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Campus Reporter Trains 40 Campus Journalists in MAPOLY to Advance Evidence-Based Journalism

The Campus Reporter project of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) trained 40 campus journalists in the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic from Tuesday, 5 September to Friday, 8 September. Since its inception in 2017, the Campus Reporter project has trained over 4,000 students across institutions in West Africa, and the MAPOLY is the 35th institution visited.

The training began with a round of introductions of some officials of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, including the Rector, Dr Adeoye Odedeji, and the Head of Department, Dr Lekan Togunwa.

The session continued with the introduction of the training faculty, including Tobi Oluwatola, the Executive Director of the CJID; Busola Ajibola, the Deputy Director of Journalism at CJID; Iretomiwa Dele-Yusuff, the Project Officer of the Campus Reporter project. Others were Titilope Fadare, a multimedia journalist at Premium Times; Elizabeth Ogunbawo, a fact checker and researcher at Dubawa; and Oladeinde Olawoyin, a Business Editor at Premium Times.

On behalf of the CJID, the Campus Reporter project presented some publications to the MAPOLY library, including the Gender-Based Violence Reporting handbook and a training manual on Press Freedom. The Rector, Dr Odedeji, appreciated the CJID for their efforts towards championing the growth of student journalists to become skilled enough to take over journalism soon.

Cross section of CJID participants and MAPOLY management

In his session titled “Newsgathering and Tools for Investigative Reporting”, Mr. Olawoyin took the participants through his experience in journalism. He noted that a good journalist is calm, collected, informed, has a good news sense and is objective. He also said that it is vital for a journalist to build sources and credibility.

While taking a “Multimedia Journalism” session, Ms. Fadare explained that “when reporting sensitive cases that can potentially victimise the interviewee, a journalist can either blur out their face or interview the person with their back turned to the camera.”

Titilope Fadare teaching Multimedia Journalism

She also noted that children’s identities should not be revealed to protect them. She further explained that “journalists must seek consent before taking photos of people because there is a law of privacy, and breeching it could entail legal issues.”

Furthermore, Ms. Fadare stated that close-up shots are essential to adequately capture everything about a person, including a person’s facial expression.

As the training continued, the forty participants were grouped into four with the intent that they form pseudo-media organisations and write stories based on all they had learned during the training.

Ms Ogunbamowo, a fact-checker and researcher at Dubawa, taught the participants about fact-checking. She advised that the campus journalists should be curious and know how to spot fake news. She noted that fake news usually goes viral, and many innocently share it without knowing better.

Elizabeth Ogunbamowo teaching Fact Checking

The second training day began as the students shared their story ideas and received the facilitators’ feedback. Recall that the 40 students were grouped into four and charged to write stories affecting their communities.

In the first session of the day, Mr. Olawoyin taught the participants media ethics and safe practices for campus journalism. He stressed the importance of social responsibility to achieve impact for their stories and charged the campus journalists always to have their community’s best interest at heart.

As the training continued, Dr. Oluwatola, the Executive Director of CJID, took a session titled “Solutions Journalism”. In his session, he taught that “solution stories provide solutions to challenges and report how such approaches can be replicated.”

Dr Tobi Oluwatola teaching Solutions Journalism

“To avoid becoming advocates and PR officers, use concrete data, avoid overusing adjectives and superlatives, and not overclaim”, he said. He noted that solution stories are not PR or activism but evidence-based reportage.

In his session, Yusuf Akinpelu, a British Broadcasting Commission (BBC) journalist, took the participants through data journalism and how data provides factual information that makes stories credible. He also taught them tools for sourcing data and how they can be analysed.

In the last session of the day, Busola Ajibola explained the difference between sex and gender and why it is essential to factor in all genders and perspectives to ensure inclusion. She also noted that gender stereotypes do more damage than good, and journalists must strive to eliminate these in their reports.

Busola Ajibola teaching Gender-transformative approach to storytelling

On the third day of the training, Iretomiwa Dele-Yusuff, the project officer of the Campus Reporter project, took the students through the use of Google Docs and Grammarly for editing. She also noted that “Google Docs encourages journalists to collaborate on story writing and editing. Use Google Docs to share real-time updates on your work.”

The campus journalists were guided to write news reports, feature stories and investigations during the practical session of the training. Ms Ajibola, Mr Olawoyin and Mr Akinpelu provided feedback on their reports and encouraged them to seek the community’s best interest.

On the last day of the training, Ms. Ajibola taught the students safety tips that will be helpful to them as journalists. She advised them to inform trusted people around them before embarking on investigations. She also advised them to be very cautious and observant, and abide by the profession’s ethics.

Ms Dele-Yusuff also introduced them to using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). She noted that “it was enacted in the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2011 to access information from public institutions.”

She also carried out a practical use of the Campus Reporter app created to help campus journalists structure their stories.

The four-day training ended with a vote of thanks from Dr Odedeji, the institution’s Rector.

Participants, training faculty and the MAPOLY management

“I want to congratulate you for having the rare privilege to access information, techniques, skills, and competence to become journalists. Whatever you learned during this training must not be allowed to die here so that when you graduate, you will have some of your stories to reference in your job search. You can only achieve this through hard work, consistency and focus.”

To wrap up the training, the CJID team presented certificates of participation to the participants.

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