I feel privileged to be a part of the second cohort of the 2021 four-month-long CJID/Campus Reporter internship placement. I was assigned to TheCable newspaper and I worked under the mentorship and supervision of Taiwo Adebulu, the Head of the fact-checking desk of the newsroom. The engagement gave me the opportunity to acquire more practical knowledge and experience of journalism and how newsrooms work.
Throughout the programme, I worked with the fact-checking desk of the media outfit and I was also given the opportunity to learn and contribute to other desks in the newsroom. Here is a highlight of things I learned in the period of the internship programme.
In September when I joined the medium, the first reports I worked on were on the five family members who were killed by bandits in Kebbi state and a report concerning the shutdown of telecommunications in Sokoto state. My supervisor charged me to read the published versions of my reports and made me understand that every newsroom has an in-house style that I should read and take note of the corrections.
On the 22nd of September, I submitted a report concerning the son of the Sokoto Governor’s aide who was jailed for sharing nude videos. The report was rejected because it was not an exclusive story as other platforms had reported it. My supervisor advised me to try and do more analyses, investigations and special reports.
On the same day, I submitted a report on how mobs burned the house of a commissioner in Sokoto and my supervisor advised me to request multimedia evidence from my sources to make my reports more credible.
I was given the assignment to verify a viral video and with the aid of TinEye, Google reverse image, and Invid, we tracked the source of the viral video and it was found to be true.
In November 2021, I was officially assigned to the fact check desk of the newsroom and my first assignment was to verify the veracity of a quote attributed to Wole Soyinka claiming that he said he would support Tinubu’s presidential ambition. The fact-check was done and the claim was found out to be false.
Other fact checks I worked on included a fact-check on a viral photo used to claim that Obi Cubana took pictures with EFCC officials after he was released as well as the fact-check of an audio clip which was used to claim that Pastor Mbaka of Enugu state said Soludo would not become a governor. Unfortunately, the fact check could not be published because I was unable to find the source of the clip.
On the 19th of November, I submitted a special report on the anguish of Sokoto farmers displaced by bandits. The story was funded by Free Press Unlimited through the Campus Reporter Project of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), formerly known as the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ). Another report done in November was a report on the inauguration of the ‘Law Reform Commission’ in Imo State.
In December, I wrote a report on how a Nigerian entrepreneur is turning waste into renewable gas. I also completed a fact-check on four photos shared by social media users to portray bandit attacks in Sokoto. At the end of the year, I was asked to compile major fact-checks done by TheCable which shaped events in 2021.
In January, I carried out several fact-checks including one on a Garuda Indonesian air crash story, two on Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s claims in public speeches and another on the president of the country. All were found to be untrue and this allowed me to understand the necessity of fact-checking and verification in public discourse.
In summary, the internship has enabled me to garner experience in the aspect of fact-checking as I received intensive training on sourcing, researching and writing factchecks. I was also able to work on doctored multimedia content meant to mislead the public, false quote attribution and other misleading content. I also had the opportunity to work on some feature stories and news reports which were published on TheCable newspaper’s website.
During the internship, I was able to learn how to work under short deadlines, how to source for newsworthy events and how to verify any piece of information. The internship gave me the opportunity to have more quality publications which have enriched my journalism portfolio and made me suitable for several opportunities.
On a final note, my sincere appreciation goes to the CJID and its Campus Reporter platform for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this incredible opportunity.
My special gratitude goes to Mrs Ajibola, the coordinator of the Campus Reporter project for her support, mentorship, understanding and patience throughout the internship period. I express my sincere gratitude to Asari Ndem for sparing time and resources to edit my stories right from when I joined the Campus Reporter platform as a student journalist and other CJID staff who have had a hand in the project.
My profound gratitude goes to TheCable newspaper and TheCable foundation for supporting the project and for giving me the platform to explore and acquire concrete journalism knowledge and experience.
I express my ultimate gratitude to my mentor and supervisor, the Head of Fact Check desk at TheCable, Mr Taiwo Adebulu for making out time to mentor me and oversee my publications, I cannot thank him enough for the beautiful advice, rare patience and unflinching support in the course of this programme.
As I continue my journey on this path with the hope for a greater platform and bigger opportunities, I hope to harness the knowledge and experience acquired to illuminate the darkness and hold the authorities accountable through courageous investigative reporting.
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