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Media Practitioners Kick-off Story Clinic In Honour Of Late Shola Ilesanmi

Media practitioners have initiated the Shola Ilesanmi Solutions Journalism Prize for Campus Reporters to immortalise Shola Ilesanmi on his 37th posthumous birthday.

Mr Ilesanmi, who died on 1 March 2022 after a brief illness, was an investigative reporter and the Ondo state correspondent of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 

Speaking at the storytelling clinic held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Multipurpose Hall of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA) on Thursday, 20 April, Paul Akinduro, noted that the day was Mr Ilesanmi’s posthumous birthday and the prize would support campus reporters to write about social issues across the nation. 

Mr Akinduro, the former Special Adviser on Digital Communications to former Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, said Mr Ilesanmi was a fact-checker with Agence France-Presse, a French international news agency headquartered in Paris and he was a vibrant journalist with a quest for details and facts.

He noted that Mr Ilesanmi, who died after a brief illness, was a friend and mentor.

Mr Akinduro further disclosed that some international journalists would mentor the grant winners for one month to develop impactful stories that would be published in national dailies.

Participants of the story clinic

Speaking on identifying health stories, Onikanola Ogidan, a broadcast journalist at Adaba FM, Akure, advised the campus reporters to take note of public health issues ranging from family planning, methods, and the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Ms Ogidan stated that pitching a story signifies the start of a journey. She also enlightened the participants to avoid using catchy headlines when pitching story ideas.

Another speaker, Juliet Buna, a broadcast journalist at Crest FM, Ibadan, spoke on story pitching and urged the journalists to bring in new angles to make their pitches stand out for faster consideration.

Speaking further, Ms Buna said reporters should be more creative and explore new terrain.

“What makes your pitches different are the new touch, uniqueness, deep knowledge of the issue, the affected people, and the suggested solution. Read widely and broaden your knowledge as a reporter”, she said. 

She continued, “Journalism is beyond quoting but going the extra mile. Always look for a solution to every problem because some villages do not have electricity and what are the things to do to facilitate electricity, etc.”

Also, Rahaman Yusuf of BBC shared guidelines on filtering stories before publication. “One of the notable guidelines is having contacts that can provide credible information, and if you don’t have any, then you must be there to confirm the story’s authenticity,” he said.

Mr Yusuf said journalists should not rush to break the news, especially when unsure if the story is genuine. 

“Screen your sources properly by cross-checking them with other reliable sources before taking the story to the editor. The main priority as a journalist is giving accurate stories.”

Mr Akinduro noted that the application for story grants had been extended by ten days and will now close on 30 April 2023.

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