleye, the immediate past Provost of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism; Yemi Kolapo, the Group Managing Director and Editor in Chief at Right Dev Limited, publishers of The Point Newspapers; and Isabella Adediji, Founder and Managing Director of Yellow Tamarind Production.

The PUNCH immersion training, an initiative of the PUNCH Media Foundation in collaboration with PUNCH Nigeria Limited, is designed to build the capacity of new reporters in the employ of PUNCH, equipping them with the right skill-set to drive change through storytelling, as well as stir a burning passion for ethical and accountable journalism in them.

PUNCH Media Foundation (PMF) is a non-governmental organisation established in 2019 with a mission to stimulate a just and thriving society using the instrument of public policy advocacy, journalism, and media development.

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