Campus Reporter, a journalism project of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), trained 52 Campus Journalists and Mass Communication students at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS), Sokoto State.
The training was held at the University’s Faculty of Social Sciences Boardroom from Monday, 16 October to Thursday, 19 October 2023.
Campus Reporter is a platform created by CJID in collaboration with the Ford Foundation, and it is part of the CJID program to support “Evidence-based Multimedia and Investigative Journalism in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions”.
The project is built on evidence-based ethical reporting and youth engagement initiatives on campuses around Africa and has trained over 4,000 students across 36 campuses in West Africa.
The facilitators of the four-day training taught the participants evidence-based reporting, accountability journalism, and ways to hold powers to account.
In the introductory remark by Bisan Habu, the Partnerships and Grants Manager of CJID, he noted that Campus Reporter explores a Training-Internship-Mentorship (TIM) model to achieve media sustainability.
He said, “In the name of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, you will realise that there are many things we do, including journalism, innovation, verification, and development.”
Furthermore, he listed some of the projects that CJID has, such as the UDEME project, that pushes for accountability and transparency in government and interrogates budgeting and the procurement of constituency and ecological projects.
He also mentioned the Dubawa project that conducts fact checks to dispel fake news and champion Media and Information Literacy for societal development.
The Campus Reporter training introduced the students to ways journalism can be utilised for societal advancement. The participants were taken through sessions on Newsgathering, Tools for Investigative Reporting, Source Mapping, Interviewing Skills, introduction to Fact-Checking, Data Journalism, Gender-Transformative Approach to Storytelling, News Editing, and Collaborative editing tools, which were facilitated by renowned journalists from the Premium Times, Wikkitimes, Dubawa and CJID.
The training facilitators included Haruna Mohammed, the Publisher of WikkiTimes; Silas Jonathan, a Fact Checker and Researcher at Dubawa; Kabiru Yusuf, a Data Journalist at Premium Times; and Iretomiwa Dele-Yusuff, the Project Officer and Editor of Campus Reporter.
The facilitators paired the participants into five groups and requested them to pitch underreported issues in their campus community based on what they learned during the training. The facilitators reviewed the pitches and asked the participants to submit their stories a day before the training ended.
On Thursday, the last day of training, after submitting and assessing their report drafts, the facilitators acknowledged the participants’ performance and their efforts in imbibing the ethics of journalism and evidence-based journalism in their reportage.
In an interview with the Project Officer and Editor of Campus Reporter, Iretomiwa Dele-Yusuff, she said, “The campus journalism training at UDUS has been great. We were able to actualise everything we planned to and even more.
We were able to fill the knowledge gap we found among the participants. In particular, we noticed their inhibitions towards accountability journalism on campus and were able to dispel their fears.”
“The participants are also quite receptive to the knowledge they got, and comparing the first day and last day, we saw a lot of improvement in their positivity towards journalism on campus.
The training increased their zeal to see their society work efficiently, and their interviewing and source mapping skills improved. The training is an excellent initiative by the CJID to encourage media sustainability and train journalists to carry out evidence-based reporting on campus.”
She added that the participants were quite eager to learn; on the first day, they were reserved, but as the days went on, they began to speak out more, and it was also a delight to see the females speak and flow the class.
Ms Dele-Yusuff advised the participants to keep at it and read more to be good reporters. She also encouraged them to be disciplined in publishing at least one story per week to build up their skills and launch into the media space before graduation.
A participant in the training, Ayinla Abdulbasit Olorunoje, expressed his gratitude to the program’s organisers.
“I would like to thank the National Association of Campus Journalists, UDUS, for organising the program for us, and CJID for honouring us with excellent and sound training. Thank you to the Campus Reporter project’s team for the time, dedication and determination in building vibrant journalists.
The training was eye-opening as things that were not known to us were introduced to us by our facilitators. The importance of data inclusion was also one of the significant things I learned during the training. I rate my journalism knowledge as average before the training. I can say my knowledge is beyond the average level now as I learned numerous things during the training,” Mr Olorunoje said.
Aisha Kamaldeen, another participant and a Mass Communication student, narrated that “the training program was designed to be both educational and engaging, providing a structured and well-organised learning experience. The facilitators were knowledgeable, experienced, passionate and enthusiastic about the subject matter.
“This made the training informative and enjoyable, as it felt like a journey of exploration and discovery. I left the training feeling enlightened and enriched, with a deeper understanding of the concepts covered. It was an incredibly positive and worthwhile experience,” Ms Kamaldeen said.
Speaking with the President of the National Association of Campus Journalists (NACJ), Abdulwasiu Olokooba, told this reporter, “From the first day I assumed this office as NACJ President, it has been my mission, it has been my dream to work on how to empower our people, and to expose our people to a lot of opportunities in the media space.”
He further underscored the importance of capacity building to career advancement.
Mr Olokooba charged the participants to practice all they learned during the training and utilise the skills to advance their careers.
At the closing ceremony of the training, participants were presented with certificates. They were also informed that they could send their stories to Ms Dele-Yusuff, the Campus Reporter editor, with the required guidelines for editing and publishing.
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