AFYMP Trains 36 ‘Next-Generation Journalists’ on Reporting for Impact

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Yinka Olaito
Executive Director of the AFYMP

The Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals (AFYMP) on May 6, 2023, trained 36 campus journalists of The Polytechnic in Ibadan, Oyo State, who are members of the Press Council which is a conglomerate of all writing units in The Ibadan Polytechnic Campus under the Foundation’s  “Reporting for Impact” project.

The training began with a welcome address by the President of the Press Council, Comrade Joshua Adetunji, who enjoined members of the Press Council to pay rapt attention to the training saying it will equip them and enhance the quality of their news report.

Mr Yinka Olaito, AFYMP Executive Director, in his introductory remarks started by familiarizing participants with the project ‘Reporting for Impact’ and also expatiated on the learning objectives of the training.

He told participants that to make impactful news reports requires that journalists have a good knowledge of ethics, safety, news gathering skills, professional storytelling techniques and data journalism. he reminded them that journalists are into the profession to make change, and that to make change in their society, they must have the determination to report for impact. He said a journalist must know what they stand for.

Yinka told participants that there are several issues that are newsworthy and as committed journalist, participants should have eyes and nose for stories. He also urged them to be conscious of their safety as student journalists to avoid having issues with the school authority and encouraged them not to stop at just writing a one-off story but rather follow up their stories. The essence of every story, according to him, is to create a change. He said to write a story that will make a change requires accurate data (being sure of facts and figures), having credible sources, a balanced story with different perspectives.

He listed ethics, fairness, responsibility, honesty, good moral values, integrity, neutrality, and not stereotyping their subjects as the responsibilities and values journalists should have.

He pointed out that it is important to be aware of the established law within their campus community while encouraging them to read the guidelines in their student handbook so as to avoid violating the established rule within the community.

In reporting for impact, Yinka said a journalist must ask himself a number of questions including: Why am I doing the story and documentary? Who is the story for? Which platform will I use to disseminate my content? Do I understand the basic skills that will be used for dissemination e.g Video editing skills, voice over skill, graphics designing skills?

He also encouraged participants to identify their target audience as it will affect their language use, adding it is best to use multi-media platforms to enhance news stories.

He said a journalist should ask himself: What changed after the story? Giving example of how to report for impact, he gave example of a campus journalist writing about the bushy environment in his school and its implication on student safety. He said if the school authority clears the bush, the journalist should report about it, if not, he should continue to report.

Taking participants through the steps to producing impactful stories, he listed research, , knowing how long it will take to write and edit, do a first draft, read it again, verify and facts and figures, gather data, know when to publish. He said social media was a necessity and encouraged them to promote their stories, keep an eye on the impact and follow up.

He said AFYMP was ready to mentor interested participants through its online news platform Nigerian Grassroots news.

In her session, Bolanle Oduekun, a health Journalist, who facilitated a session on “health reporting for impact” advised participants against creating panic through their stories. She said: “Even if there is a health epidemic, stick to facts and figures and tell your target audience what to do to be safe, not just to send the wrong signal. This will start from the headlines, language use and how the situation is portrayed in your story”.

An essential part of health journalism that makes an impact, she added, is data and authenticity of source information. This she said, is essential during an outbreak. She encouraged them to be sure their sources have the expertise to speak on the issue, warning that, that a person is a medic does not mean s/he has authority in every field.

Bolanle encouraged them to “Dig deep, go beyond the surface answer, be sure your source is not given exaggerated answers that can create panic. Crosscheck facts with others”.

The sessions were followed by comments, questions and answers.

Reporting for Impact is a media capacity development initiative of Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals targeted at upcoming journalists on how to make impactful news reports.