The need to train and retrain journalists in their field of work cannot be overstated.
That’s why two amazons in the person of Ibiba Don Pedro and Constance Meju, who broke the glass ceiling in the media industry and achieved a lot, thought it was wise to train young journalists from the Niger Delta region to improve their work.
Of course, they’ve seen it all in the media industry, having each practiced for over 30 years. Thus, their experience in the media industry cannot be underestimated.
Yet mainstream media is currently at odds with social media lately, with social media posing a high threat to mainstream media; why there should be training and retraining of journalists from time to time. Keeping this in mind, these two women who have contributed their part to the development of the society saw fit to organize the training to encourage the younger generation of journalists.
Run on the National Point/Foreward Communications platform with support from the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism and the Mac Arthur Foundation, the two-day training, which took place in Port Harcourt, brought together approximately 49 journalists from across the Niger Delta region.
Participants were trained on topics such as ethics, media and development, democratizing the budgeting process in state and local government, data journalism, gender-sensitive reporting, reporting on human rights, investigative journalism, among other topics.
In his address, Ibiba Don Pedro, Managing Director of National Point Newspapers and Foreword Communications Limited, said investigative journalism was very important in the job of a journalist, saying it went beyond reporting . She argued that investigative journalism unearths information, data and exposes wrongdoing and in doing so it guarantees that there will be redress.
She said, “For example, someone’s rights have been violated or someone who is in charge of a public office loots the funds. It is the journalist’s duty to explain how it happened and expose it to the public and ensure that if it is a criminal case, justice is done.
And if it is a violation of human rights, for example, the person obtains reparation and closure. Encouraging journalists, she said, “Journalism that creates a kind of journalist, comfortable, passionate and always ready to do his job comes from a booming economy. Adding that there was no way to have a journalist who was comfortable and able to uphold the ethics of the profession.
“For example, you are told not to collect money from people who are at the center of what you are investigating. You should not do this because you will become biased. It is possible, but the only way to do it is to work and be aware of these challenges and realities and know that journalists have to be paid if you want to uphold these kinds of principles.
“We have to take responsibility and be ready to do what we can to change this society. We need to hold ourselves accountable and there are resources for journalists around the world. I always want to encourage others to stay and if I encourage you to stay then I have to be part of the process so you don’t collect money and those are some of the things we start doing with supper
Port of Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism and the Mac Arthur Foundation. “What we face today is global. The media space is changing and we must change with it. You have to work more. You can create a blog or a U tube page where you have information that people can pay for,” she advised. Speaking on gender sensitive reporting,
Constance Meju, editor of National Point, said gender-sensitive reporting is about portraying issues related to both genders fairly. She said, “It’s about representing gender issues fairly, because we believe and understand that for the world to move forward, both genders need to work together.
We talk about it because in Nigeria, there is a serious under-representation of women. “We want the media to think of women when they write their stories. Many women are qualified to make contributions to development and we want to hear their voices and see their faces because if we don’t hear their voices you won’t know the issues that matter to them.
And you can’t come up with good policies if you don’t understand what women stand for. Meju continued, “Women make up half of the population of this country and they contribute to the economic development of this country. Thus, our society should take into consideration their needs, anxieties and expectations.
Speaking on data journalism, Sunny Dada said that data journalism is a very important part of practicing journalism today, adding that as a journalist, one of the qualities you should have is to understand times and trends. Dada said, “The challenge we have in our society right now is that the reading culture is gradually decreasing and many people are getting impatient to stay on longer content.
As a journalist, if you need to get people to pay attention to your content, you need to find a creative way to get your message across quickly without losing the reader’s interest, and “one of the best ways to do that is to engage in data journalism “Data journalism, Dada said, uses lesser words, but conveys messages through sets of data that include the variables that are highly relevant to the topic one wants to communicate .
He said, “Data journalism will help you investigate this latent factor. So you need to investigate the links and capture them so that they talk about the topic. Along with this, it gives you a broader understanding of the subject.
He added that: “Every journalist should be able to understand how the trend is changing,” adding that “if you don’t update yourself over time, you find out that you’ve become redundant in the industry. “Since journalism evolves from word journalism to data journalism, the journalist must also evolve in terms of knowledge, use of tools”, adding that the average journalist should update himself in the knowledge of the use of these tools.
Speaking on Ethics, Media and Development, Amaopusenibo Bobo Brown, Former President of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, revealed that the first thing is that the Nigerian journalist must understand that the global market is competitive and that he must organize himself to be competitive in terms of news management. Brown said breaking news is not like it used to be, adding that the Nigerian journalist cannot compete with some foreign media for breaking news.
He said, “We can create our own breaking news by pointing in the direction that has hindered development in our regions and in our country. We can work together. Nigerian journalists must plan to break the structural barrier of operating alone by planning to work together and collaborate on important stories that can help our people understand the reason for poverty in our country and the reason for lack of development.
He said journalists can start targeting Nigerian Diaspora communities wherever they are with our stories to track the huge sums of money that have left Nigeria as a result of collaboration between politicians and some of our sons and daughters abroad. “To track projects that have been promised, voted on, money delivered and yet not delivered.
The ability of Nigerian Diaspora communities to invest in Nigeria’s economic recovery, adding that every year Nigeria constitutes the largest donor community of foreign remittances to Africa. “So through collaboration, Nigerian journalists have to work to create that because
without this, the economy will not regain efficiency, will not regain competitiveness and poverty will remain dominant in our environment.
He said. Styvn Obodoekwe, a human rights activist, who teaches human rights reporting, said human rights journalism is a style of reporting that offers critical reflection on the experience and the needs of victims of human rights violations, adding that it is journalism that challenges, rather than reinforces, impunities.
He said human rights are important for all people, not just those who face repression or abuse in society, adding that under human rights treaties, governments have the primary responsibility to protect and promote human rights.
Obodoekwe noted that not only the government, but also businesses, civil society and individuals are responsible for promoting and respecting human rights, adding that governments are required to ensure that human rights are respected. are protected both by preventing human rights violations and by providing effective remedies for those whose rights are violated.
He said journalists have an important role to play in the promotion and protection of human rights, saying that journalistic spotlights on human rights issues are believed to have the potential to create positive impacts on responsible governance and development in society. “Journalists are therefore encouraged to emphasize human rights in the exercise of their functions.
Another guest speaker, Henry Eferegbo, who spoke on the dissection of interventionist agencies in the Niger Delta with reference to the benefits of host communities from the Nigeria Local Content Development and Monitoring Board, said that the selection of candidates for trainings and contracts should only be done through the NOGICJQS platform and must be verified. by the management of the zonal coordination and management projects of the management.
He said: “For the purposes of a direct training intervention, the selection of training programs should be based on the outcome of the periodic needs assessment anchored by the community content committee and should be tailored to provide the required skills. that will advance the unique human development needs of the oil and gas industry and host communities, among others.