When it comes to coaching and mentoring, Mr Lekan Otufodunrin, the Executive Director of Media Career Development Network, is one of the best. Although I engaged with most of his posts on social media, I became closer to him after being placed in his organisation for an internship by the Campus Reporter project of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development.
My internship started in the media organisation with familiarisation, coaching, and then action. My first task was a news report on a seminar on banditry ravaging Northern Nigeria hosted by the Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
I was trained in general news reporting, opinion writing, investigative journalism, broadcast journalism, and multimedia journalism. My second assignment was opinion writing, in which I cited my personal experience as advised by my supervisor.
Even though Media Career focuses on media-related reports, my supervisor, Lekan Otufodurin, still trained me in writing other types of pieces and getting them published on other platforms. I wrote my first news report on climate change after a webinar hosted by the National Union of Campus Journalists on climate and health reporting. The area seemed novel to me, but my supervisor guided me.
Once he edited my work, he would ask me to focus on changes. Any areas of journalism not clear to me or new to me were detailed and explained. One fantastic thing is that, apart from the formal aspect of my internship with Media Career, my supervisor and I were able to discuss life-related issues. He is very down to earth, very prompt and responsive, and always ready to support. He published my opinion piece about the role of the media in troubling times, which led to even more discussions between us.
During my internship, I learnt about the anatomy of news reporting, timing, the challenges of fieldwork and the necessity of pursuing the truth. I also learnt about the dichotomy of opinions and featured writing as well as the importance of attending training, events, and workshops as a journalist.
Apart from writing opinion pieces, I was tasked with writing news reports on webinars hosted by media institutes on different aspects of journalism. I also wrote on awards and physical events as well as a news report on the overall winner of the annual Campus Journalism Award hosted by Youths Digest.
I learnt that personal opinions are not welcome in investigative writing, rather what can be seen and what people I speak with say. My supervisor also advised me on funded stories, other opportunities and guided me in writing a funded story by Free Press Unlimited through Campus Reporter about bandits causing havoc to commercial drivers in Zamfara state.
My internship at Media Career also showed me that no one is an island of knowledge and that whenever I see something unusual on their platform, I should call their attention to it.
I was also mentored on how to promote excellence in the Nigerian media practice. With my supervisor’s timely suggestions, corrections, and advice, I learnt the importance of press freedom to a country’s democracy. My advancement in my career as a media man is due to the help of the Campus Reporters programme, communicative ideas and experiences shared, support, and direction rendered to me by my supervisor. I am very grateful for this opportunity, and it opened my eyes to “life after school.” All thanks to the Campus Reporters programme. I gained a lot of knowledge and benefited from this internship. I remain grateful, and it means a lot to my writing career and journalism.
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