Veterans enjoin reporters to strive for excellence towards impactful journalism

The new reporters converged again with much excitement and eagerness at the PUNCH Place for week (2) two of the PUNCH Immersion Training from Monday, 12thto Saturday 17th April 2021 to learn and glean journalism best practices from veterans engaged.

Fisayo Soyombo, Founder and Editor of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism took the session on the fundamentals of investigative journalism. He described investigative journalism as a tool that can be used to bring about desirable change in society. He added that investigative journalism requires one to be a calculated risk-taker, an analytical planner, a relentless worker, and one that believes in causes and would not accept ‘no’ for an answer. As indicated by him, investigative journalism is a potent way by which abnormalities can be uncovered, punished, and stopped in any society.

Similarly, Emmanuel Mayah, Founder of Satellite Times and a multiple award-winning investigative journalist, noted that investigative journalistssometimes put their lives at risk for a greater cause of exposing the evil that is being perpetrated and making sure culprits are brought to book. Among many instances, he citeda time when he had to acquire skills on illicit finance investigation from the City University, London; and how he was able to engage the knowledge and skills he acquired to unearth corrupt practices in the public space.

While taking trainees through the essentials of presentation and interviews, Bimbo Oloyede, Lead trainer at Strictly Speaking Academy, emphasised the importance of consulting in conducting great interviews. She noted that while one is preparing for an interview, one must consult materials, friends, colleagues, superiors, among others. She observed that great interviews are such that answer questions that are burning in the minds of people, so a good interviewer must be able to know things that people wish to know, and be confident and polite in asking those questions to elicit the right responses. In responding to a question asked byone of the reporters who wanted to know how best to strike a balance between a house style and a reporter’s style of writing, Bimbo Oloyede affirmed that reporters can follow the style of their organisation while keeping their unique way of presentation and writing which is where the uniqueness and originality of the individual reporter and journalist is revealed.

In accentuating the import of his session on “Follow-ups: A Key Element for Change”, Samson Folarin, the Head of Metro desk, PUNCH Newspapers, referred to a popular quote by George Orwell – “Journalism is printing what someone somewhere does not want reported. Every other thing is mere public relations”. By this, Mr Folarin indicated that journalism is for the strong-hearted; people who will not give up on their goal of correcting societal ills and seeing the birth of a free and fair world.

The PUNCH immersion training, an initiative of the PUNCH Media Foundationin 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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